Graham Waterhouse

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Graham Waterhouse
portrait of Graham Waterhouse, holding a cello
Portrait, 2011
Born (1962-11-02) 2 November 1962 (age 61)
London, England
Years active1978–present
WorksList of compositions
WebsiteOfficial website

Graham Waterhouse (born 2 November 1962) is an English composer and cellist who specializes in chamber music. He has composed a cello concerto, Three Pieces for Solo Cello and Variations for Cello Solo for his own instrument, and string quartets and compositions that juxtapose a quartet with a solo instrument, including Piccolo Quintet, Bassoon Quintet and the piano quintet Rhapsodie Macabre. He has set poetry for speaking voice and cello, such as Der Handschuh, and has written song cycles. His compositions reflect the individual capacity and character of players and instruments, from the piccolo to the contrabassoon.

Since 1998, Waterhouse has organised a concert series at the Gasteig in Munich, often playing with members of the Munich Philharmonic. His works have been performed internationally and several have been recorded. He has been awarded prizes for several of his compositions, and has been composer in residence at institutions in European countries. He achieved a PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2018. From 2020, his compositions have been published by Schott.


Graham Waterhouse was born in London, the son of the noted bassoonist and musicologist William Waterhouse[1] and the pianist and music teacher Elisabeth Waterhouse. Graham attended Highgate School and studied music at the University of Cambridge (composition with Hugh Wood and Robin Holloway), and in Germany at the Folkwang Hochschule (cello with Young-Chang Cho) and Hochschule für Musik Köln (cello, with Maria Kliegel, conducting and piano).[1] He has lived in Munich since 1992.

He has received commissions by the International Double Reed Society (IDRS), the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, Munich Biennale, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Estado de Mexico, the Kaske Stiftung and the Park Lane Group (London), among others.[1] His compositions have earned prizes at competitions of Münchener Tonkünstlerverband (1996) and of Via Nova in Weimar (2000).[2] His string quartet Chinese Whispers was awarded the "BCMS Composition Prize" of the Birmingham Chamber Music Society in 2011.

He has performed as the soloist of his Cello Concerto in Mexico City (1995), Nizhny Novgorod, Weimar, Baden-Baden, St. Martin, Idstein (version for chamber orchestra, 2005), Cambridge (2008),[1] and on 8 July 2016 once more in Nizhny Nowgorod, with the Academic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Alexander Skulsky.

In 2001, Waterhouse was the composer in residence of Solisten der Kammerphilharmonie Berlin, in 2006 artiste en residence in Albertville, France, and in 2008 Musician By-Fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge.[1]

He has worked with Ensemble Modern and participated in the concert tour 2001 of the Ensemble Modern Orchestra under Pierre Boulez.[3] He has also performed with the ensembles musikFabrik and Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, among others.[1]

As a composer and a performer, he is mostly dedicated to chamber music, and has co-founded several chamber ensembles, including the Vuillaume-Cello-Ensemble playing instruments built by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. He established in 1998 a regular chamber music concert series at Gasteig Munich, programming contemporary works alongside classical repertory.[4] Players for his chamber music concerts have included members of the Munich Philharmonic, such as bassoonist Lyndon Watts. Waterhouse has collaborated with the composers Jens Josef (flute) and Rudi Spring (piano). They appeared together in a trio concert at the Gasteig, performing Martinů's trio, the premiere of the flute version of Gestural Variations, and a Christmas carol by each composer, In dulci jubilo set by Waterhouse.[5] The song Im Gebirg (The Mountain) on a poem of Hans Krieger for mezzo-soprano, alto flute, cello and piano, was premiered at the Gasteig in 2010 by Martina Koppelstetter, Jens Josef, the composer and Christopher White.[6] In a concert The Proud Bassoon in Wigmore Hall, celebrating his father on 16 April 2011, he performed as a cellist, and two works he had written in memory of his father, Epitaphium and Bright Angel, received their premiere in the UK.[7][8] In a concert concluding the Gasteig's Liszt Festival to honour the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt, his chamber music scored for piano solo up to piano and string quartet appeared in the context of pieces in similar settings by Liszt.[9] In 2011, he composed a Christmas cantata on a text by Krieger.[1][10] In 2013 his piano trio Bells of Beyond was premiered at the Gasteig with Yury Revich and Valentina Babor.[11] Incantations, a Concerto da camera for piano and ensemble, was premiered and recorded in Birmingham on 26 March 2015 at the CBSO Centre with Huw Watkins, piano, and the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, conducted by Richard Baker.[1]

