Kevin Bowyer - the Facts:
Kevin Bowyer was born in Southend-on-Sea in January 1961 and studied with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, David Sanger, Virginia Black and Paul Steinitz. In his early career he won first prizes in five international organ competitions and his 1987 world premiere of Kaikhosru Sorabji’s two hour solo Symphony for Organ, considered “impossible” ever since its publication in 1925, helped to cement his reputation as a player of contemporary music and music of extreme technical complexity. In June 2010 he premiered Sorabji’s Second Symphony for Organ (1929-32) in Glasgow and Amsterdam – at nearly 8 hours duration, the longest notated organ work of all. He recently completed a critical edition of Sorabi’s complete organ works, a thousand-page project that occupied him almost full time for six years (2008-14).
At home Kevin has played solo and concerto concerts in most of the major venues and festivals. Tours abroad have taken him throughout Europe, North America, Australia and Japan. He has released a great number of solo CDs, many of which have won awards. These include many landmark recordings of contemporary music as well as the complete organ music of J S Bach (on 29 CDs) and music by Alkan, Brahms, Schumann, Reubke, Hindemith, Schoenberg, Messiaen, Alain, etc. Jonathan Wearn, writing in MusicWeb International, described him as “one of the world’s hardiest and most formidable virtuosos…” and Gramophone magazine described him as “unique”. He also enjoys playing light music and jazz.
Kevin is a popular teacher and has lectured and given masterclasses in many countries. He is Organist to the University of Glasgow, where he plays for many of the 150 annual weddings. Couples are encouraged to have “absolutely anything they want” played on the organ. He has never turned down any request.
Kevin’s article, Twentieth Century European Organ Music – A Toast, cast as a play set in a Cotswolds pub, in the Incorporated Association of Organists’ Millennium Book was described by one reviewer as “quite simply the best piece of writing on organ music that I have ever seen.”
His other interests include reading widely, obscure cinema, real ale, malt whiskies and looking at the sea. His favourite pastime is sleeping.