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“In everything he played, Bowes revealed an exacting and deeply felt musicianship.”
“The playing was superb: brilliant, authoritative, free, passionate, totally committed, and powerfully projected. Bowes' tone is intense, variable and pure; his identification with every style was complete,…”
The product of many years of steady growth, the playing of Thomas Bowes is now fast gaining international recognition. Not a child prodigy, or an early developer, Bowes has spent many years developing an unusually deep and expressive musical personality.
In concerto repertoire Bowes has featured British composers. He has played the Elgar Concerto in the USA and Germany as well as in the UK, most recently with the Hallé and Mark Elder. With the Britten Concerto he made a dramatic German debut with the Bremen Philharmonic and Sian Edwards in 2003. Bowes also has a deep knowledge of that other glory of the English Violin Concerto, that by Walton. In 2004, he spent 3 weeks at the invitation of Lady Walton studying the work at the composer’s home on Ischia. Performing it in Oxford in 2005 in collaboration with the late Vernon Handley, Nicola Lisle in the Oxford Times wrote,
“First up was Walton’s highly passionate Violin Concerto, handled with immense skill by Thomas Bowes…The result is an extraordinary fusion of the player and the music, in which Bowes seems to engage totally with the composer’s emotions and intentions…And all this was combined with Bowes’s own musicianship, technical mastery and tonal purity to produce a performance of rare quality.”
Bowes has excelled with the sensual and still little played Szymanowski concertos, making a specially recorded broadcast of No.2 for the 1998 BBC Proms season with the Ulster Orchestra and Takou Yuasa. Future plans include the concertos of Bartók and Schoenberg.
Bowes is an enthusiastic champion of contemporary music and made his debut with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the world premiere of John Metcalf’s concerto “Paradise Haunts…”. He has recorded the work for the Signum Classics label with the BBC NOW and Grant Llewellyn. In 2001 he premiered the concerto of Eleanor Alberga with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Joseph Swensen to a flourish of rave reviews. The work was an SCO commission. Plans for a second Alberga concerto are taking shape.
Born in Hertfordshire and graduating from the masterclass of Bela Katona at Trinity College of Music in 1982, Bowes joined the London Philharmonic in 1985 and a year later the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. In 1987 he gave his London recital debut and between 1988 and 1992 was the founding leader of the Maggini String Quartet. In 1989 he was invited to become the leader of the London Mozart Players, London’s oldest established chamber orchestra, making his BBC Proms debut with them and Jane Glover in 1991. Still in great demand as a guest leader, Bowes has led many of the UK’s finest orchestras – LSO, Philharmonia, RPO, London Sinfonietta, SCO, BBC Symphony Orchestra, CBSO, and in France, L’Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse.
Bowes has also concertmastered many film scores, working closely with many of the most eminent film composers.
But it is as a solo artist, both as recitalist and concerto player, that he has made the greatest impression since 1993. Forming, in 1995, the duo “Double Exposure” with his wife, the composer and pianist Eleanor Alberga, the Duo toured regularly and extensively in the USA until 2000. They made a ground breaking trip to five Chinese cities in 1997 as well as broadcasting and concertising in the UK. The repertoire was adventurous and featured commissions and first performances from Alberga herself as well as a host of US and UK composers. A New York recital at Carnegie in 2000 was extensively and tellingly reviewed by the distinguished writer Paul Griffiths in the New York Times.
In 2003 Bowes became the Artistic Director of the annual "Langvad Chamber Music Jamboree” chamber music festival in northern Denmark and more recently with Eleanor Alberga founded the festival Arcadia in north Herefordshire.
He plays a 1659 Nicolo Amati.
Tom welcomes questions or comments on his career to date.
You can contact him at: Tom@ThomasBowes.com