In another life | baritone Roderick Williams describes his passion for composition

In this interview the baritone Roderick Williams talks about his passion for composing music.

Born in north London, to a Welsh father and a Jamaican mother, Roderick Williams grew up in High Barnet and attended Christ Church Cathedral school in Oxford and Haberdasher’s Aske’s School in Hertfordshire. Having sung as a treble when he was six years old, he later went on to win a choral scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford.

On graduating from university, Roderick Williams trained as a teacher and worked for many years as Director of Choral Studies at Tiffin Boys’ School in Kingston-Upon-Thames, moonlighting as a singer on weekends. But at the age of thirty, he decided to devote himself to a performing career. He went on to win place on the opera course at the Guildhall College of Music and Drama, and made his debut at the BBC Proms in 1996.

Since then he has established his expertise in repertoire including Mozart, Baroque opera, 20th century English music, as well as contemporary music. Alongside his performing work as a baritone, he devotes any spare time (and there isn’t always a lot of it) to writing his own compositions. A few years back, he signed to Edition Peters, which released an initial eight choral works by him in January 2021. And last year Roderick Williams was one of the composers personally chosen by King Charles III to pen one of the twelve new pieces for his Westminster Abbey coronation.

In this interview he discusses Cusp, a new work that he has written as a companion piece to Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius. It will be premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in London on May 16th.


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