Ian Watson – Director
Torelli Sinfonia in A minor
Ian Watson has been described by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as “a conductor of fomidable ability”, and by The Times in London as a keyboard performer with “virtuosic panache and brilliantly articulated playing” and “a world-class soloist.” His versatility is revealed in the equal ease with which he performs the roles of orchestral conductor, choral director, organist, harpsichordist, pianist, teacher and public speaker. Ian Watson has appeared as soloist or conductor with the London Symphony, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, Scottish Chamber, English Chamber, Polish Chamber, Irish Chamber and Stuttgart Chamber Orchestras, Bremen Philharmonic, Rhein-Main Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Handel and Haydn Society, English Baroque Soloists, and The Sixteen amongst many others. He has also been featured on more than 200 recordings and film soundtracks including Amadeus, Polanski’s Death and the Maiden, Restoration, Cry the Beloved Country, Voices from a Locked Room, and BBC‘s David Copperfield. Ian’s conducting engagements include Monteverdi’s Vespers at St. James’s Palace in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen; Bach’s B Minor Mass at the Rheingau Festival with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Orchestra and Chorus; the opening concerts of the newly renovated Châtelet Theater in Paris with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and tours with Nigel Kennedy and the English Chamber Orchestra of Bruch and Mozart concerti. He was invited to be the assistant conductor, organ and harpsichord soloist and continuo player for Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Bach Cantata Pilgrimage, performing all Bach’s Cantatas on the correct liturgical day in places where Bach lived and worked. An important part of Ian’s work is devoted to Arcadia Players period-instrument ensemble of which he is Artistic Director. Arcadia have a wide-ranging repertoire from viol consort to their recent exploration of all nine Beethoven Symphonies. Recent triumphs have included fully-staged performances of Handel’s Serse featured in the New York Times and compared very favorably with the legendary production by New York City Opera in the 90’s. The 2013/14 season is Arcadia Players’ 25th and Ian’s 10th as Artistic Director. Performances include Bach’s St John Passion, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and performances and recordings of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto and Ninth Symphony all on period-instruments.. Ian Watson has a distinguished career as both a solo and collaborative pianist. He is in demand as a chamber music partner, and has appeared in recital with Nigel Kennedy, Iona Brown, Julian Lloyd Webber, QX Boston and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble amongst many others,. He is featured as a pianist on a number of films and recordings including an award-winning CD with Renee Fleming. As soloist, he has played and directed piano concerti with, notably, the English Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and London Mozart Players as well as orchestras in Europe and Scandinavia. Ian has had a career-long passion for opera, working first as a vocal coach and conductor at Glyndebourne, and subsequently conducting countless performances of over fifty operas throughout England, and internationally at Sadler’s Wells, The Royal Festival Hall, Bremen Opera, Giessen Opera, the Komische Opera, Berlin, houses in France and Scandinavia, and as a Principal Conductor with the Darmstadt State Opera in Germany in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi and Handel to Richard Strauss’s Elektra and Janacek’s Macropoulos Case. Born in England in the Buckinghamshire village of Wooburn Common, Ian won a scholarship to the Junior School of the Royal Academy of Music in London, at the age of 14. He later won all the prizes for organ performance and others for piano accompaniment including the coveted Recital Diploma, the highest award for performance excellence. He completed his studies with Flor Peeters in Belgium. As a distinguished graduate, he was honored in 1993, with an Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music, in recognition of his services to music and he is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. Ian’s first major appointment was as Organist at St. Margaret’s, Westminster Abbey, at the age of 19, a position he held for ten years, and has also held a number of important positions in London including Organist of St. Marylebone Parish Church, and Music Director of the historic Christopher Wren Church, St. James’s Piccadilly.