Elgar Howarth

Biography

Born: November 4, 1935; Cannock, Staffordshire  
Elgar Howarth is one of the most conspicuous figures in modern English musical life, managing to maintain a multifaceted career as a conductor, composer, arranger, and instrumentalist. As such, he is a throwback to an earlier time when a musician was fluent in all facets of his craft, much like his versatile namesake, Sir Edward.

Howarth was the son of a brass band conductor. Thus, his musical training was early, and at 10, he joined his
Read more father's ensemble, graduating to principal cornetist at 14. Howarth furthered his musical education at Manchester University and later the Royal Manchester College of Music, majoring in composition at the latter. There he met fellow student and kindred spirit Peter Maxwell Davies, with whom he formed the Manchester New Music Group. Upon graduation, he began his career in earnest as trumpeter at the Royal Opera House and moved through a number of ensembles, some very worthy, among them the Royal Air Force Band, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, and conductorship of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. The latter was notable for Howarth's expanding the repertoire beyond the traditional band fare. An appearance with the London Sinfonietta in Italy drew the attention of Ligeti, who engaged Howarth to conduct the Stockholm premiere of the former's Le grande macabre. Howarth's predilection for the less-trodden path may be seen through the succession of his projects: Harrison Birtwistle's Mask of Orpheus (1986), Gawain (1991), The Second Mrs. Kong (1994); the major British premiere of Carl Nielsen's Maskarade (1990); and numerous orchestral and instrumental works by Ligeti, Birtwistle, Previn, Keuris, Gloria Coates, and Lumsdaine to name but a few from his broad repertoire that ranges from these composers back to Haydn and Mozart.

As a bandsman, Howarth's interest is truly catholic, his acclaimed recordings ranging from Sousa to band works by the above mentioned composers to the "discovery" of early twentieth century British band composer William Rimmer. Howarth's arrangements for band include numerous Wagner adaptations and a remarkable transcription of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

Although it is as an interpreter that he is best known, Howarth is a prolific composer and exhibits the versatility and tonal inclination that marks the English school. As may be expected, his brass band works are extensive, including the Copland-esque Legends, the reflective, Satie-like American Dream, as well as the more extrovert Fireworks and Concerto for Trumpet and Brass Band. Among his orchestral works are concerti for trumpet and trombone. Many of his compositions appear under the pseudonym of W. Hogarth Lear. It is also worth noting that Howarth, with a few others, provided the trumpet parts to the Beatles' 1967 recording Magical Mystery Tour. Read less
Browse 1-6 of 6 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    A Royal Fanfare
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1263 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Elgar Howarth,  Eric Coates,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Conductor:  James Judd,  Geoffrey A. Kingston,  Christopher Robinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stockholm Philharmonic Brass Ensemble,  Malmö Brass Ensemble
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  • 2.
    A Royal Pageant
    Label: Gift Of Music   Catalog: 1212 Release Date: 01/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Elgar Howarth,  Matthew Locke,  Eric Coates  ... 
    Conductor:  James Judd,  Major Geoffrey Kingston,  Christopher Robinson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Zealand Symphony Orchestra,  Stockholm Philharmonic Brass Ensemble,  Malmo Brass Ensemble  ... 
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  • 3.
    Brass Sketches
    Label: Mark Custom Recording Service,   Catalog: 4819 Release Date: 01/01/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Elgar Howarth,  Victor Ewald,  Anthony Plog  ... 
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  • 4.
    The 20th Century Album / Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470501 Release Date: 02/26/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Arthur Bliss,  Malcolm Arnold,  Kurt Weill,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
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  • 5.
    British Trombone Concertos / Christian Lindberg, Llewellyn
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 658 Release Date: 03/08/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Derek Bourgeois,  Elgar Howarth,  Gordon Jacob
    Performer:  Christian Lindberg
    Conductor:  Grant Llewellyn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales
    CD: $21.49
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  • 6.
    British Bandsmen Centenary Concert
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4513 Release Date: 03/09/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Arthur Sullivan,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Elgar Howarth  ... 
    Performer:  Phillip McCann,  James Shepherd,  William Lang,  Maurice Murphy  ... 
    Conductor:  Harry Mortimer,  Major Peter Parkes,  James Scott,  Roy Newsome
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Besses o' th' Barn Band,  Black Dyke Mills Band,  IMI Yorkshire Imperial Bands
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    CD: $8.99
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