2017 RPS Composition Prize winner (supported by the Susan Bradshaw Composers' Fund)
Commission: chamber work for Cheltenham Festival 2018
Bethan Morgan-Williams (b.1992) is a Manchester-based composer of instrumental, vocal and electronic music. An inventive composer, finding motivation through a simple urge to provide performers with new and exciting music, she gained a scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) under Gary Carpenter & Lelend Chen in 2010.
Bethan began playing the violin at the age of three, growing up in mid-Wales playing folk music and accompanying local country dancing. In 2001 she was awarded a DfES scholarship to attend Wells Cathedral School and gained early recognition as a composer, winning the Under-15 Composition class at the Urdd National Eisteddfod in 2004, and with string works performed at Wells, the University of Bristol, Colston Hall, and the RNCM in 2005/6.
In 2014 Bethan was shortlisted for a Manchester Jazz Festival Irwin Mitchell Prize, and in 2015 she was selected to collaborate with the London Symphony Orchestra over a three-minute commission as part of the Panufnik Scheme for composers (Scoot was premiered 11 March 2016, conducted by François-Xavier Roth at LSO St Luke’s). This allowed her the opportunity to receive guidance from Colin Matthews and Christian Mason, and was quickly followed by the award of the inaugural Christopher Brooks Composition Prize – Young Composer in Residence with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (2015-17), where she was mentored by Stephen Pratt. Her consequent commission for Ensemble 10/10, Mirages in Pisa, was premiered under the baton of Clark Rundell in October 2016 at St George’s Hall, Liverpool. 2016 also saw Paul Silverthorne and Aglaia Tarantino give the premiere of Enraptured (LSO St Luke’s), commissions from Hugh Woolley and the Promenade Concert Orchestra, and an invitation to the International Conductors’ Festival in Danville KY (as composer in residence) with the task of writing an orchestral piece in the first week and performing it in the second. KNO3 was premiered at the Norton Centre for the Arts by the Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra in July 2016, and was broadcast on Hometown Radio.
Recent performances of Bethan’s music include In Kenopsia commissioned by Psappha Ensemble (premiered 5 May 2017 by Tony Boorer and Bethan, Hallé St Michael’s), In the Crypt (performed 27 May 2017 by Alex Edmundson and Bethan, LSO St Luke’s), and Coming ‘Round Again commissioned by the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir (premiered 2 July 2017 Philharmonic Hall, and performed again 6 July 2017 Llandrindod Eisteddfod).
Bethan is delighted to have been awarded the commission by the Royal Philharmonic Society, and can’t wait to get stuck in!
Cathy Graham, Director of Music, British Council: That classical music has a vibrant future is very important to me. Supporting the RPS allows me to play a small part in ensuring this.
DID YOU KNOW?
In 'The Red Headed League', Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson attended a performance by the violinist Sarasate at a Society concert in 1891.