Concerts » Kevin Bowyer, Great Britain

Kevin Bowyer

Kevin Bowyer was born in Southend-on-Sea in January 1961 and studied with Christopher Bowers-Broadbent, Virginia Black, and David Sanger. He won first prizes in five international organ competitions: St Albans in 1983, and Paisley, Odense, Dublin, Calgary, all in 1990. He acquired a reputation early in his career for playing “impossible” music, most notably that of Kaikhosru Sorabji, whose two-hour Organ Symphony [No. 1] (1923/4) he premiered in London in 1987. He performed the composer’s eight-hour Second Symphony for Organ (1929-32) at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie in 2019.

Kevin Bowyer’s recording career began early and has run to over 100 solo CDs, embracing music by J S Bach, Brahms, Alain, Schumann, Reubke, Alkan, Glass, Pärt, Rautavaara, Ferneyhough, Graham, Iliff, Maxwell Davies, Mellers, Schoenberg, Hindemith, Gibbs, Law, Neilsen, Messiaen, Camilleri, Gubaidulina, Williamson, Harvey, Ridout, Swayne, Berveiller, Leidel, Sherwood, and many more.

Solo concerts took him throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. He has been well-known as a teacher, serving for nine years as Senior Lecturer in Organ at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music, and appearing at numerous summer schools and organ courses.

The recently published third volume of Jon Laukvik’s Historical Performance Practice in Organ Playing: Modern and Contemporary Music (Carus 60.011) contains two extensive chapters by Bowyer – one on British music, the other on North American repertoire.

In 2022 he was awarded the Medal of the Royal College of Organists, the institution’s highest honour, and in 2023, the “Lifetime Award” of the German Record Critics – the “Ehrenpreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik”.

He has been Organist to the University of Glasgow since 2005 and is the author of seven volumes of fiction.