STANDARD BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Piers Hellawell


Piers Hellawell’s work has been commissioned, broadcast and performed in many countries. Large projects since his 1999 Proms debut Inside Story have included Cors de chasse - a double concerto commissioned for Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet) and Jonas Bylund (trombone) by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Dogs and Wolves - a commission for the BBC Scottish SO’s first series in City Halls, premiered in 2006 and recorded on the CD of the same name. Syzygy, for the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Stockholm Chamber Brass, appeared in 2013 - conducted by Paul Watkins, the same week as he premiered atria for cello and piano with his brother Huw Watkins.

Hellawell’s works are represented on CD on the ECM New Series, NMC and Metier labels, as well as on three critically acclaimed discs from the Metronome label; May 2012 saw the issue of ‘Airs, Waters’, on the Delphian label; its main work Agricolas was hailed by ‘The Independent’ as ".... a large-scale palette applied with the most delicate of brushwork", and by ‘The Scotsman’ as "gorgeously impassioned work..... a rich kaleidoscope of inspired creativity". A PRS Foundation ‘Beyond Borders’ award led to the 2016 collaboration Up By The Roots with Irish poet Sinéad Morrissey and Fidelio Piano Trio, with whom Hellawell has a long association; the new work with live poetry was premiered during a U.K. tour this year. Piers Hellawell’s 60th birthday year also featured a new orchestral work Wild Flow at the BBC Proms - a commission for the 50th season of the Ulster Orchestra. Hellawell was featured composer at Detroit’s Great Lakes Festival during 2016, along with performances in Sweden, Finland and Germany as well as around the U.K.

Piers Hellawell is Professor of Composition at the Queen’s University of Belfast; his music is published by Edition Peters (London) Ltd.