The compositions reflect the individual capacity and character of players and instruments from piccolo to contrabassoon, even unusual ones such as the heckelphone or didgeridoo. He scored Chieftain's Salute for Great Highland Bagpipe and string orchestra, Hale Bopp, inspired by comet Hale–Bopp, for string orchestra with boy soprano. He also wrote several compositions for cello and speaking voice, based on literature as diverse as limerick (Vezza), ballad (Der Handschuh) and drama (Das Hexen-Einmaleins), which he plays and recites himself. He has lectured on contemporary music at the yearly Komponisten-Colloquium of the University of Oldenburg, initiated by Violeta Dinescu.[12] Several of his pieces have been composed for the competition Jugend musiziert and performed at the prize winners' concerts.[1]

The first publisher of his works was the Friedrich Hofmeister Musikverlag, beginning with Aztec Ceremonies and Three Pieces for Solo Cello in 1996. His music appeared also with Zimmermann and Robert Lienau in Frankfurt, Heinrichshofen Verlag in Wilhelmshaven. His set of pedagogical pieces for cello, Thomas Tunes, was published in 2017 by Breitkopf & Haertel.[13] From 2020, his works have been published by Schott, beginning with Concentricities for ensemble and Variations for Cello Solo.[14]

His music has been recorded, notably on Portrait (2001) with works for piano, clarinet and cello,[15] and Portrait 2 (2004) with music for string orchestra, played by the English Chamber Orchestra, and for wind ensemble, played by Endymion.[16][17]

In 2018, he achieved a Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham,[18] with a thesis Incantations / Concerto da Camera for Piano and Ensemble (2015) / The balance of traditional and progressive musical parameters through the concertante treatment of the piano.[19]

Performances and reviews[edit]

Waterhouse's 50th birthday was celebrated with concerts dedicated to his works in London, Munich and Frankfurt, featuring performances of chamber music by members of the Munich Philharmonic. Peter Grahame Woolf wrote about the Graham Waterhouse Portrait Concert at Highgate School on 9 October 2012, focussing on the string quartet Prophetiae Sibyllarum and Rhapsodie Macabre. A review in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of the concert at the Gasteig on 4 November 2012 was titled "Hochexpressiv" (Highly expressive) and covered additionally Praeludium, Bassoon Quintet and Piccolo Quintet. Reinhard Palmer wrote in the magazine Neue Musikzeitung about the concert in Munich, under the title "Beliebter Außenseiter" (Popular outsider), comparing the quintets to concertos, noting the influence of Karol Szymanowski and Witold Lutoslawski and the qualities of musical story-telling.[20] The broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk aired an interview on his birthday.[21]

Final bow by all players after GW60 concert, Szydlo standing in the audience

On the occasion of his 60th birthday, a concert GW60 was given with colleagues and friends at the Allerheiligen-Hofkirche of the Munich Residence on 5 November 2022.[22] His school chemistry teacher, Andrew Z. Szydlo, with whom he had played chamber music, held a laudation, and his chemical experiments inspired a new string quartet, Alchymic Quartet.[23] The program of chamber music from five decades of composing included the piano quartet Skylla und Charybdis (2011), the new quartet, the clarinet-cello-piano trio Concentricities (2019), and the String Sextet op. 1, spanning composition time from 1979 to 2013. Among the 14 musicians were violinist David Frühwirth, violist Konstantin Sellheim, and pianist Katharina Sellheim.[22][23]




