Roy Howat is internationally renowned as a pianist and scholar whose concerts, broadcasts, lectures and masterclasses regularly take him worldwide
A graduate of King’s College, Cambridge, he made a special study of French music in Paris with Vlado Perlemuter (who had worked closely with Fauré and Ravel), and is one of few British artists repeatedly invited to teach and play French music at major French-speaking conservatoires and on French radio. He is well known for his lively lectures and masterclasses, which he has given worldwide at venues including the Juilliard, Peabody and Eastman Schools. In a wide-ranging career he has also conducted professionally, played violin (period and modern) in major London chamber orchestras, and held university posts in four continents. Keyboard Research Fellow at the RAM since 2003, he also holds a professorial post as Senior Research Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and a Visiting Professorship at the University of Adelaide.
A Steinway Artist, Roy knows much of his repertoire from the composers’ manuscripts, and was one of the founding editors, with Pierre Boulez and François Lesure, of the Paris-based Œuvres Complètes de Claude Debussy, for which he has edited most of the solo piano music and some of the chamber music. Among his other publications are Urtexts of Fauré piano, chamber and vocal music, two seminal books (Debussy in Proportion, and The Art of French Piano Music), an English edition of Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger’s classic Chopin, Pianist and Teacher, and numerous other chapters in books on Schubert, Chopin, Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Bartók, and performance practice. His championship of Chabrier has led to recordings and a Dover edition of Chabrier’s piano music. His book The Art of French piano music: Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Chabrier was chosen as ‘2009 Book of the Year’ by International Piano, and ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Classical Music.
Over several decades Roy has played, broadcast and recorded worldwide with an array of distinguished chamber groups, singers and instrumentalists (including the Academy’s Neil Heyde, Peter Sheppard-Skærved and Jonathan Freeman-Attwood). In the 1980s he toured Australasia performing Bartók’s Sonata for 2 pianos and percussion with Erzsébet Tusa, the former duo partner of Ditta Pasztóry-Bartók. More recently, his performances with the Panocha Quartet – featuring his dramatically revised 2006 Hamelle-Leduc edition of Fauré’s First Piano Quintet – have brought the house down in countries including Japan, the Czech Republic and London’s Wigmore Hall. In 2001 he toured in Egypt as both pianist and violist with the Sarastro Ensemble.
One of Roy’s major Academy-based projects has been as co-editor, with RAM lecturer Dr Emily Kilpatrick, of the first complete critical edition of the songs of Gabriel Fauré, for Peters Edition. This five-volume project, funded by an AHRC Project Grant at the Royal Academy of Music (2010–13), was carried out through an interactive and international programme of documentary research, workshops, performances and public engagement, including launch events with Academy vocal and piano students and professors. Four volumes of the series are in print, including a first edition of 45 Vocalises, with the final volume (Fauré’s four late song cycles) going to press in 2019. Volume 1 of the series was selected as ‘Best Edition 2015’ in its category by the German Music Publishers’ Association at 2015 Frankfurt International Music Fair.