BIOGRAPHY

Hywel Davies is a UK-based composer, sound artist and installation artist.  His wide-ranging output includes concert works, dance scores, studio collage, electronic and electroacoustic works, ringtones, sound installations and installations that don’t involve any sound at all. From 2013 to 2017 he was composer-in-residence with Kokoro (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s new music ensemble).  His is a winner of the George Butterworth Prize for Composition, the recipient of an Arts Council England International Fellowship and a Muttart Foundation Scholarship.  He has a long-standing relationship with musicians in Trondheim (Norway) which has resulted in works for the Trondheim Sinfonietta and Trio Alpaca.  Recent concert works include Elternszcenen (Scenes of Parenthood) for pianist Clare Hammond, a set of pieces reflecting on Robert Schumann's Kinderszcenen (Scenes of Childhood).  The premiere of The Voyage of the Argo (Part One), an hour-long dramatic oratorio commissioned by Tonbridge School planned for March 2020 has been delayed by COVID-19.  Hywel Davies has made sonic installations for Kent County Council, Arts Council England, the National Trust, Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru, b-side Festival and Bath International Festival.  His most recent sound work, Pilgrim (commissioned by the National Trust) runs at Mottisfont Abbey (Hampshire) until November 2020.

AWARDS

2001

George Butterworth Composition Award (awarded by the Society for the Promotion of New Music)


2003

Arts Council England International Fellowship – Winter Residency at the Banff Centre, Canada


2005

Muttart Foundation Scholarship – Winter Residency at the Banff Centre, Canada
 

REVIEWS

…With war continuing to be an ever-present facet of our lives, Hywel Davies’ War Songs is a vital contribution to the ongoing reflections that must surround such conflicts. It is sombre, grief-stricken, full of fear and dread, shot through with occasional flashes of implied light in its darkness, and (if we want it to be) just the faintest glimmer of what might be called hope. Every word and note of this piece rings horribly and utterly true; it’s magnificent.

Simon Cummings, 5:4, July 2015

“...intelligent responses to the texts, with mellow, elegiac instrumental colours.”

Richard Morrison, The Times on Five Shakespeare Sonnets, January 2014

“Beautifully drawn-out sonorities full of tension and release.”

Gramophone review of CD 'Hywel Davies', February 2013

“ ...he [Hywel Davies] has created deceptively uncomplicated music, with a whimsical, eclectic, questioning of genre and style boundaries…”     “...the music is engaging at first appearance,deeper on further listening.”
The Wire, review of CD 'Hywel Davies', October 2013

"...organic compositions with an ambience rooted in utter darkness...listen with care"

The Wire, review of CD 'Natural Language' (Time Recording), 1998

CHRONOLOGY

2017-20    

Pilgrim - sound installation.  Commissioned by The National Trust with funds from Arts Council England, The National Trust The Daiwa Foundation, The Toshiba International Foundation and Monitor Audio. Features Kuniko Kato (percussion) and Laurence Williams (baritone).  Opened Mottisfont Abbey (National Trust) January 2020.


2018/19

The Voyage of the Argo (Part One) - dramatic oratorio based on the story of Jason and the Argonauts, for treble choir, chorus of untrained male voices, soloists and orchestra commissioned by Tonbridge School.  Planned première (March 2020) postponed due to Coronavirus.


2019

Elternszenen  - Scenes of Parenthood (for piano solo).  Commissioned by Clare Hammond with funds from The Hinrischen Foundation and RVW Trust. Premiered at the Buxton Festival in July 2019.


2017

Folksong settings premiered by Canticum at St Paul’s Covent Garden (London).  Private performance of Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis.


2013-17

Composer-in-residence Kokoro (Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s new music ensemble), resulting in 6 new works performed at various venues, festivals and in London: Five Shakespeare Sonnets (baritone and ensemble 2013); Fantasia (cl., vln., vc., pno 2014); Warsongs (chamber choir and ensemble 2015/16); Three Sea Songs (alto and ensemble 2016); Sketch for the opening of the new drawing studio at Arts University Bournemouth (cl., vln., vla., vc); Quartet (cl., vln., vc., pno 2017).


2013

Artist in residence with the National Trust (Test Polyphony); New work for Trondheim Sinfoniette (Norway) (Purcell Variations); Release of CD ‘Hywel Davies’


2012

New work for Kokoro (Quickstep), broadcast on BBC Radio 3; commission for performance installation at b-side multimedia festival for Olympic sailing events (To-ing, Fro-ing).


2011

New work for Trondheim Sinfonietta (Norway) (Moments musicaux), new electroacoustic work for Peninsula Arts Festival (Dejeuner sur l’herbe)


2010

New wind-driven sound installation commissioned by b-side multimedia festival at Chesil Beach, Dorset (Sound Tubes).


2009

Site-specific performance installation on Trondheim tram network.  Artist in residence at Transmission/Freesound at Plymouth Arts Centre.


2008

Gwair gwyrdd, gwyrdd o gartref (The green, green grass of home) - turf installation commissioned by SAFLE and Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru.  New sound installation for Sound 2008 Festival (Lick); new telephone ringtone for the handover of the Olympic flag from Beijing to London (Jumping through hoops).


2007

Ricecare - installation work with Ane Mette Ruge (Copenhagen); Music for Libraries - permanent sound installation for Kent County Council (Sevenoaks Library) (Music for Libraries)


2006

Composer-in-residence at the Free Resonance Festival, Trondheim (Norway)


2005

Music for open plan offices - new permanent sound installation commissioned by Arts Council England for their desktop phone system.


2004

Lead Artist for Arts Council England SW Office relocation.


2002/3

Pastoral - sound installation at disused runway control tower at the former USAF base at Greenham Commen, made whilst Artist-in-Residence at New Greenham Arts


2001

South West Arts Awards for Artists


1999

Waldscenen - multi-room sound installation for ArtSway as part of their ‘The Word of our Landscape’ programme.


1998

Release of ‘Natural Language’ [0098] CD of stereo sound works released by Time Recording.