Ian Watt / guitar
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, guitarist Ian Watt has appeared throughout the world, giving concerts in the USA, China, Brazil, Spain, Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine, Denmark, Holland and Estonia, and performing concertos with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra. His playing has been broadcast on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio Scotland, Classic FM, NDR Radio (Germany) and WSMC Radio (USA).
In the field of contemporary music, Watt has worked extensively with John McLeod, premiering all of the composer’s guitar works and making the premiere recording of Fantasy on themes from Britten’s Gloriana to mark the Britten Centenary in 2013. Watt was also the first to make a commercial recording of Dreammusic, a piece by one of Scotland’s greatest 20th century composers, Thomas Wilson. More recently, he recorded an album of solo guitar works by the contemporary British composer Paul Coles for Nimbus Alliance records, with whom he has released two other solo albums, Invocación – Impressions of Spain (2011) and Britten, Walton, McLeod, Wilson and Dowland (2013).
Increasingly in demand as a teacher, Watt has been a lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland since 2013 and given masterclasses in China, Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Having studied with Allan Neave at both Aberdeen City Music School and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly the RSAMD), his awards and prizes include 1st prize (in addition to both the audience and junior jury prizes) at the Heinsberg International Guitar Competition 2011, 1st prize at the ‘Westfalian Guitar Spring’ International Competition 2010, 2nd prize at the Parkening International Guitar Competition 2009 and 2nd prize at the Vienna International Guitar Competition ‘Homage to Karl Scheit’ 2010.
‘…in a field of ever-increasing size, this disc is outstanding.’ – Zane Turner, Music Web International, 2012
‘Ian Watt uses all the right punctuations in all the right places, making the musical construct a stellar example of his ardour, his genius and his excellence.’ – Christie Grimstad, ConcertoNet.com, 2012
‘…possessed a musicality and charisma – a temperament, even – that allows one to transcend the bonds of an instrumental community’ – Soundboard (U.S.A), 2009
‘Time stopped in this interpretation and the concentration of young Ian Watt’s guitar playing acted like a zoom lens on pain and reflection.’ – The Herald (Scotland), 2009
‘…an eighteen year old phenom.’ – Soundboard (U.S.A.), 2009
‘…astoundingly atmospheric playing in Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez…’ – The Herald (Scotland), 2008
‘Flawless, passionate and driven…’ – Aberdeen Press and Journal (Scotland), 2006
Competitions and prizes
Heinsberg International Guitar Competition, 2011 (Germany)
Westfalian International Guitar Competition, 2010 (Germany)
Parkening International Guitar Competition, 2009 (USA)
Karl Scheit International Guitar Competition, 2010 (Austria)
Koblenz International Guitar Competition, 2011 (Germany)
Musician’s Benevolent Fund Ian Fleming Award, 2012
ABRSM Silver Bursary, 2008
Aberdeen Young Musician of the Year, 2006
Runner-up: BBC, Classical Star, 2007
John McLeod’s Guitar Concerto in Edinburgh, 2010
John McLeod’s Three Impromptus, Brighton, 2012
John McLeod’s Fantasy on themes from Britten’s Gloriana, Hungary, 2012
Rory Boyle’s Partita a Quattro, Glasgow, 2010
Premiered various works at Sound Festival and Plug Festival, Scotland
On Britten, Walton, McLeod, Wilson and Dowland (2013, Nimbus, NI 6226)
‘Watt’s exceptional range of timbre is especially apparent in John McLeod’s Fantasy on themes from Britten’s Gloriana, while the opening of [Britten’s] Nocturnal is sublime…a thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable disc’ – BBC Music Magazine, October 2013.
‘…Watt is on outstanding form…a superb celebratory release’ – Classical Guitar Magazine’, December 2013
‘…he [Watt] sounds completely at home whatever century or style he is playing in. He is technically assured, thoughtful, unpretentious…his phrasings, colours and characterisations are a match for anyone.’ – Music Web International, 2013
‘…played with sensitivity and understanding…hauntingly performed…a strong, and superbly played, programme.’ – Albion Magazine, 2013