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 The Unthanks, Wyclef Jean, Squarepusher, Nigel Kennedy and Steve Reich, and played the first ever symphony concert on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival.
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. Hazlewood continued his work with Kneehigh with a radical score for a new production of Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum in 2017.
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 18/19 include a re-invitation to Swedish Radio Symphony, concerts with the Liege Philharmonic and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, and a premiere of a new work by Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall with the British Paraorchestra.
Hazlewood lives in Somerset with his family.
Charles Hazlewood takes standard repertoire (such as Dvorák 9) and deconstructs it in the first half of the concert, bringing in 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 hear more orchestral music, but don’t know where to start.
Play! / Strange Powers from Another Planet
Taking the most iconic and rampantly popular symphonic video game scores (PLAY!), (or in STRANGE POWERS, sci fi hits) and exploring where these worlds came from. This is a pitch-perfect way to build a new audience for the orchestra. They come on the promise of hearing their favourite video game / sci fi scores played live - which they do, with bells on - and are also taken on an intense odyssey into the heart of great symphonic music. It is not a lecture, more a roller coaster ride. For many of the audience this will be their first experience of a live symphony orchestra, blazing and visceral; it is an experience they will not forget. The ratio of video game / sci fi music to symphonic music is roughly 60:40.
The Anatomy of the Orchestra
This is a thrilling project where the orchestra becomes an installation. The musicians are placed in a big open space (large warehouse, art gallery, sports hall etc), and spread out over a 30-40 metre area. Each musician is raised on a small podium; the audience walk amongst the orchestra as they play, creating their own sonic mix. They can move towards the trombones, stand behind the oboes, wander between the double basses, wherever they like! An incredible opportunity for them to climb inside the orchestra. All the musicians have in-ear monitoring, so it is possible for them to play totally together whilst being spread far apart.
As premiered at Glastonbury Festival in June 2015, Hazlewood works with the Mercury Prize-nominated folk singers The Unthanks to develop a new hybrid of their extraordinary, pure bardic song/storytelling in poetic partnership with chamber orchestra. Hazlewood and the band took this project on a UK tour, including Royal Festival Hall, in December 2017.
From Ligeti and Messiaen to Squarepusher
An extraordinary collaboration for orchestra with electronic artist Squarepusher. Squarepusher’s sources of inspiration (Ligeti, Messiaen) in the first half, then an arrangement for orchestra and electronics of “Ufabulum”, a multi-movement electronic work.