Back to top      

Professor Colin Lawson

CBE, MA(Oxon), MA, PhD, DMus, FRCM, FRNCM, FLCM, HonRAM

Colin Lawson is Director of the Royal College of Music.  

He has an international profile as a period clarinettist and has played principal clarinet 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 worldwide.

Described 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.  His recording of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet with members of The Revolutionary Drawing Room reached the top 20 in the Classical Charts during 2012.  In 2015 he released a recording of Mozart’s Divertimenti, Arias and Nocturnes, in collaboration with students and colleagues from the Royal College of Music. Colin has published widely on historical performance practice and the history of the clarinet, 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 co-authored an introductory volume and written a book on the early clarinet.  He is also editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra (2003) and co-editor of the Cambridge History of Musical Performance (2012).   

Faculties / departments: Directorate, Historical Performance, Research

Research

Latest Publications

Lawson, C. (2017) Clarinet charms [review of Philipp Jakob Riotte, Clarinet Concerto in C minor, op.36, ed. Martin Harlow]. Early Music, 45 (3). pp. 480-481. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Lawson, C. (2017) Book review: 'Composers' intentions?: lost traditions of musical performance' by Andrew Parrott. Performance Practice Review, 21 (1). ISSN 1044-1638 (print) 2166-8205 (online)

Lawson, C. (2016) Reminiscences of Christopher Hogwood. Early Music, 44 (1). pp. 3-5. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Lawson, C. (2015) Exploring Bach’s contemporaries: Fasch and Graupner [recording review]. Early Music, 43 (1). pp. 179-182. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Lawson, C. (2014) "The Notation Is Not the Music: Reflections on Early Music Practice and Performance" by Barthold Kuijken. Performance Practice Review, 18 (1). ISSN 2166-8205

Lawson, C. (2013) Historical accuracy versus practical expediency: early instruments in the digital age. Early Music, 41 (1). pp. 27-29. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Lawson, C. and Pearson, I. E. (2012) Così fan tutte und der Charakter von E-Dur: Klangfarben der Klarinette. Acta Mozartiana, 59 (1). pp. 36-44. ISSN 0001-6233

Lawson, C. (2012) A winning strike: the miracle of Mozart's 'Kegelstatt'. In: Mozart's Chamber Music with Keyboard. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 123-137. ISBN 9781107002487 (hardback) 9781107534285 (paperback) 9781139368582 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (2012) Case study: Mozart, Symphonies in E flat major K543, G minor K550 and C major K551. In: The Cambridge history of musical performance. The Cambridge history of music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 552-574. ISBN 9780521896115 (hardback) 9781316183229 (e-book)

Lawson, C. and Stowell, R. (2012) The future? In: The Cambridge history of musical performance. The Cambridge history of music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 815-833. ISBN 9780521896115 (hardback) 9781316183229 (e-book)

Loges, N. and Lawson, C. (2012) The teaching of performance. In: The Cambridge history of musical performance. The Cambridge History of Music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 135-168. ISBN 9780521896115 (hardback) 9781316183229 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (2012) Book review: 'Classical and Romantic music: the library of essays on music performance practice' edited by David Milsom. Performance Practice Review, 17 (1). pp. 37-40. ISSN 1044-1638 (print) 2166-8205 (online)

Lawson, C. (2011) The British clarinet school: legacy and legend. In: International Symposium on Performance Science 2011, 24-27 August 2011, Canada.

Lawson, C. and Tibbles, J. (2009) The art and science of historical performance. In: International Symposium on Performance Science 2009, 15-18 December 2009, New Zealand.

Lawson, C. (2009) Recreating history: a clarinettist's retrospective. In: The Cambridge Companion to Recorded Music. Cambridge Companions to Music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 263-266. ISBN 9780521865821 (hardback) 9780521684613 (paperback) 9781139798372 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (2009) Book review: the Cambridge Mozart encyclopaedia, edited by Cliff Eisen and Simon P. Keefe. Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 32 (1). pp. 128-131. ISSN 1754-0194 (print) 1754-0208 (online)

Lawson, C. (2008) "Attractively packaged but unripe fruit": the UK's commercialization of musical history in the 1980s. Performance Practice Review, 13 (1). ISSN 1044-1638 (print) 2166-8205 (online)

Lawson, C. (2008) Book review: 'The Clarinet' by Eric Hoeprich. Performance Practice Review, 13 (1). pp. 1-5. ISSN 1044-1638 (print) 2166-8205 (online)

Lawson, C. (2007) Practising research – researching practice. Tijdschrift voor Muziektheorie/Dutch Journal of Music Theory, 12 (1). pp. 58-65. ISSN 1385-3066

Lawson, C. (2005) The early clarinet: historical icon or postmodern invention? In: The versatile clarinet. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 5-14. ISBN 9780415973175 (hardback) 9781138986701 (paperback) 9780203958728 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (2005) Book review: 'The birth of the orchestra: history of an institution, 1650–1815' by John Spitzer and Neal Zaslaw. Music & Letters, 86 (4). pp. 629-633. ISSN 0027-4224 (print) 1477-4631 (online)

Lawson, C. (2005) Book review: 'The clarinet in the classical period' by Albert R. Rice. Music & Letters, 86 (2). pp. 290-293. ISSN 0027-4224 (print) 1477-4631 (online)

