John B. Hawkins

Biography

John Hawkins (b. 1949) studied composition with Malcolm Williamson and Elisabeth Lutyens and has written a 'Sea Symphony', an opera (for Covent Garden's Garden Venture), string quartets, music for wind instruments, choral works and chamber music – many of which have been broadcast worldwide. 

The 'Sea Symphony' was commissioned on the recommendation of Sir Charles Mackerras. First performed and broadcast by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, it was recorded again by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Other BBC broadcasts include ‘Variations’ for piano, ‘Urizen’ for viola and piano and ‘This World’ for choir and two trumpets.

John Hawkins'  CD ‘Voices from the Sea’ was released in 2003 including the song cycle with string orchestra (tenor soloist Martyn Hill). A CD of music for clarinet in various settings, 'Simplicius'  includes 'The Dong with A Luminous Nose' - a setting for clarinet and baritone voice of Lear's  poem as well as the Sonata,  the Concerto and Trio ('In Touch') for clarinet, 'cello and piano.

2019 saw performances of the 'Clarinet Sonata', ‘Stranger, Lover, Dancer’ for solo ‘cello (Cheltenham Festival), ‘Cortège?’ for violin and piano, ‘Take Two’ for two guitars, ‘Sonata Serenata’ for flute and piano, ‘Lost in Translation’ for piano and ‘Disturbed Nights’ for solo flute. ‘At Two’ for two violas was commissioned by Peter Mallinson and Matthias Wiesner for their CD 'A Tale of Two Violas'. ‘Grounds’ for oboe and string orchestra was performed  by Musicians of All Saints and in piano reduction at the RCM. 

In 2022 'The Dong with a Luminous Nose' was performed in the Tête a Tête Opera season in London with the addition of the dancer Eline Peres (videoed on YouTube). The string quartet 'Fuzon' was performed by the Piatti Quartet at a Nicholas Yonge Society concert and 'Another Orpheus' for string orchestra was performed by the Stane Street Sinfonietta.

2023 included performances of the new 'Child's Play' (soprano and piano) on poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and ‘Escape’ for piano. 'Urizen' for viola and piano was played by Rachel Roberts at the Presteigne Festival and ‘Period Pieces’ for piano was performed and videoed for YouTube by Yoko Ono. ‘Chidiock’s End’ for brass quintet was premiered by Brass Fusion. 

2024 (75th anniversary year) began with a performance in January of 'Threnody' for string orchestra by Musicians of all Saints. Followed by several performances of 'BoBop' for solo violin in the UK and USA. October sees a performance of 'Sonata Serenata' for flute and piano at the Adur Arts Festival. ‘Looking Back’ for violin and piano was released on Siân Philipps's CD 'From Shadows to Light'. 'Mouthpiece' for trumpet and 'Sonus' for Tuba will be published by Warwick Music.

Forthcoming in 2025: A new piano Quartet 'Blake Visions' will be premiered by the London Piano Quartet at the  Conway Hall in London on January 26th. 

John Hawkins lives in Lewes, East Sussex and is a member of the New Music Brighton group of composers.