Since winning the European Broadcasting Union Conducting Competition in his 20s, Charles Hazlewood has enjoyed a global and pioneering career conducting some of the world’s greatest orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden and the Philharmonia in London.
Hazlewood co-founded the award-winning South African lyric theatre company Dimpho di Kopane (London’s West End and worldwide), Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival for their movie U Carmen e-Khayelitsha.
He launched a new breed of orchestral festival “Orchestival” in his home county of Somerset, and in 2012 founded The British Paraorchestra, the world’s first large-scale professional ensemble of virtuoso musicians with disabilities.
Hazlewood has authored, presented and conducted multiple television films on music for the BBC and Channel Four and won Sony Awards for his shows on BBC Radio 2 and 3. Hazlewood has conducted over 100 world premieres, worked with artists as diverse as Wyclef Jean, Squarepusher, Nigel Kennedy and Steve Reich, and played the first ever symphony concert on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival.
In 2015 Hazlewood’s re-invention of Gay’s Beggar’s Opera with his completely new score, ‘Dead Dog in a Suitcase’ with the Kneehigh Theatre Company, was named one of the top ten shows of the year by the Guardian newspaper and toured worldwide in 2016. Recent conducting highlights include concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Danish National Symphony and Copenhagen Philhamonic; his “Close Up” series with Malmo Symphony; and projects with the British Paraorchestra and Charles Hazlewood’s Army of Generals at Glastonbury Festival.
Highlights in 17/18 include a re-invitation to Swedish Radio Symphony, concerts with WDR Funkhausorchester Cologne, a major UK tour with Mercury Prize-nominated folk singers the Unthanks, and a radical score for a new production of Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum with Kneehigh.
Hazlewood lives in Somerset with his family.
He takes standard repertoire (such as Dvorak 9) and deconstructs it in the first half of the concert, bouncing off into related music from other traditions, and giving a complete performance of the work in the second half. For the vast community of people who have an active, daily engagement with music of many kinds, who would love to climb inside orchestral music, but don’t know where to start.
From Ligeti and Messiaen to Squarepusher
An extraordinary collaboration for orchestra with electronic artist Squarepusher, click here to watch on YouTube. Squarepusher’s sources of inspiration (eg Ligeti, Messiaen) in the first half, then an arrangement for orchestra and electronics of “Ufabulum”, a multi-movement electronic work.
The Third Summer of Love: Acid House Goes Symphonic
A whole new way of experiencing Acid House's cathartic great oceans of sound. This dance music from the 1980’s is given new textures and colours by the orchestra, its beats are magnified and honed, its melodies given new depth and weight.
High Score juxtaposes a selection of the most sophisticated video game scores with the key classical scores from which they draw their inspiration, (Strauss/Korngold/Wagner…). A vibrant and exciting way for audiences to access the greatest classical music through a medium more familiar to them – and for classical music audiences to discover a whole new fantasy world.
Charles’ Paraorchestra was formed to open the 2012 Paralympics, and has since made a CD for EMI and has a flourishing concert schedule. In Autumn 2014 they will give the world premiere of a new Concerto Grosso by Lloyd Coleman together with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and are seeking further co-commissioners.
Charles Hazlewood All Stars call and response
This is a collaboration between the symphony orchestra and Hazlewood All Stars (musicians from Portishead, Goldfrapp etc). A core symphonic masterwork e.g. Holst Planets is played by the orchestra, and then the All Stars offer a response, using Holst’s material but filtered through Klezmer, Kraut Rock, Reich-like systems
What Heston Blumenthal is to food, Charles Hazlewood is to music.
London Evening Standard
An evangelist for every age and tradition of music.
...enveloping, transcendental….Hazlewood’s tackling of the pop-classical world of minimalism was a challenge that paid off.