Lawson, C. and Stowell, R. (2005) La interpretación histórica de la música [The historical performance of music]. Alianza música, 97 . Alianza Editorial, Madrid. ISBN 978-84-206-8207-5

Lawson, C. (2003) The string quartet as a foundation for larger ensembles. In: The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet. Cambridge Companions to Music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 310-327. ISBN 9780521801942 (hardback) 9780521000420 (paperback) 9780511074790 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (2003) The revival of historical instruments. In: The Cambridge companion to the orchestra. Cambridge companions to music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 155-168. ISBN 9780521806589 (hardback) 9780521001328 (paperback) 9781139002066 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (2002) Performing through history. In: Musical Performance: A Guide to Understanding. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 3-16. ISBN 9780521783002 (hardback) 9780521788625 (paperback) 9780511074691 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (2002) Wind instruments. In: A performer's guide to music of the Classical period. Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, London, pp. 65-74. ISBN 978-1860961939 (paperback)

Lawson, C. (2001) Die C-Klarinette [The clarinet in C]. Rohrblatt, 16 (3). pp. 116-118. ISSN 0944-0291

Lawson, C. (2001) Playing early clarinets: the lure of history and the myth of authenticity. Musical Performance: An International Journal, 3 (1). pp. 23-29. ISSN 1026-2687

Lawson, C. (2000) The early clarinet: a practical guide. Cambridge handbooks to the historical performance of music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9780521624596 (hardback) 9780521624664 (paperback) 9780511059780 (e-book)

Lawson, C. and Stowell, R. (1999) The historical performance of music: an introduction. Cambridge handbooks to the historical performance of music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9780521621939 (hardback) 9780521627382 (paperback) 9780511481710 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (1998) Brahms: Clarinet Quintet. Cambridge music handbooks . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9780521581936 (hardback) 9780521588317 (paperback)

Lawson, C. (1996) Mozart: Clarinet Concerto. Cambridge music handbooks . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 9780521473842 (hardback) 9780521479295 (paperback) 9781139166737 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (1995) Playing historical clarinets. In: The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet. Cambridge Companions to Music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 134-149. ISBN 9780521476683 (paperback) 9781139796620 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (1995) Single reeds before 1750. In: The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet. Cambridge Companions to Music . Cambride University Press, Cambridge, pp. 1-15. ISBN 9780521476683 (paperback) 9781139796620 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (1995) The clarinet family: introduction - clarinets in B♭ and A. In: The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet. Cambridge Companions to Music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 33-38. ISBN 9780521476683 (paperback) 9781139796620 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (1995) The clarinet family: the C clarinet. In: The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet. Cambridge Companions to Music . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 40-42. ISBN 9780521476683 (paperback) 9781139796620 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (1995) The early clarinet in theory and practice. Leading Notes: Journal of the National Early Music Association, 10. pp. 6-9.

Lawson, C. (1994) Beethoven and the development of wind instruments. In: Performing Beethoven. Cambridge Studies in Performance Practice (4). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 70-88. ISBN 0521416442 (hardback) 9780521023740 (paperback)

Lawson, C. (1993) Book review: 'The Baroque clarinet' by Albert Rice. Music & Letters, 74 (1). pp. 73-75. ISSN 0027-4224 (print) 1477-4631 (online)

Lawson, C. (1992) The chalumeau in the works of Fux. In: Johann Joseph Fux and the Music of the Austro-Italian Baroque. Routledge, London, pp. 78-94. ISBN 9780859678322 (hardback) 9781138260498 (paperback) 9781315092287 (e-book)

Lawson, C. (1989) Single-reed instruments in the music of Vivaldi. Chigiana: Rassegna annuale di studi musicologici, 41 (21). pp. 185-196. ISSN 0069-3391

Lawson, C. (1987) The basset clarinet revived. Early Music, 15 (4). pp. 487-502. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Rice, A. R. and Lawson, C. (1986) The clarinet and chalumeau revisited. Early Music, 14 (4). pp. 552-556. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Lawson, C. (1983) The authentic clarinet: tone and tonality. The Musical Times, 124 (1684). pp. 357-358. ISSN 0027-4666 (print) 2397-5318 (online)

Lawson, C. (1983) J.C. Graupner: Bach's rival for the Thomaskantorat. The Musical Times, 124 (1679). pp. 17-19. ISSN 0027-4666 (print) 2397-5318 (online)

Lawson, C. (1981) Telemann and the chalumeau. Early Music, 9 (3). pp. 312-319. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Hoeprich, T. E. and Lawson, C. (1980) Chalumeau and clarinet. Early Music, 8 (3). pp. 366-368. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Lawson, C. (1980) Das Chalumeau-Repertoire: ein kurzer Uberblick [The chalumeau repertoire: a brief overview]. Tibia: Magazin für Freunde alter und neuer Bläsermusik, 5 (1). pp. 18-21.

Lawson, C. (1979) The chalumeau: independent voice or poor relation? Early Music, 7 (3). pp. 351-354. ISSN 0306-1078 (print) 1741-7260 (online)

Lawson, C. (1974) The early chalumeau duets. The Galpin Society Journal, 27. pp. 125-129. ISSN 0072-0127

Contact

For enquires please contact:

Research Enquiries

research@rcm.ac.uk