Adrian Williams

English composer and pianist Adrian Williams was born in Hertfordshire in 1956, showed precocious talent as a pianist from the age of four, and studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Bernard Stevens, Alan Ridout and John Lill, winning a Leverhulme Scholarship. Later he won the Menuhin Prize for Composition.

During the 1980s he discovered his spiritual home in Welsh border country, founding the Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts and becoming friends with Australian artist Sidney Nolan, leading to the creation of important works such as Images of a Mind for cello and piano, inspired by Nolan's 1986 self-portrait.

Other important connections have been with Robert Hollingworth and I Fagiolini, resulting in nine commissioned works, and with cellist Raphael Wallfisch, resulting in Williams' 2009 Cello Concerto, commissioned by the BBC.

Also important have been Candida Thompson and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, leading to the composition and performance of the beautiful and haunting Migrations for 22 solo strings (1998). Also in the Netherlands, Toonkunstkoor Utrecht commissioned the cantata The Idea of Peace for the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht.

Important collaborations with Poland resulted in the chamber work The Diminishing Minutes of Peace and a concerto for bassoon and string orchestra with percussion and harp, Spectrum, performed as part of a festival of the composer's music.

More recently, Williams' music has been discovered by American conductor Kenneth Woods, resulting in Williams' apppointment as John McCabe Composer-in-Association with the English Symphony Orchestra and in a Nimbus recording of Williams' Symphony No 1.

Further information:


Articles by Adrian Williams

A personal memoir of a friend and teacher, with reference to his friendship with Gerald Finzi

Memorable and treasurable. Volume seven of Priory's Complete English Hymnal. '... I love this recording and congratulate Harry Bramma and his perfect and sympathetic organist Andrew Arthur ...'

A Japanese notebook - some of it musical, with composer Adrian Williams

A Japanese notebook - some of it musical, with composer Adrian Williams

Articles about Adrian Williams

Classical music news. March 2024 Newsletter - Watch and listen to our March 2024 one hour video newsletter - Classical Music and Politics

Classical music news. January 2024 Newsletter - Watch and listen to our January 2024 video newsletter - Twenty-five Years

CD Spotlight. Criminal Exploits - Geoff Pearce listens to Adrian Williams' chamber concerto 'Portraits of Ned Kelly'. 'The playing is very impressive and delivers a compelling performance.'

Classical music news. April 2022 Newsletter - Watch and listen to our April 2022 newsletter

Ensemble. Original and Impressive - Geoff Pearce listens to Adrian Williams' Symphony No 1

Ensemble. Time to Become More Widely Known - Keith Bramich listens to orchestral and chamber music by Adrian Williams

Classical music news. Hang in there together - Classical Music Daily's March 2021 Newsletter has just been published as a video podcast

Classical music news - Steven Gerber - The English Symphony Orchestra presents a Steven Gerber portrait concert

Classical music news. The Elgar Festival - An annual celebration of the great British composer takes place in Worcester and Malvern, UK, during May

Classical music news. Adrian Williams - The English Symphony Orchestra announces Adrian Williams as its John McCabe Composer-in-Association for 2019/20

Ensemble. Very Effective - Igor Stravinsky's 'The Soldier's Tale' at the Presteigne Festival, reviewed by Keith Bramich

Ensemble. Coming of age - Keith Bramich at the twenty-first Presteigne Festival of Music and the Arts

Record box. Skewering demons - Concert works by film composers, played by the New Art Trio and reviewed by Keith Bramich

Ensemble. Madrigal comedy - Keith Bramich enjoys I Fagiolini's performances of English and Italian music, old and new

CD Spotlight - Tremendous Engagement. '... the listener who attends carefully to this disc will be handsomely rewarded.' Adrian Williams on record, with Peter Dale

Presteigne notes - Further news from the continuing Presteigne Festival in Wales