2019 Rod Williams Memorial Concert
Friday 1 February 2019
The Royal College of Music was pleased to host the 2019 Rod Williams Memorial Concert on Thursday 31 January. The RCM Symphony Orchestra was joined by Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare for a magnificent evening of Skryabin and Richard Strauss.
The Rod Williams Memorial Concert has been an annual event at the RCM since 1996 and is generously supported by the Mills Williams Foundation. The RCM is extremely grateful for the continued support of the Foundation Trustees and welcomed a number of them to this concert.
The Mills Williams Foundation also provides an annual prestigious Junior Fellowship for a student on the RCM’s Artist Diploma Course. The current Mills Williams Junior Fellow, violist Ana Teresa de Braga e Alves, was delighted to attend the event and be presented with the Mills Williams Medal by Chairman, Nigel Woolner.
About Rod Williams (1939-1994)
The son of an Army Officer, Rodney Peter Williams was born in Singapore in November 1939. Shortly afterwards Rod’s father became a Japanese prisoner of war while his mother and her two young sons fled to Australia. Eventually the family was re-united in the UK and much of Rod’s education took place at Steyning in West Sussex. He followed his father into the Royal Engineers and once again to the Far East where he was engaged in map-making. Deciding that army life was not for him, he bought himself out, but continued as a photogrammetrist with Fairey Aviation, after which he embarked on a career in accountancy and joined Unilever.
Rod Williams and Peter Mills met in 1964 and discovered they had similar musical tastes. They both favoured ancient, Baroque and late 19th- and 20th-century English music – particularly Vaughan Williams, Butterworth and Britten. In 1975, Rod was diagnosed with cancer, which eventually went into remission. This had the remarkable effect of making him more ambitious. In 1980, inspired by watching the London Marathon on TV, he became first a jogger, then a runner and, astoundingly, a marathon runner in London in April of 1986 and again in New York in the same year.
Rod and Peter decided to make reciprocal wills dedicated to the encouragement of musical excellence. Rod passed away in 1994. Responding to his partner’s passing, Peter approached the Royal College of Music in 1995 and thus the Mills Williams Junior Fellowship was established. Sadly, Peter died in 2006 after a long battle with cancer.
Mills Williams Junior Fellows
Happily, the Mills Williams Foundation lives on with the objective of supporting music and young musicians under the guidance of his chosen trustees. To date, the following 23 Mills Williams Junior Fellows have been generously supported to establish their musical careers:
1996/97 Paul Robinson, voice
1997/98 Alexander Taylor, piano
1998/99 Sarah Thurlow, clarinet
1999/2000 Damian Thantrey, voice
2000/01 Alexandra Wood, violin
2001/02 Rachel Nicholls, voice
2002/03 Alba Ventura, piano
2003/04 Elizabeth Cooney, violin
2004/05 Ruth Palmer, violin
2005/06 Gabriella Swallow, cello
2006/07 Anna Cashell, violin
2007/08 Luis Parés, piano
2008/09 Erik Dippenaar, harpsichord
2009/10 Konstantin Lapshin, piano
2010/11 Jianing Kong, piano
2011/12 Frédérique Legrand, cello
2012/13 Yulia Deakin, piano
2013/14 Maksim Stsura, piano
2014/15 Soh-Yon Kim, violin
2015/16 Magdalena Loth-Hill, violin
2016/17 Andrew Yiangou, piano
2017/18 Jonathan Radford, saxophone
2018/19 Ana Teresa de Braga e Alves, viola