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Roderick Elms (Piano, Organ, Celesta, Composer, Arranger)

Born: October 18, 1951 - Tilford (London), England

The English pianist, organist, celesta-player and composer, Roderick James Charles Elms, studied at the Guildhall School of Music (graduating in 1965), and at the Royal Academy of Music (graduating in 1970), which has awarded him the honorary distinction of Associateship in recognition of his contribution to the music profession. In 1974 he became Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

Roderick Elms appears in concerts, recordings and broadcasts (Radio and Television) with most of Britainís major orchestras, both as a principal keyboard player and soloist. He made his debut at Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in 1976. He was a member of GNAFF Ensemble, with which made successful Television debut in December 1982. He is one of Englandís foremost orchestral keyboard players (on organ and piano) who has acquired a considerable reputation for his versatility. For more than twenty years he has played extensively with the major symphony orchestras in London. He has appeared in concerts and recordings both as a principal keyboard player and as soloist. Since 1980, he been a frequent guest of the BBC Concert Orchestra whose regular weekly broadcast of Friday Night is Music Night has become something of a British institution. He makes regular solo and concerto broadcasts for the BBC which frequently reflect his keen interest in the lesser-known repertoire of British composers.

As well as giving concerts throughout the UK, Roderick Elms travels widely and foreign tours have taken him round most of Europe as well as to South Africa, the USA, Israel, the Far East and, most recently, Canada where he gave concerto performances with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey. Very much in demand as a chamber musician, he is the official pianist for the BBC Radio 2 Young Musician Competition and, since 1986, he has worked regularly as pianist to Ďcellist, Mstislav Rostropovich.

His solo recordings include Frank Martinís Ballade for Piano and Orchestra for Chandos (London Philharmonic Orchestra/Matthias Bamert), music for piano and orchestra by Richard Addinsell for Marco Polo (BBC Concert Orchestra/Alwyn) and The Carnival of the Animals for Tring with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London as well as numerous other solo recordings with both the London Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra. Recordings as organist include an album of music by the English organist and composer Percy Whitlock for Libra and, with the London Symphony Orchestra, an extensive list for EMI and Chandos that includes all the major oratorios of Edward Elgar and the award winning recording of Benjamin Brittenís War Requiem (London Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox). His solo recordings with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra include also Hubert Bathís Cornish Rhapsody, the Spellbound Concerto and Warsaw Concerto and de Fallaís Nights in the Gardens of Spain. Other recordings include The Dream of Olwen and other music of Charles Williams with the BBC Concert Orchestra on the Marco Polo label. Solo piano album was published by Weinberger, London.

In lighter vein, Roderick Elms has made contributions to albums by José Carreras (Pure Passion) and Tony Henry (Modern Arias). He spends much of his time in the recording studio recording music for television and the cinema. Film scores with which he has been closely involved include (for James Horner) Aliens, Land before Time, An American Tale, (for Howard Shore) Philadelphia, Nobodyís Fool, Copland and the highly acclaimed Ed Wood as well as (for George Fenton) Dangerous Liaisons, Shadowlands, and the epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He recorded all the solo organ music for the Al Pacino film Looking for Richard. He caused something of a stir in the 2003 Proms when, with friend and colleague Alistair Young, he appeared on live television for the solo piano duet part of Malcolm Arnoldís The Belles of St Trinianís, dressed in schoolboy uniform, complete with cap and catapult!

Roderick Elms has written numerous arrangements and original compositions performed and broadcast by BBC;

Roderick Elms has had a lifelong passion for writing and his compositions feature regularly in concerts, church services and broadcasts. He is Composer in Association to the Elgar Chamber Orchestra and his compositions, which range in diversity from solo instrumental music to symphonic compositions, are now heard across the UK, the USA and Canada performed by such orchestras as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Scottish National, Ulster Symphony and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Several Christmas arrangements were recorded on Christmas Gift; Original Music to Love is a Gift recorded on Just For Today.

In addition to his Christmas and festive pieces, his other compositions are regularly broadcast by the BBC and Classic FM and much of his instrumental music has been recorded by the RPO for the Dutton label under the title A Little Fall-ish! This CD includes his popular Concertino for Celeste, Four Seasonal Nocturnes for horn (with Martin Owen as soloist), Cygncopations for cor anglais (with Victoria Walpole) and the Pæan for organ and strings (with organist, Stuart Nicholson). Most recently, two sets of Christmas Carol arrangements for choir, solo flute and keyboard (or small orchestra) have been published by Camden Music. Music for solo piano includes a set of Twelve Astrological Preludes, one for each of the twelve major keys - each prelude alluding to certain character traits traditionally associated with that sign. Other chamber pieces include Burlesca for two horns and piano, and the quirky Funky Fugato for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and piano. His output also includes choral music for church use and includes the popular anthem The Lord is my Strength and Song, a setting of Psalm 118, and a set of Preces and Responses.

Honours: Kate-Steele Prize for piano playing, Royal Academy of Music, 1973; Fellow, Royal Society of Arts, 1979. Memberships: Royal Academy of Music Club, Royal College of Organists. Hobbies: Sound Recording; Photography.

Source: Camden Music - London Website; Naxos Website; International Who's Who in Music & Musicians' Directory (13th Edition, 1992/93)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (November 2010)

Roderick Elms: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works | Arrangements/Transcriptions: Works | Recordings

Links to other Sites

Masterkeyboards (Official Website)
Roderick Elms - Biography (Naxos)

Biography - Roderick Elms (Camden Music - London)

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