Skip to content

Roderick Williams Composer

Roderick Williams is one of the UK’s most sought-after baritones and an increasingly renowned composer, especially of choral and vocal works. His advent antiphon O Adonai has become something of a favourite for choirs on both sides of the Atlantic and Ave Verum Corpus Re-imagined was awarded the BASCA prize for Choral Composition in 2016.

Podium Music represents Roderick Williams for choral commissioning and choral projects. All enquiries for Roderick Williams as baritone should go to Helen Hogh at Groves Artists.

Roderick Williams is one of the UK’s most sought-after baritones and an increasingly renowned composer, especially of choral and vocal works. He has had his works premiered at most of London’s major concert halls as well as internationally and has frequently had his music performed, broadcast and recorded. His advent antiphon O Adonai has become something of a favourite for choirs on both sides of the Atlantic and Ave Verum Corpus Re-imagined was awarded the BASCA prize for Choral Composition in 2016.

Upcoming works being premiered in 2024 include commissions for the Philharmonia Baroque Chorale (San Francisco), The Bach Choir, the Academy of Ancient Music, Peterhouse Cambridge, The BBC Singers and Bristol Beacon.

Roderick’s training as a choral singer is evident in his compositions. His Jazz Choral Evensong service was written in 2006 in homage to Duke Ellington and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. This was followed by a BBC Radio 4 commission for an accompanying Matins service. Highlighted works include Everyone Sang, co-commissioned by The King’s Singers and the Chapter House Choir of York Minster to mark Remembrance Sunday 2016. Vocal Ensemble I Fagiolini premiered La Ci Darem La Mano at the BBC Chamber Proms in 2017 and Voice Trio with cellist Matthew Sharp premiered Silence and Music for at the Three Choirs Festival the same year. Two major works were premiered in 2018: World Without End, for the RIAS Kammerchor and BBC Singers and Per ardua ad astra, written to celebrate the centenary of the RAF at the Barbican, London. During the Covid-19 pandemic Roderick wrote Now Winter Nights for VOCES8, premiered in their LIVE From London online festival in December 2020. The Philharmonia Orchestra commissioned an orchestrated accompaniment of it for a filmed concert the following year. He composed two pieces for the Edvard Grieg Kor of Bergen, Norway, Du var vinden and Spring Memories, an arrangement of a solo piano piece by Grieg, that can be performed simultaneously. Death be not proud was commissioned by The King’s Singers for their album celebrating William Byrd and Thomas Weelkes in 2023. Other pieces composed specifically for album projects have include Inviolata for the Marian Consort and God So Loved The World for Saxophonist Sam Corkin and the Choir of Canterbury Cathedral.

In 2023 Roderick wrote the 10-movement work Forever? for the 250th anniversary commemoration of Amazing Grace, the words for which were first written as part of a sermon in 1773 by Rev. John Newton in Olney. With a new text by Rommi Smith it was premiered by Chineke! and a specially created community choir, conducted by Leon Bosch.

He has written many solo songs for himself as well as for friends and colleagues. As an arranger he incorporated the Agnus Dei text into Mokale Koapeng’s beautiful prayer for peace Khutsho, one of several arrangements and compositions featured on the album Simunye with I Fagiolini and the SDASA Chorale. He arranged the Eriskay Love Lilt for The Sixteen, included on their album Good night, Beloved.

Roderick performed his own orchestrated arrangements of Ol’ Man River and Joshua fit de Battle of Jericho at the BBC Last Night of the Proms in 2014 accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo. His orchestrations of English songs including A Shropshire Lad were recorded by Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra in 2022. This disc won an award from Limelight Magazine at the end of 2023.

Roderick has enjoyed associations with various organisations. He was Artistic Director of Leeds Lieder + in April 2016, Artist in Residence with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra between 2020-2022 as well as singer-in-residence for Music in the Round in Sheffield. He is currently the Composer-in-Association of the BBC Singers for whom he wrote the piece titled BBC Singers to start their 2023 season.

Roderick was chosen to perform at the Coronation of King Charles III in May 2023, for which he was also asked to compose a variation on the King’s favourite hymn melody, Slane. The result, in tandem with composers Nigel Hess and Shirley J Thompson was Triptych. He was awarded an OBE for services to music in June 2017.

https://www.wisemusicclassical.com/composer/6363/Roderick-Williams/

“Roderick Williams modestly calls himself a ‘singer who also composes’ but this runs the risk of minimising the strong practical core to his attractive and beautifully written music.” —Gramophone Magazine