Kevin Bowyer - the Facts:
- 1961: January 9 - born in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
- 1967: decides to become astronaut or, failing that, bus driver. Has clearly failed with this aspiration.
- 1972: October 18 - joins choir of St. Luke's Church, Prittlewell - nice voice.
- 1973: takes lessons in piano accordion.
- 1975: organ lessons begin with Eric Welch.
- 1975: first serious girlfriend (sigh).
- 1977: Grade 8 Distinction (yes!!).
- 1979-82: studies at Royal Academy of Music with Douglas Hawkridge, Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, Virginia Black, Paul Steinitz and Arthur Wills.
- 1982-84: organ studies with David Sanger.
- 1983: 1st Prize St. Albans International Organ Festival.
- 1987: July 25, plays first performance of Sorabji's 2 hour Organ Symphony 1 (1923/4) in London. This is really where his reputation as a player of "impossible" music stems from.
- 1988-2001: recording contract with Nimbus Records - about 50 CDs including complete J S Bach.
- 1990: lots of other 1st prizes - Odense, Dublin, Paisley, Calgary.
- 1999-2008: Senior Lecturer in Organ at the RNCM.
- 2005-present: organist to the University of Glasgow.
Concerts, broadcasts, lectures, teaching and masterclasses throughout Europe and in North America, Australia and Japan.
Other premieres (World, European or UK) include:
Kaikhosru Sorabji (First Organ Symphony and the first movement of the Second Organ Symphony), Alistair Hinton (Pansophiæ for John Ogdon), Brian Ferneyhough (Sieben Sterne), Giles Swayne (Organ Concerto: Chinese Whispers) Michael Finnissy (Second Organ Symphony), Anthony Gilbert (Halifenu Vine Dance), Iain Matheson (Wondrous Machine, Through Thick and Thin, A Beginning, a Middle and an End and Background Music), Anthony Payne (Reflections in the Sea of Glass), Charles Wuorinen (Natural Fantasy), Milton Babbitt (Manifold Music), Chris Dench (compostela/finisterre) and Iannis Xenakis (Gmeeoorh).
Kevin has also delved into light music and film music and his concert programmes entitled Organ Party! have proved immensely popular. His two Regis CDs entitled Organ X-Plosion, as well as Storm, released on the Regent label and A Late 20th Century Edwardian Bach Recital on Priory, have international followings of almost cult status. His 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."
He has been Organist to the University of Glasgow since September 2005. He accompanies the very excellent Chapel Choir and is Artistic Director of the annual International Organ Festival held in the Memorial Chapel. The Sorabji Organ Works Project, a five year plan supported by The Glasgow University Trust, aims to have a complete critical edition of all three of the Sorabji organ symphonies in print by June 2013 as well as live performances of all three works. CD recordings of the complete Sorabji organ works will be released on Altarus Records, who will also produce a DVD documenting the entire project. Sorabji's massive and largely unplayed Second Organ Symphony (1929-32, about 6½ hours) is scheduled for performance in June 2009. The Third Organ Symphony (1949-54, also about 6½ hours, also unplayed), reputedly the most complex and technically demanding organ work ever composed, is currently undergoing conversion from the manuscript into a workable performing score and is scheduled to be surfacing in public performance in early summer 2013.
Kevin teaches in Glasgow for the St. Giles International Organ School.
His other interests include reading widely, obscure cinema, real ale, malt whiskies and looking at the sea. His favourite pastime is sleeping.