B i o g r a p h y
Composer and songwriter Gareth Williams is a Chancellor’s Fellow at Edinburgh College of Art. His compositions seek to find new relationships, participants, collaborators and audiences for new opera, music theatre, and song, to shed light on stories and communities that have been overlooked, and to explore ideas of vulnerability in vocal writing.
Williams was Composer in Residence at Scottish Opera from 2011 to 2014. During this time, he created a series of operas and projects, including ‘Breath Cycle’, at the respiratory ward of Gartnavel Royal Hospital, where he wrote songs, ensemble pieces, and opera specifically for patients with Cystic Fibrosis, who weren’t allowed in the same room as one another. Breath Cycle was nominated for a Royal Philharmonic Award in 2015. He continues this preoccupation in 2022, working with people suffering from Long Covid symptoms in Breath Cycle II at Scottish Opera
He has created three award-winning operas with NOISE Opera since 2012, each one bringing a new collaborator to the genre, from the patrons of Glasgow’s oldest bar, the Shetland fiddler, Chris Stout, and the Scottish indie band, Admiral Fallow.
‘Rocking Horse Winner’, produced by Tapestry Opera, a chamber opera, adapted from a short story by D.H. Lawrence by librettist Anna Chatterton, was premiered in Toronto in May 2016, and was nominated for 9 Dora Mavor Moore Awards, winning 5, including Outstanding Musical Production. A new production was staged at Saratoga Opera in 2018, and described as ‘beautiful and disturbing, gripping and provocative.’ (Classical Voice America). A cast recording was released in 2020, and is available on Bandcamp and Spotify.
From 2015 - 2018 Williams collaborated with Oliver Emanuel to create The 306 Trilogy.
306 Dawn (***** the Herald), 306 Day (**** The Times) and 306 Dusk (***** The Herald, ***** The Stage) were a collection of music theatre works over three years telling the story of the British soldiers shot for cowardice during WW1, produced by the National Theatre of Scotland in partnership with 14-18 Now. A recording from the three shows is available to stream and buy on all platforms in the album 'Lost Light - Music From the 306'.
In 2022, Williams will be performing with his own trio at Book Festivals across Scotland, partnering with Chamber Music Scotland, to bring a brand new collection of ‘Songs From The Last Page’ that showcase Scottish Literature, explore songwriting and text setting, and examine the relationship between the written word and the sung melody. (Info here: www.chambermusicscotland.com/projects/songs-from-the-last-page)
In July 2022, Scottish Opera will premiere Rubble, a brand new commission created with Johnny McKnight, to celebrate 60 years of the company.
(Photo by Kris Kesiak)