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Gareth Williams

Originally from County Armagh, Gareth moved to Glasgow after studying music at Queen’s University, Belfast. He completed his Masters in Composition in 2000 at the RSAMD, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 2002. In 2008 he completed his PhD in Composition at the Academy, studying with Gordon McPherson, and now teaches in the composition department. Over the last few years Gareth has been active as a composer at the RSAMD, producing work for groups such as the Hebrides Ensemble, Scottish Opera, the Paragon Ensemble, Symposia, the Black hair Ensemble, and the London Sinfonietta. He was the winner of the British Conservatoire Composers Forum 2000, and in 2004 he won the Dinah Wolf prize for composition. His work has been featured in the Edinburgh Festival, the St Magnus Festival, Opera to Go,and the York late Music Festival.

In December 2004 Gareth was one of six composers who launched the Ken exhibition in Glasgow, organising a weekend festival of contemporary music and art, whilst composing, producing and performing an hour-long piece of music theatre. The piece, Dead Duck, was an exploration of nostalgia and contained images, objects and music that dated back to his childhood. The use of personal and popular material is a strong characteristic of his work and he performs regularly as a singer/songwriter and piano player. His first opera, Love in the Blue Corner, was premiered at the Plug Festival in May 2006 and received five stars in the Glasgow Herald. In 2008 Gareth worked with Irish writer Bernard MacLaverty to create The King’s Conjecture for Scottish Opera which led Scottish Opera to re-commission the composer for their 2009 season to create another work – White was premiered in February in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

New works in 2009 included Soft Rains, for solo soprano, six part choir, organ and taiko drums, commissioned to commemorate the building of the Clyde Tunnel in Glasgow, and three new opera scenes written and performed at the LibLab 2009 in Toronto, by Tapestry Opera. One of these scenes was another collaboration with Bernard MacLaverty, and all three scenes were performed again in Russia in March 2010. Gareth is now composer in residence at Scottish Opera.

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