This is for advanced players, who probably will already have experience of playing in recorder orchestras.

Workshop and Public Performance of Symphony No 3 by Stephen Watkins (conducted by Stephen).

Sunday 10th June 2018, Sidholme, Elysian Fields, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 8UJ

Workshop: 10am – 3pm (Light buffet lunch 1pm – 2pm, included in the price)

Concert, including performance of the symphony in the magnificent Sidholme Victorian Music Room: 3.30pm – 4.30pm

Cost for the day, including Tea/Coffee/Biscuits and a light buffet lunch: £25

This event is by pre-booking only, and will be limited to 25 players.

For further information, please contact Ashley Allerton  (devdotchairatsrpdotorgdotuk)  

Sidholme Music Room

Stephen Watkins


More about Stephen Watkins and his music.

Stephen has studied, played and written in many styles of music since his studies at the Guildhall School of Music where in addition to composing and conducting, he studied trombone, piano and recorder. Since retiring from his last post as the Director of a music school run for British Forces children in Germany, he has had the time to focus on his composition in a way which work did not always help.

To give some idea of his interests these include playing in and conducting Orchestra Big Band jazz, trad Jazz String quartets (on Cello), and being a pro level recorder player solo and quartet recorder playing. All of these interests are filtered into Stephen’s work as a composer along with a passionate belief in the importance to the cultural world of the amateur musician. Stephen has a total conviction that in essence the only difference that there need be between amateur and professional world is the reason that people are playing!

Although he does have a personal style, currently Stephen is engaged in providing recorder orchestras with the kind of repertoire which musical history has denied them.  These pieces are being played regularly in Germany with his friend Dietrich Schnabel conducting them and beginning to find a place in the British scene. The recorder orchestra is unique among amateur ensembles in its willingness to accept music of all ranges and styles and not have inherent problems in getting balance of instruments right. this make it a really worthwhile challenge for composers, but it needs as careful study as any other ensemble in order to get the best from it.  

The idea behind these works is to allow recorder players the opportunity to experience the excitement of the big nineteenth and early twentieth symphonies with significant works that are written with influence from specific composers. So far the pieces written are the first symphony which owes its inspiration to Scandinavian composers Sibelius, Nielsen, Grieg, the second, which I understand the folks in Devon SRP have played through, based on Mahler, and the third, based on Schubert and is dedicated to the memory of Eileen Silcocks. The fourth is based on Brahms. Since then a fifth on the ideas of Tchaikovsky has been completed and been played in rehearsal in Germany and a sixth, which as I write, based on the work of Anton Bruckner, approaches completion. These pieces are not mere pastiche because they are not arrangements and they are definitely written with recorders in mind from their conception. So my concept is to take the language of other composers but imagine how they may have used it if they had been writing for recorder orchestra today.

As well as these bigger pieces there are a number of smaller, not quite so challenging pieces and an enormous amount of chamber music which takes its inspiration from many other sources, Japanese music, Bulgarian music and currently a study of North Indian music may well bear fruit in this direction as well.



Last updated 11 January 2018