Charles Hazlewood

  • World-Renowned Conductor
  • Founder of World’s First Hybrid Pop/Classical Music Festival
  • Musical Pioneer

Charles Hazlewood is more than a conductor. He is a man with a mission to make the world a better place through music.

Hazlewood has re-invented and revived orchestra music in new venues and to new audiences all over the world, spurred on by his experience of the transformative power of music. His opera company of untrained singers from the poorest South African townships was scorned at the time, but went on to win international awards.

His refreshingly open-hearted presentation of the works of great composers has won him many fans on British television. He has collaborated with some of the best musicians in the popular music world, including Wyclef Jean and Coldplay, bringing to a whole new generation an appreciation of the visceral power of the orchestra.

 
  

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Rave Reviews About Charles Hazlewood
A revelation - The Times "Acid Hot" - The Observer "As brilliant as Bernstein" - TED Global "Passionate, larger than life maestro from across the pond…looking like Jude Law out on a Saturday night.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Charles Hazlewood
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When the Brass Won’t Play: How to Get the Best Out of the Team

I remember going to see an orchestral performance. I had never been to a classical concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the co-ordination and the teamwork — one starts and one stops, just fantastic. So I spoke to my players about the orchestra — how they are the ...

"I remember going to see an orchestral performance. I had never been to a classical concert in my life. But I am watching this and thinking about the co-ordination and the teamwork — one starts and one stops, just fantastic. So I spoke to my players about the orchestra — how they are the perfect team."     -Sir Alex Ferguson - manager of Manchester United Football Team

Hazlewood describes the challenge of creating this perfect team. With humorous anecdotes from his own career conducting orchestras around the world, (including hostile jokes from notoriously reluctant brass sections), Hazlewood illustrates one of his key themes, trust. Trusting oneself, delivering a strong and clear framework whilst creating a trusting environment in which each player is enabled to shine, whilst ‘binding’ the collective to achieve the best possible performance.

This session often culminates in Hazlewood getting his audience singing in 4-part harmony.

Will They Play for Me?: Learning to lead

In this honest presentation Hazlewood shares his journey to becoming an effective leader, from musical nobody to conductor of world renown. Hazlewood draws out the key qualities he needed to find in himself in order to command an orchestra: confidence, clarity, persistence and openness, and how he ...

In this honest presentation Hazlewood shares his journey to becoming an effective leader, from musical nobody to conductor of world renown.
Hazlewood draws out the key qualities he needed to find in himself in order to command an orchestra: confidence, clarity, persistence and openness, and how he learned them. He focuses on two key experiences: his sometimes turbulent, and even dangerous, journey creating a world-class opera company from the poorest South African townships and the struggle to establish and eventually launch the world’s first paraorchestra to millions around the world at the London 2012 Paralympics.

When I walk into rehearsal with an orchestra, I have an idea of the speed I want the piece of music to go, but as we rehearse a new consensus speed emerges. This new speed has more value because it’s been collectively ‘decided’. I’m no longer afraid of being seen as lacking vision or consistency. What I now know is that success is about adapting to the context and allowing the best to surface’.

Making New Music: Fostering Leadership and Inspiring Creativity

The work of a conductor is not to march an orchestra through a replica of a well known work: to do so is but to puff air into a lifeless relic. To make a performance fly, to convince an audience, a fresh performance interpreted and ‘owned’ by the people playing the music is essential. S ...

The work of a conductor is not to march an orchestra through a replica of a well known work: to do so is but to puff air into a lifeless relic. To make a performance fly, to convince an audience, a fresh performance interpreted and ‘owned’ by the people playing the music is essential.

Sometimes there is no score and new music for a show is required. Rather than hire a composer, conductor Charles Hazlewood describes the process by which he creates new music with the talent in hand. Drawing on the qualities and experience of the individuals in a group - be these singers, actors, instrumentalists of any nationality, color or physical impairment – fresh and vital work can be created with (always) limited time resources.

This process will be playfully demonstrated with a group of locally hired singers, who, in a short time frame, will 'create' a short improvised piece.

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Biography

Since winning the European Broadcasting Union Conducting Competition in his 20’s, Charles Hazlewood has enjoyed a global and pioneering career conducting some of the world’s greatest orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, the Gothenburg Symphony in Sweden and the Philharmonia in London.

Hazlewood co-founded the award-winning South African lyric theatre company Dimpho di Kopane (London’s West End and worldwide), Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival for their movie U Carmen e-Khayelitsha.

He has launched a new breed of orchestral festival “Orchestival” in his home county of Somerset, and in 2012 founded The British Paraorchestra, the world’s first large-scale professional ensemble of virtuoso musicians with disabilities.

Hazlewood has authored, presented and conducted multiple television films on music for the BBC and Channel Four and won Sony Awards for his shows on Radio 2 and 3.

Hazlewood has conducted over 100 world premieres, worked with artists as diverse as Wyclef Jean, Professor Green, Nigel Kennedy and Steve Reich, and played the first ever symphony concert on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival.

In 2014 Charles’ re-invention of Gay’s Beggar’s Opera with his completely new score, ‘Dead Dog in a suitcase’ with the Kneehigh Theatre Company’, was named one of the top ten shows of the year by the Guardian newspaper and will tour the UK in 2015.  

Conducting highlights of 2014 and 2015 include new initiatives with the Philharmonia in London and the regions; concerts with the Swedish Radio Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony and Copenhagen Philharmonic; a tour of Holland with the Metropole Orchestra and Squarepusher; his “Close Up” concert series with Malmo Symphony and NSO Dublin; and special projects with the British Paraorchestra and at the Glastonbury Festival and Sacrum Profanum Festival in Kraków, Poland. 

Hazlewood lives in Somerset with his family.