Dr Timothy Bowers

BMus, DPhil, FRAM, ARCM

Academic Studies - Alan Bush Lecturer
Research Programmes - Alan Bush Lecturer

Composer and lecturer

Timothy is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, University of London and York University. At the Academy he studied with Alan Bush after which he continued his studies privately with Professor David Blake (funded by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust), all whilst pursuing a multi-faceted career which included composition, arranging, performance and teaching. He completed his DPhil in composition in 1988 under the supervision of Dr David Kershaw. He has taught at the Academy since 1979. He is currently Alan Bush Lecturer and was for many years an undergraduate tutor.

His list of compositions includes orchestral, chamber and instrumental works, songs, choral works, theatre music and documentary film music. He has worked extensively with youth orchestras. Publishers include Ricordi, OUP, Roberton, Chanterelle and Queen’s Temple Publications (QTP). Works for guitar feature prominently in his output: two have been awarded first prize in international competitions (Domecq International Guitar competition ‘Search for New Music’ and the Tokyo International Guitar Festival Composer’s award). During the 1980s he was Associate Composer with the award-winning Finnish choir Campanella, with whom he made series of recordings as composer and arranger. He has worked on an Art’s Council educational project for Nexus Opera and was the featured composer at the Bartók Institute, Miskolc, Hungary from 1997–9, with major performances at the Merlin Contemporary Music Festival (Budapest) in 1998. He has also composed five Sonatas for brass (commissioned by the Royal Academy of Music and published by QTP) and four other works for brass solo/ensemble. His writings include essays on the music of Alan Bush, a substantial study of Malcolm Arnold’s symphonies, Composers on the 9 (QTP 2011), and a book entitled Strings, Winds, Pipes, Pianos and Food; the concertos of Malcolm Arnold (QTP 2013). Timothy Bowers has edited a number of the late works of Alan Bush.

Research Statement

Timothy’s primary research interests are primarily in composition and more recently writing about British music. His list of compositions currently runs to 83 works. Sonata-type instrumental works in general, and instrumental sonatas in particular, feature prominently in his output, as do song cycles (eleven to date). One of his particular concerns has been to develop a language based on the systematic use of pitch cells at a surface level, which function in the context of long-range tonal schemes to create abstract closed forms.

The first performance of Sonata for Bass Tuba and Piano (2006) prompted commissions from the Academy’s Brass department for five new works for brass. They are Sonata for Bass Trombone and Piano (2006), Sonata for Tenor Trombone and Piano (2007), Sonata for Horn and Piano (2008), Sonata for Trumpet and Piano (2008) and Sinfonia Concertante for Five solo Brass, Brass and Percussion (2009). The project enabled him to engage in close collaboration with leading Academy students (who are the dedicatees of this work) and a public research event that focussed on the series.

The five Sonatas have been published by Queen’s Temple Publications (QMT). In addition, he recently revised and edited his unpublished guitar works (eight works) and accordion works (three works) for publication. Other recent works include four song cycles entitled Last Words (Books 1–4). The series will be published by QMT.

Future composition projects include a complete set of Sonatas for woodwind instruments and a new work for voice and accordion based on World War One poetry.

Output

Recordings include Fantasy on an Old English Melody (1984) Music for an Island — Eden/Stell Guitar Duo BSG BGS 117: Alan Bush Sonata for Cello and Piano (ed. T Bowers) Dutton Vocalion CDLX 71390.

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