Colin Lawson

Professor Colin Lawson CBE - Director

Colin read music at Oxford and was subsequently awarded an MA at Birmingham University for his work on the eighteenth-century clarinet. His subsequent doctoral research into the chalumeau in eighteenth-century music (1976; published by UMI in 1981) remains the most extensive study of the instrument and its repertoire. He taught at Aberdeen, Sheffield and London Universities before moving to Thames Valley University as Pro Vice-Chancellor (2001-5). At TVU he was Dean of an arts faculty that contained some 8,000 students, with a curriculum ranging over a wide creative and technological spectrum. In July 2005 he became Director of the Royal College of Music, London, where he holds a Personal Chair in Historical Performance.

Colin has an international profile as a period clarinettist and has played principal in most of Britain's leading period orchestras, notably The Hanover Band, The English Concert and the London Classical Players, with whom he has recorded extensively and toured world-wide. Described recently as 'a brilliant, absolutely world-class player' (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) and ‘the doyen of period clarinettists’ (BBC Music Magazine), he has appeared as soloist in many international venues, including London's major concert halls and New York's Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. His discography comprises concertos by Fasch, Hook, Mahon, Mozart, Spohr, Telemann, Vivaldi and Weber, as well as a considerable variety of chamber music. Among his most recent recordings are two highly-acclaimed discs of basset horn trios by Mozart and Stadler, and a CD of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet and associated fragments which reached the top 20 in the classical charts.

Colin has published widely on historical performance practice, especially for Cambridge University Press. He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet and author of Cambridge Handbooks to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet. He is co-editor of a series of Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music, for which he has co-authored an introductory volume (1999) and a book on the early clarinet (2000). He is also editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra (2003).  Most recently he co-edited The Cambridge History of Musical Performance, which appeared in February, 2012.

Colin holds an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Sheffield. He was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016 for services to music and music education.

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Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS. Tel: +44(0)20 7591 4300 Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS.
Tel: +44(0)20 7591 4300
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