British tenor Gwilym Bowen is becoming renowned internationally with orchestras and ensembles of the highest calibre for his dynamic stage presence and treasured interpretations. A specialist in Baroque ensemble music, Gwilym’s collaborations to date include performances with the Academy of Ancient Music, The English Concert, Dunedin Consort, Ensemble Orlando Fribourg and the Netherlands Bach Society. On the concert platform he appears regularly with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, City of London Sinfonia, the Auckland Philharmonia, and the Seattle, City of Birmingham, Adelaide and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. Gwilym is equally in demand on the operatic stage, having performed roles for Angers-Nantes Opéra, The Grange Festival and Classical Opera.
Acclaimed for the clarity and beauty of his singing and dynamic stage presence, British tenor Gwilym Bowen performs internationally with orchestras and ensembles of the highest calibre. His engagements in the 2019/20 season include James MacMillan’s All the Hills and Vales Along at the Edinburgh Festival and Dussek’s Mass in G with the Academy of Ancient Music; a Purcell programme, ‘Gabriel – An Entertainment with Trumpet’ with The English Concert, Alison Balsom and Harry Bicket at the Barbican Centre; Messiahwith the Queensland Symphony Orchestra cond. Stephen Layton; Christmas Oratorio with the Oslo Philharmonic; St John Passion with the Ensemble Orlando Fribourg and the English Concert and Evangelist in the St Matthew Passion with BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by John Butt.
A regular with the Academy of Ancient Music, Gwilym’s most recent recording with the orchestra, of Handel’s Brockes-Passion conducted by Richard Egarr, was released in September 2019.
Gwilym’s repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the contemporary, with a specialist interest in Bach, Monteverdi and Handel. His operatic highlights include Valletto L’incoronazione di Poppea for Angers-Nantes Opéra; Eurimaco/Giove Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patriaat The Grange Festival; Damon Acis and Galatea and multiple roles in Poppea and Ulissewith Academy of Ancient Music at the Barbican, the Ateneul Roman in Bucharest and Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice; Sylph in Rameau Zaïswith the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at Queen Elizabeth Hall and Father in Hasse’s Piramo e Tisbe with Classical Opera cond. Ian Page. Gwilym’s opera roles have also include Tom Rakewell The Rake’s Progress and Davey in Jonathan Dove’s Siren Song; and forthcoming he will sing Flute AMidsummer Night’s Dream and make his debut at the Opera de Lille.
A passionate proponent of new music, Bowen has created the roles of Tamino in Be With Me Now at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, with performances at the Philharmonie de Paris, La Monnaie and the National Opera of Poland, the protagonists in two operas by Kate Whitley, Unknown Position and 0520, and Smith in Matt Rogers’ and Sally O’Reilly’s And London Burned.
In concert, Gwilym has sun Evangelist for St John Passion with John Butt and BBC National Orchestra of Wales, and the St Matthew Passion for De Nederlandse Bachvereniging and the Auckland Philharmonia, and has sung Bach cantatas with Masaaki Suzuki at Lincoln Center; Monteverdi and Schütz with the Dunedin Consort; Christmas Oratorio across Australia with Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Das Lied von der Erde with the City of London Sinfonia; Ernst Wilhelm Wolf’s Passionsoratoriumwith Die Koelner Akademie; Messiahwith the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Hanover Band and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; and Bach Mass in B Minor with the OAE at St John’s, Smith Square. His recordings include the St John Passion arias with De Nederlandse Bachvereniging and in a world-first Welsh language broadcast for S4C, and the Mass in B Minorwith the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge and OAE for Hyperion.
Born in Hereford, Gwilym was a choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating with Double-First class honours in Music, before studying at the Royal Academy of Music.
Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version. Email: Tom Wood
“Tenor Gwilym Bowen was a superb Peter, capturing the diverse and contradictory emotions experienced by the troubled disciple in an extended sequence in the first part of the Passion. Anger at Judas’ betrayal of Jesus blazed through the running lines of “Poison and fire, lightning and flood”, accompanied by agile unison strings; his avowal that he would not forsake Christ, “Take me with you, cowardly crowd” was sincere and soft, the fine, unwavering line complemented by Sarah McMahon’s eloquent cello obbligato … his responses are insistent yet instilled with a beautiful pathos and sincerity, particularly as he falls in register. Bowen’s tenor burns with self-loathing, the text fiercely declaimed, the rapid divisions clear” Claire Seymour, Opera Today (April 2019)
“Peter’s agony is particularly well caught by the tenor Gwilym Bowen … (he is) something of a rising glory” Geoff Brown, The Times (April 2019)
Britten WAR REQUIEM (London Philharmonic Orchestra)
“The hero of the entire Coventry Cathedral performance evening was the tenor Gwilym Bowen, in the role pioneered by Peter Pears. Bowen could really bellow out Owen’s texts where necessary. But was there ever a more sensitive performance of “Move him into the sun”? I doubt it” Roderick Dunnett, Church Times (December 2018)
Bach ST. MATTHEW PASSION (Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra)
“The Evangelist, Gwilym Bowen, was a consistently intense presence, plangent and vocally at ease even in the highest-lying sections of his part. This was the most immersed I’ve seen an Evangelist in the drama, at turns grief-stricken and desperate…yet all felt in service of the music, never detracting from it” Simon Holden, Bachtrack (October 2018)
Handel MESSIAH (Seattle Symphony Orchestra)
“Bowen made the kind of impact not heard here since the lone Messiah appearance in Seattle of the great English tenor Philip Langridge, back in the late 1970s. Lyrical and agile, with considerable expressive depth, Bowen delivered every phrase as if it had just occurred to him, with unfailingly expressive spontaneity. His Thy rebuke was positively heart-rending” Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times (December 2016)
Joanne Lunn, Maria Keohane, Hanna Zumsande (sopranos), Ed Lyon, Gwilym Bowen (tenors), Daniel Carlsson, Daniel Elgersma (altos), Peter Harvey, Jakob Bloch Jespersen (basses). Lars Ulrik Mortensen conducts Concerto Copenhagen
Handel BROCKES PASSION
The 300th anniversary performance of Handel’s neglected oratorio, with Richard Egarr and the Academy of Ancient Music.
Bach B MINOR MASS
Gwilym joins Stephen Layton, Trinity College Choir Cambridge and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for Bach’s masterpiece.