Gwyn Owen

IMG_9722_Gwyn OwenOriginally from Bangor, North Wales, Gwyn started playing the cornet at the age of eight. He grew up playing in the local brass band tradition with the Menai Bridge and Beaumaris Bands, and the Gwynedd & Mon County Youth Ensembles, later joining the National Youth Brass Band of Wales. After receiving initial trumpet lessons from Rhys Owens (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra), Gwyn successfully auditioned for a full scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music. Following five years of study, he has now graduated with a first class honours master’s degree.

During his time at the Royal Academy, Gwyn appeared frequently with the Academy Symphony Orchestra, most prominently as Principal Trumpet at the Royal Festival Hall on Remembrance Day 2014, playing Britten’s War Requiem. Previously, Gwyn had been a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales for five years, his last two as Principal Trumpet.

Gwyn has recently trialled for the Principal Trumpet position with the Orchestra of the Scottish Opera and played with the Royal Liverpool Philarmonic. Over the past two years he has performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Welsh National Opera, Sinfonia Cymru and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra.

Aside from orchestral playing, Gwyn is often in demand as a recital soloist, and has won Brass Solo competitions on several occasions at the National Eisteddfod of Wales – in 2016 he was awarded the Blue Riband Instrumental Scholarship Prize for the best instrumentalist in all competitions.

Gwyn was the recipient of the first Mishcon de Reya Scholarship to the Academy to support his postgraduate study. He is also grateful to the James Pantyfedwen Foundation, Craxton Memorial Trust and The Countess of Munster Trust (Derek Butler Award) for financial assistance throughout the course.

Gwyn’s place in Southbank Sinfonia is generously supported by the Humphrey Richardson Taylor Charitable Trust.

Waterloo Festival: Immersion
One of my most eagerly anticipated concerts this year is Bruckner 4 in June. Being a brass player, Bruckner is always an attraction given the almost leviathan scope of the music, heavy orchestral scoring and some great writing for trumpets and horns. Beyond this ‘symphonic cathedral’ of sound however, there’s always a deeper context in each of his symphonies – here is an epic musical rendering of nature in the composer’s eyes, with hunting horns, birdsong and sounds of the forest all woven into the story. We are always told as a brass section to imitate the sounds of an organ whenever performing his music, as he would have conceived many of these orchestral textures from his position as organist at the Old Cathedral in Linz, Austria. Having seen it myself, it’s very much like the music itself: grand in every way!

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What do you love about classical music?
No matter how old or how new any particular piece of repertoire is, be it classical or  20th Century—in fact with any style of music! – there are always different interpretations to be had from one conductor/performer/group to the next – no one performance of anything is ever the same.

What’s on your playlist right now?
Wynton Marsalis, Maurice Andre, Philip Cobb, Reinhold Friedrich, Hans Zimmer, Mahler 3 – Claudio Abbado & Berlin Phil, Stockholm Brass Quintet, The John Wilson Orchestra, Snarky Puppy, Voces8…

What do you do with your time when you’re not playing music?
I enjoy running and I’m an avid supporter of Liverpool FC!

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us
My first language is Welsh.

Twitter - @GwynOwen1 

Gwyn tells us how he felt after listening to his first ever symphony…

Meet the rest of the orchestra