Albert Alan Owen

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Albert Alan Owen ARAM (born 1948) is a Welsh composer and musician.

Early life and education[edit]

Owen was born in Bangor, Wales in 1948. His father was Welsh and his mother Latvian (sister of the Latvian composer Alberts Jērums). In 1956 the family moved to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where Owen grew up.[1] [2] He was educated at Alfred Beit, Ellis Robins, and Oriel High School in Salisbury (now Harare), and then at the Rhodesian College of Music (run by Eileen Reynolds).[3] He played in the Rhodesian R&B band The Plebs).[4]

Leaving Rhodesia in 1966 to continue his musical education in London, Owen studied piano with Harold Craxton and Angus Morrison and composition with Patrick Savill. Owen went to Paris to study composition with Nadia Boulanger (whom he continued seeing till her death in 1979) and piano with Jacques Février between 1969 and 1971. Returning to England, he went on to win the Charles Lucas Medal and Lady Holland Prize for composition at the Royal Academy of Music, and was a finalist in the National Piano Concerto Competition in 1974.[5]

Career[edit]

Owen taught piano at the Junior School of the Royal Academy of Music for fifteen years, and also taught a number of courses at the Working Men's College for twelve years, and was the Dean of Studies there in 1990-91.[1]

In the mid-1970s, Owen performed with David Russell and Simon Climie as the leader of the classical fusion group Erato, playing classical, free jazz and electronic improvisation. He also performed with Katherine Sweeney and Adrian Thompson in the Corilla Ensemble, and with Sweeney, Milada Polasek and Peter Barnaby in the Emeryson Ensemble.[citation needed]

Owen’s first recording of his own work, Keyboards and Strings, was released in 1979 while teaching at The John Lyon School and North London Collegiate School in London.[6] Critics praised its "distinctive and original use of tone-colours".[7] His second album, Following the Light was released in 1982,[8] and was described as "an electronic-age tone poem"[9] and "a work of modern impressionism based on many subtle variations of which Debussy himself could have approved".[10] In 1987, it was included in the CD The Manhattan Collection (which included works by Keith Emerson), reached number 8 on the New Age chart, and was number 1 on the MP3.com Classical Minimalist chart in 2000.[11]

Owen formed his own production company, Techno Arts Productions, in 1985 to release his recordings.[citation needed]

In 1985, he was asked to compose and arrange the finale of the Halley's Comet Royal Gala at the Wembley Conference Centre, a piece which used the massed forces of the New Symphony Orchestra, the London Chorale and the Royal Corps of Transport Band.[5] His music has been used in film and TV and performed in the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room.[2][not in citation given]

Owen moved to Wales in 1990, where he continued to compose and taught classes in theory, harmony and counterpoint at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. His private piano tuition has produced winners of the Urdd and National Eisteddfodau.[1]

In 2002, Owen was elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for achieving distinction in the music profession.[1]

Works and recordings[edit]

Album title Label Catalogue number Year
Keyboards and Strings Apollo Sound AS1026 1973
Following the Light Apollo Sound
Chord
Famous
AS1029
CDCOLL 2
FAMDAT010
1979
The Source of Light New Experience NE010 1979
Debussy, Szymanowski,
Prokofiev, Shostakovich

(with Katherine Sweeney)
Apollo Sound AS1027 1981
High Places New Experience NE05 1983
Distinctive Themes BTW BTW108 1984
Techno Town Sound Stage (Amphonic) AVF33 1985
High Life Sound Stage (Amphonic) AVF45 1986
Office Hours Sound Stage (Amphonic) AVF47 1987
Globe Trotter Sound Stage (Amphonic) AVF66CD 1989
String Up Tap Records TAPCD04 1996
Voyager Vigiesse CD1050 1997
Us Girls Tap Records TAPCD05 1999
Blue Queen Tap Records TAPCD09 2006
Know This Hear This Tap Records TAPCD11 2007

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Amphonic Music". Retrieved 8 February 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Aberystwyth Arts Centre (link no longer valid)". Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "Out of Africa, October 2000" (PDF). pp. 11–12. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Rhodesian Music Website". Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  5. ^ a b International Who's Who in Music and Musician's Directory. 11. Melrose Press. 1988. p. 689. 
  6. ^ "Classical Music Monthly". March 1981. 
  7. ^ "Monthly Guide to Recorded Music". June 1982. 
  8. ^ "Jazz Journal International". July 1983. 
  9. ^ "Classical Music Monthly". April 1983. 
  10. ^ "Crescendo". August 1983. 
  11. ^ "Music Week". 11 April 1987.