Kenneth Alwyn, FRAM, is the Musical Director of the Philomusica Orchestra and a composer, writer and presenter of concerts and programmes for Radio and Television. These include a BBC TV series on “The Orchestra” with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC “Omnibus” programme on Tchaikovsky – directed by Sir John Drummond. Kenneth Alwyn was a principal conductor of the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden where he shared the rostrum with the luminaries working with the company at that time: Malcolm Sargent, Ernst Ansermet, Arthur Bliss, William Walton, Hans Werner Henze and Benjamin Britten who nominated him as conductor of the original production of “The Prince of the Pagodas”.
In 1958 the BBC invited him to the BBC Concert Orchestra – an association which continues with this and the other BBC Orchestras on radio and television and in the BBC World Service.
Described by BBC Radio 3 as “one of the great British Musical Directors”, his wide theatrical experience ranges from conducting Opera at the Edinburgh Festival; Musical Director to Sir Robert Helpmann and Sir Tyrone Guthrie to working with Frank Loesser on the London production of “Most Happy Fella”.
His recording career began in 1958 with Decca’s first stereophonic recording, “1812” with the London Symphony Orchestra. Prophetically numbered 2001, it has survived until the Millennium, and indeed has recently been re-issued. Other early recordings include the Symphonies of Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim, a well-known “Rhapsody in Blue” with Daniel Adni and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Rossini, Vaughan Williams and the film music of Sir Arnold Bax with the London Philharmonic, London Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras.
In 1991 Kenneth Alwyn recorded for Decca Coleridge Taylor’s Trilogy “Hiawatha” with the Welsh National Opera and Chorus, Helen Field and Arthur Davies and in which he cast Bryn Terfel as Longfellow’s prophetic hero.
More recent releases include “The Man who wrote the Warsaw Concerto” with the BBC Concert Orchestra, (a “Gramophone” Critics Award for 1995), Lord Berners’ “Wedding Bouquet” with the Dublin Chamber Choir and Orchestra, (the “Gramophone” Critics Award for 1996), the music of Miklos Roza, with the City of Prague Philharmonic and, with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the prestigious “Gramophone” Award for the best CD of 1998.
Kenneth Alwyn’s concerts are worldwide, including a period as principal conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, where he gave the first performance in Japan of Holst’s “Planets” and presented all the Beethoven piano concertos with Rudolf Serkin.
Kenneth Alwyn devised, wrote and composed the BBC “Battle of Britain” tour of North America with the BBC Concert Orchestra, the RAF Central Band and the BBC singers; the BBC Concert to commemorate “D Day” broadcast from Portsmouth on the 50th Anniversary and the “Pageant of St George” broadcast from the Royal Albert Hall and commissioned by the Imperial Cancer Fund. His march “The Young Grenadier” dedicated to HM the Queen played and recorded by the massed bands of the Brigade of Guards at the Trooping of the Colour, and his “Fighter Command 1940″ (reflecting his own flying experience) is now a standard RAF Ceremonial March and opens the RAF Tour commemorating the Anniversaries of the Battle of Britain.
Entries for Kenneth Alwyn are to be found in:
International Who’s Who in Music