Roy Howat is internationally renowned as a pianist and scholar. His concerts, broadcasts, lectures and masterclasses regularly take him worldwide

Born in Ayrshire, Roy studied at the RSAMD in Glasgow before taking double First Class Honours at King’s College, Cambridge. While making a special study of French repertoire in Paris with the legendary Vlado Perlemuter, he undertook doctoral research that culminated in the book Debussy in Proportion (1983). Since then, Roy has combined an international performing career (violin, viola and piano) with scholarship.

Keyboard Research Fellow at the Academy since 2003, Roy is also professorial Senior Research Fellow at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Visiting Professor at University of Adelaide.

Among Roy’s publications are over 30 chapters in books with subjects ranging from Schubert, Chopin, Fauré, Debussy, Caplet, Ravel and Bartók to issues of performance practice, and over 50 articles for scholarly and performing journals. His second book The Art of French Piano Music: Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Chabrier (2009), was named ‘2009 Book of the Year’ by International Piano and ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Classical Music. He was also responsible for the English edition Chopin, Pianist and Teacher of Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger’s classic Chopin vu par ses Élèves.

Roy’s critical editions include Chabrier’s piano music, numerous volumes of piano and chamber music for the Œuvres Complètes de Claude Debussy (of which Roy is one of the founding editors) and Chopin’s Etudes for the new Peters Edition Complete Chopin. For Peters Edition he has produced numerous editions of Fauré piano and chamber music and co-edited, with Academy Associate Professor Emily Kilpatrick, the first critical edition of the Complete Songs and Vocalises of Gabriel Fauré. This AHRC-funded project was based at the Academy and involved workshops, performances and public launch concerts with vocal and piano students and professors across the organisation. Volume 1 of the series received a ‘Best Edition 2015’ award at the 2015 Frankfurt International Music Fair.

In the 1980s Roy toured Australasia performing Bartók’s Sonata for 2 pianos and percussion with Erzsébet Tusa, the former duo partner of Ditta Pasztóry-Bartók. His performances with the Panocha Quartet of Prague, featuring his dramatically revised 2006 Hamelle-Leduc edition of Fauré’s First Piano Quintet, attracted critical acclaim in venues worldwide, including the Wigmore Hall.


Roy is currently principal supervisor for Jon Urdapilleta (Performance Practice doctorate on the music of Manuel de Falla) and has been a supplementary advisor to various other doctoral students. He also supervises or advises several performance-based or -related doctorates at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, on topics ranging from Classical transcriptions for brass, through Irish song and Accordion transcription and technique, to Ligeti.

Selected publications

Critical editions:

Fryderyk Chopin, 12 Etudes, Op. 10. Trois Nouvelles Études (2 separate vols). Edited by Roy Howat. The Complete Chopin: A New Critical Edition. Leipzig, London, New York. Peters Edition, 2021 : EP 73227, 73229

Gabriel Fauré, Complete songs, 4 vols, for high or medium voice, ed. Roy Howat and Emily Kilpatrick. Leipzig, London, New York: Peters Edition, EP 11391–4 (a or b, high or medium voice), 2014–22

Claude Debussy, Musique de chambre (1880–1882): Trio; Pièces pour violoncelle et piano. Édition de Roy Howat. In Œuvres complètes de Claude Debussy, Série 3 vol. 1; Paris: Durand, 2015. Publication includes separate performing offprints (score and part) of each work.

Book chapters:

‘Between and beyond the perforations in Debussy’s Welte rolls’ and ‘Debussy’s Welte roll of La plus que lente’: Chapters 3 and 15 in Claude Debussy: seine Klavieraufnahmen, ed. Tihomir Popović & Peter Mutter. Hofheim am Taunus: Wolke Verlag, 2023: 62–91 and 356–72. Open access

‘Fauré the practical interpreter’, in Fauré Studies, ed. Stephen Rumph & Carlo Caballero. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2021: 170–91

Un tas de petits choses et de petits mystères pour quatre mains’, in André Caplet, compositeur et chef d’orchestre, ed. Denis Herlin & Cécile Quesney. Paris: Éditions Symétrie / Société française de musicologie, 2020: 375–84 (ISBN 978-2-85357-269-9)

‘Debussy’s En blanc et noir and « le souci des proportions »’, in Créer, jouer, transmettre la musique, de la Troisième République à nos jours ; pour Myriam Chimènes. Études réunies, éditées et présentées par Anne Piéjus et Alexandra Laederich avec la collaboration éditoriale de Sophie Debouverie. Paris: Centre de documentation Claude Debussy, 2019: 223–43 (ISBN 978-2-9568421-0-1)

Online article:

‘The songs of Emmanuel Chabrier, “The least illiterate of musicians”’, The Rimbaud and Verlaine Foundation (, posted 1 June 2021