Bethan Morgan-Williams (1992-) is a composer who writes quirky, rhythmically-intricate music. Described as “marvellously oblique and obscure” [5against4] while being “rooted in something ancient and folky” [The Telegraph], Bethan’s music finds motivation in the apogee of musical performance. With composer-performer collaborations a key part of Bethan’s practice, each piece is written according to the characters of those involved.
In her short composing career, Bethan has already accrued a significant number of prestigious awards, including a Leverhulme Scholarship (2018-9); the Susan Bradshaw Composer Prize (RPS – 2017-8); the Christopher Brooks Composition Prize (Young Composer in Residence with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic) (2015-7); and the LSO Panufnik Scheme (2015-6). She was shortlisted to represent Wales at the ISCM World Music Days (2019 & 2020); for a Paul Hamlyn Award (2017); and for Manchester Jazz Festival’s Irwin Mitchell Prize (2014). Her music has already reached a wide audience through performances at venues/festivals including Hallé St. Michael’s and the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester; the Philharmonic Hall and St George’s Hall, Liverpool; Colston Hall, Bristol; Cheltenham Music Festival; Chapter Arts, Cardiff; LSO St. Luke’s and the British Museum, London; Norton Centre for the Arts (KY), USA; Haarlem Organ Festival, Korzo Theatre and Studio Loos, The Netherlands; and Studio des Ensemble Musikfabrik, Cologne and Darmstadt Festival, Germany, with broadcasts on S4C, Radio 3, Hometown Radio (KY) and the Dutch radio society Omroep Max.
Bethan’s music has been commissioned and/or performed by internationally acclaimed ensembles including Ensemble Musikfabrik, Psappha, New European Ensemble, Uproar Ensemble, Ligeti Quartet, Ensemble 10/10, and the London Symphony Orchestra, as well as numerous established and emerging soloists, including Carl Rosman (clarinet), Ben Goldscheider (horn), Fenella Humphreys (violin) and Jennifer Johnston (mezzo soprano). Bethan considers chances to work closely with players a crucial part of her practice. Current preoccupations include the use of text as a means for generating rhythmic content; and the effects of revisiting material interactions on the substructure of ‘finished’ pieces.
Bethan is currently Tutor of Composition at Yorkshire Young Musicians (Leeds).