Artists :: Elgar Howarth

Elgar Howarth

Elgar Howarth's multifaceted musical career has seen him in the role of conductor, composer, arranger, and instrumentalist.  To brass band musicians, Howarth is notable for his association with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band.  As a composer, he has given the brass band some fine compositions, including the Copland-esque Legends, the reflective, Satie-like American Dream, as well as the more extrovert Fireworks and Concerto for Trumpet.

Howarth is also a prolific arranger for brass band, with many Wagner adaptations and a remarkable transcription of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition to his name.  He has also composed and arranged numerous lighter works for brass band under the pseudonym W. Hogarth Lear.

His initial musical training began as a cornet player under the guidance of his father Oliver.  From there, he went on to study composition at Manchester University and later at the Royal Manchester College of Music.  While there he met fellow composers Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle and Alexander Goehr, who, together with pianist John Ogdon, formed the New Music Manchester group, dedicated to the performances of serial and other modern works.  Upon graduation, he began his career in earnest as trumpeter at the Royal Opera House and moved through a number of ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

His conducting career began in the early 1970s and since then he has appeared regularly with all the leading orchestras of Great Britain, both in the concert hall and in the recording studio.  He has appeared at major festivals abroad - mostly in Europe - and toured Japan with the London Sinfonietta, an orchestra he has conducted regularly both in the UK and abroad from the beginning of his career.  His operatic achievements cover a wide repertoire and include the world premiere of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre at the Royal Opera in Stockholm, followed by productions of the same work in Hamburg, Paris and London.  In 1985 he made his debut at Covent Garden with Tippett's King Priam which he later performed with the same company at the Athens Festival.  He conducted the world premiere of Birtwistle's Gawain at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in May 1991 and the revival in 1994, which has been released by Collins Classics.  In 1996 he conducted Henze's The Prince of Homburg and Zimmermann's Die Soldaten, both at the English National Opera. For his work on these productions he won the 1997 Olivier award for "Outstanding Achievement in Opera".

Published Works