John Hawkins studied composition with Malcolm Williamson and Elisabeth Lutyens. His ‘Sea Symphony’ was broadcast by both the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Scottish. The cantata ‘This World’, one of several works based on William Blake, was broadcast by the BBC Singers. Among many pieces for viola are ‘Urizen’ (with piano or string orchestra); ‘Gestures’ and ‘At Two’ for two violas and ‘Crossings’ for viola and guitar. A song cycle on words by Edward Thomas is scored for voice with flute, viola and harp.
His flute sonata ‘Sonata Serenata’ was performed recently at St Martin-in-the-Fields and at the Presteigne Festival.
Recordings include a CD on the Meridian label of the orchestral song cycle ‘Voices from the Sea’ and a CD of all John Hawkins’ music for clarinet was released in 2020 by Claudio Records: it includes the ‘Concerto for Clarinet and Strings’, ‘Simplicius Simplicissimus’ (clarinet and strings), a setting of Edward Lear’s ‘The Dong with a Luminous Nose’ (voice and solo clarinet), a ‘Clarinet Sonata’ and the trio ‘In Touch’ (clarinet, cello and piano).
Lockdown in 2021 produced a flurry of short pieces for various instruments while performances included ‘BoBop’ for solo violin, ‘Looking Back’, ‘Nocturne and Cortège’ for violin and piano and ‘Marcel Morceaux’ for piano.
‘Romantique’ is a short piece (about 4 minutes) originally written for flute, viola and piano and first performed in 2018. Re-scoring for harp involves much rethinking and this version with harp was not made until 2020. As the title suggests, it is both romantic and slightly backward-looking!