Concert Biographies

The biographies for Owain Arwel Hughes and Philip Dukes have been provided by the Hallé Orchestra in connection with their concert as part of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations.

Philip Dukes - Viola

Philip Dukes is one of Great Britain's most outstanding solo viola players. His recital debut at London's South Bank in 1991, described by The Strad magazine as 'world class', marked the beginning of a career that is now established as one of the foremost of his generation.

His principal teachers in London and New York have included Mark Knight, Yfrah Neaman and Michael Tree. Having completed his studies, Philip won a succession of awards, scholarships, prizes and competitions and in June 1992 was selected for representation by Young Concert Artists Trust. He has performed at several major music festivals including Gstaad, Cheltenham, Bath, Brighton, Aldeburgh, Spitalfields, Colmar and Chester. As a concerto soloist, Philip has appeared with the London Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Bournemouth Symphony and Sinfonietta, the London Mozart Players, the London Sinfoniette, the Northern Sinfonia, the Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, working with a number of distinguished conductors, including Lord Menuhin, Kent Nagano, Matthias Bamert and Richard Hickox.

In 1995, Philip made his BBC Promenade Concert debut, giving the world premiere of the viola concerto by Sally Beamish, and at the 1997 Aldeburgh Festival he gave the world premiere of the previously unpublished concerto for violin, viola and orchestra by Benjamin Britten, both to considerable critical acclaim. During the 1996/97 season, he appeared as a recitalist together with his pianist Sophia Rahman at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Stockholm Konzerthaus, Musikverein Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Alte Oper Frankfurt and the Cologne Philharmonie, following the prestigious 'Rising Stars' award for which he was selected by the European Concert Halls Organisation in 1995.

Philip can be heard regularly on BBC Radio 3 and has recorded a number of CDs, featuring works by Brahms, Schumann, Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams, Rebecca Clarke, Frank Martin and William Lloyd Webber for both Chandos, Collins Classics and ASV recording labels. In addition to his solo commitments, Philip is also a highly experienced chamber music player. He appears as a guest with many of the country's most distinguished artists and ensembles including the Nash Ensemble, the Vanbrugh and Skampa Quartets, the Gould Piano Trio, Nigel Kennedy, Tasmin Little, Julian Lloyd Webber, Roger Vignoles, Barry Douglas and Dimitri Sitkovetsky. Future engagements include recitals at the Wigmore Hall, the world premiere of a concerto for violin, viola and orchestra by Piers Hellawell at the 1999 BBC Proms and a piano quartet in the Carnegie Hall, New York with Alfred Brendel.


Owain Arwel Hughes

One of Britain's most respected conductors, Owain Arwel Hughes is known in the world's great concert halls, in front of the cameras (his television credits are extensive) and in the recording studio, both for his many BBC broadcasts and for his critically acclaimed discs.

His studies with Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink and Rudolf Kempe influenced him to become a discerning interpreter of both traditional and contemporary repertoire, and as a celebrated protagonist of British composition. His record of commissions and premieres is comprehensive, featuring works from composers such as Alun Hoddinott, Paul Patterson, William Matthias and Malcolm Arnold. He is now one of the most active British conductors, having worked with every major British orchestra, including a number of years as Associate Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and has been honoured with numerous doctorates, fellowships and awards, as well as receiving two Gold Discs from the classical recording industry.

Owain Arwel Hughes instigated and is the Artistic Director of the Welsh Proms, now firmly established as a flagship of musical excellence and one of the major orchestral festivals in Britain. Recent years have seen a burgeoning relationship with Scandinavia. Currently Principal Conductor with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, which he has raised to be one of the leading orchestras in Scandinavia, he has also worked with the major orchestras in Helsinki, Oslo, Gothenburg, Aarhus and Copenhagen. This connection with Scandinavia has been further enhanced by his pioneering attitude to its contemporary music. The Danish composer Holmboe dedicated his last symphony to Owain, so impressed was he by Owain's world premiere recording of the complete cycle of symphonies for BIS.

Owain Arwel Hughes discography (including recordings for EMI, ASV and BIS) demonstrates the range of his musicianship, which has received so much critical attention. Among his notable recordings are Delius's 'A Song of Summer' and Vaughan Williams' Symphony No 2 with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Verdi's Requiem and Handel's Messiah with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the landmark recordings of Holmboe's Symphonies with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra. Outstanding television broadcasts have included Verdi's Requiem with the Hallé Orchestra and Mahler's Symphony No 8 with the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Recent engagements on the British concert platform have included a series with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and a series with the Hallé Orchestra, with whom he enjoys a special relationship. He plans and directs the Hallé Proms and has recently devised their new Sunday Concert Series. Next year he will celebrate his long association with the Hallé Orchestra when he conducts them in a major tour of Britain. Other concerts this season have included work with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; the English Chamber Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.


Ben Wallfisch

Ben Wallfisch is a first-year student on the joint degree course at the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester. His composition Silicon Rhapsody was selected for performance at the Hallé Concert as part of the celebrations for the 50th Anniversary of the First Stored-Program Computer.

Ben studies composition with RNCM Director of Composition Studies Anthony Gilbert, and piano and conducting as well. The orchestral/digital piece was created with the aid of the Notator Logic computer program.