Photo Andrew Pennill LRPS

Our Conductor... Derek Williams

Derek Williams grew up in Nottingham surrounded by family music-making, playing string quartets from the age of 7 and subsequently studying in Birmingham with Ernest Element, a pupil of Carl Flesch.

After performances of concertos by Sibelius, Elgar, Bruch, Beethoven and Barber, Derek developed an interest in conducting and while working in Bedford, formed the Bedford Festival Orchestra and Festival Opera.

Since 1983, he has been Music Director of Nottingham Symphony and went on to co-found the Nottingham Youth Orchestra, with whom he commissioned several works including a Jazz Violin Concerto from Sir John Dankworth. With NYO he toured Europe and the USA annually with great success until his retirement from NYO in 2013, since when on-going projects include acting as Artistic Advisor to Russia Music House, created to organise cultural and musical exchanges between Britain and Russia.

Derek's reputation as a fine orchestral accompanist has led to requests from Nicola Benedetti and Guy Johnston to work with him in preparation for performances in the London Concert Halls. Other requests have led to innovative Rush-hour concerts in 2015.

Derek's empathic approach and gentle encouragement of young people has inspired many to become professional musicians and he continues to teach and in particular to enable youngsters to share his life-long passion for chamber music.