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Piers Hellawell

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Piers Hellawell is Professor of Composition in the School of Creative Arts in The Queen’s University of Belfast, where he has taught since 1981. His music is published by Edition Peters (London) Ltd.

Piers Hellawell’s work covers traditional instrumental, orchestral and chamber media; it has been commissioned and performed around the world, featuring special collaborations with leading orchestras and celebrated artists. Large projects since his 1999 Proms debut (Inside Story) have included Cors de chasse, a double concerto commissioned for Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet) and Jonas Bylund (trombone) by the Philharmonia Orchestra and Degrees of Separation, the commissioned work for the opening of The Sage Gateshead on the Tyne (both in 2004). Dogs and Wolves, a commission for the BBC Scottish SO’s first series in City Halls, was premiered in 2006 and recorded, on the CD of the same name, the following year.  2011 saw work on Isabella’s Banquet, premiered by the National Chamber Choir of Ireland and Paul Hillier in April 2012, and Syzygy, a joint commission for the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Stockholm Chamber Brass in 2013, for which the composer was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship. One of his most enduring collaborations, with the Hilliard Ensemble, was marked in 2014 when the celebrated ensemble included his Hilliard Songbook in their last ever recital, in London’s Wigmore Hall.

Hellawell’s works are represented on CD on the ECM New Series, NMC and Metier labels, as well as on three critically acclaimed discs of his music from the Metronome label; May 2012 saw the issue of ‘Airs, Waters’, Hellawell’s first recording on the Delphian label, hailed by ‘The Independent’ as ".... a large-scale palette applied with the most delicate of brushwork", and by ‘The Scotsman’ as "gorgeously impassioned work..... a rich kaleidoscope of inspired creativity".

In April 2013 Hellawell won one of 20 PRS for Music Foundation Biennial 2014 commissions, to work with improvising trio Bourne Davis Kane; this was followed in 2014 by a PRS ‘Beyond Borders’ award to collaborate with Fidelio Trio and poet Professor Sinead Morrissey. 2015 sees work on a major orchestral project for Hellawell’s 60th birthday in 2016.

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