Single works

  • 2000 Bassoon With a View, Innova Recordings (Aztec Ceremonies)
  • 2001 Benchmarks Vol. 6 – Folkestone and Hythe, Kent (Variations on a Theme by Pachelbel)
  • 2007 concerto piccolo, Archiv Music (Piccolo Quintet)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Graham Waterhouse" (in German). Münchener Biennale. 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Uraufführungen" (PDF) (in German). Via Nova. 11 November 2008. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  3. ^ "Concert Tour Book" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  4. ^ "Komponisten-Matinee" (in German). Gasteig. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2010.
  5. ^ "Konzertante Musik für Flöte – Violoncello – Klavier, gespielt von drei Komponisten" (in German). Gasteig. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  6. ^ "Komponisten-Matinee: Graham Waterhouse" (in German). Gasteig. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  7. ^ Breckenfield, Nick (18 April 2010). "William Waterhouse Memorial Concert at Wigmore Hall". Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  8. ^ "William Waterhouse Celebration / The Proud Bassoon" (PDF). Park Lane Group. 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Hommage à Liszt". Gasteig. 2011. Archived from the original on 4 April 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Graham Waterhouse" (in German). Münchener Biennale. 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  11. ^ "Graham Waterhouse – "Trio und Solo"" (in German). Gasteig. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Komponisten-Colloquien" (in German). University of Oldenburg. 2009. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  13. ^ "Graham Waterhouse (*1962) / Thomas Tunes". Breitkopf & Haertel. 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Graham Waterhouse". Schott Music. 2020. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  15. ^ a b Culot, Hubert (2004). "Graham Waterhouse". Retrieved 12 April 2010.
  16. ^ a b Culot, Hubert (2004). "Graham Waterhouse / Portrait". Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  17. ^ March, Ivan (2004). "Portrait 2". Gramophone. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
  18. ^ "Graham Waterhouse". 4 April 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  19. ^ "Incantations / Concerto da Camera for Piano and Ensemble (2015) / The balance of traditional and progressive musical parameters through the concertante treatment of the piano" (PDF). University of Birmingham. March 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  20. ^ Palmer, Reinhard (14 November 2012). "Beliebter Außenseiter: der Cellist und Komponist Graham Waterhouse feierte seinen 50. Geburtstag" (in German). Retrieved 16 November 2012.
  21. ^ hr2 – Das aktuelle Kulturgespräch / Zu Gast: Graham Waterhouse, Komponist (in German). Hessischer Rundfunk. 2 November 2012.
  22. ^ a b Blaumeiser, Martin (February 2023). "Standing Ovations in der Allerheiligen-Hofkirche". Neue Musikzeitung (in German). Retrieved 9 February 2023.
  23. ^ a b "GW60 – Festkonzert" (PDF). Graham Waterhouse (in German). 2022. Retrieved 8 December 2022.
  24. ^ "Piano Album: Acht Klavierstücke". Schott. Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  25. ^ Cox, Jefferey (2000). "Twentieth Century Bassoon Concertos" (PDF). The Double Reed. International Double Reed Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2009. Since then, Jefferey has tried to promote interest in the bassoon and in that cause commissioned a suite of pieces for bassoon and piano, collectively entitled "Diplo-Diversions", from Graham Waterhouse. This was published in 1997 by Hofmeister Verlag and premiered by Bill and Graham Waterhouse at the IDRS Congress in Tempe, Arizona, in summer 1998.
  26. ^ "Waterhouse, G.: Threnody". Retrieved 17 February 2018.
  27. ^ "Graham Waterhouse, Handschuh & Hexen-Einmaleins". (in German). Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2009.
  28. ^ "Klavierquartette – Kammermusik von Mozart, Beethoven und Waterhouse" (in German). Gasteig. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2024.
  29. ^ "Portrait Graham Waterhouse / Graham Waterhouse, Markus Schön, Michael Wendeberg, Agnès Marc". Retrieved 11 September 2012.
  30. ^ "Skylla und Charybdis". Farao Classics. Retrieved 8 February 2021.
  31. ^ Drees, Stefan (May 2021). "Graham Waterhouse / Skylla und Charybdis – Kammermusik". Das Orchester (in German). Retrieved 5 May 2021.

External links[edit]