Charles Hazlewood

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Charles Hazlewood - Brief Biography

“What Heston Blumenthal is to food, Charles Hazlewood is to music.”

The Guardian

Charles Hazlewood, British conductor, is a passionate advocate for a wider audience for orchestral music. After winning the European Broadcasting Union conducting competition in his 20’s, he has enjoyed a global and pioneering career conducting some of the world’s greatest orchestras including the Swedish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg & Malmö Symphonies, Copenhagen Philharmonic, the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw of Amsterdam and the Philharmonia (London).

Hazlewood is known for breaking new ground. By re-inventing the presentation of orchestral music and by collaborating with many ‘stars’ from across the genres of music Hazlewood has sought to embed the ‘magical instrument of the orchestra’ in 21st century music scene; but always with the same goal: to expose the deep, always-modern joy of orchestral music to a new audience.

Hazlewood has conducted over 200 world premieres of new scores by contemporary composers, and worked with contemporary musicians as diverse as Wyclef Jean, Professor Green, Goldie, Nigel Kennedy and Steve Reich. He is the first conductor to headline with an orchestra at the Glastonbury International Festival of Contemporary Arts, the greatest rock festival in the world.

Hazlewood's work as a composer and music director has been received with consistent critical acclaim. His South African township 'Carmen' film sung in Xhosa won the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival, his South African musical version of the mediaeval plays 'The Mysteries' was a sell out in London's West End and provoked the first leader on music theatre in the Times in 40 years; his re-invention (with Carl Grose) of John Gay's, the Beggar's Opera (Dead Dog in a Suitcase and Other Love Songs), was selected by the Guardian for its top 10 shows of 2015. His new opera The Tin Drum was number two in Susannah Clapp’s Observer Top 10 shows of 2017.

In 2012, the British Paraorchestra, the world’s first orchestra of musicians with disability, was formed by Hazlewood to play at the Closing Ceremony of the London Paralympics to a global audience of millions. The Paraorchestra has since played at Buckingham Palace and across the World and now regularly plays in mainstream performances alongside its sister orchestra the able-bodied Army of Generals (Glastonbury Festival headliner 2016, on BBC television, and throughout the World).

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 Radio 2 and 3, and has three TED talks to his name.

Hazlewood lives in Somerset, England with his wife and family.

“Hazlewood’s conducting was a revelation.”

The Times