Since graduating from the Royal College of Music in 2015, composer Dani Howard has quickly gained recognition for her works, picking up prestigious accolades including Royal Philharmonic Society’s (RPS) Composition Prize and performing regularly in the US, Asia and across Europe.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, she moved to London in 2011 to study and has since worked with ensembles including California’s Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, London City Orchestra and Sheffield’s Ensemble 360.
She’s fast made a name for herself as an exciting young composer, and has already received plays on BBC Radio 3, ClassicFM and BBC Channel 4.
Last year, she was commissioned by the RPS and Classic FM to write a work for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The piece will be premiered on 3 April at the Royal Albert Hall as part of Classic FM’s Best of British event.
Ahead of her Royal Albert Hall debut, we catch up for a round of 30 seconds to find out what makes her tick…
What was the first song you developed an obsession for?
Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire (!)
What’s the first gig you went to?
An orchestral concert given by the Hong Kong SAR Philharmonic.
What’s the first instrument you ever got hold of?
Drum Kit at age five.
What is your worst musical habit?
Listening to music far too loudly on headphones.
What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve ever been given?
Listen to everything from start to finish without judgement first, before making your decision about how you feel about it.
Where do you discover new music?
Spotify/Google! I tend to go down a musical rabbit hole whereby you hear one artist, which leads you to a series of others (either on related artists on Spotify, or from researching the repertoire from various new music ensembles).
What’s your favourite venue?
To date, I’ve enjoyed working most in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
Who is your current favourite band/artist?
I am really enjoying the music of Nico Muhly these days – his range of works is within different genres, yet always sounds like his music.
What inspirations outside of music impact your songwriting?
Travelling. Every time I visit somewhere new, I have a new idea/concept for a piece.
What track of yours best represents your sound?
That is a hard question… but probably a piano trio called Ostara (commissioned by the RPS). This piece ranges from both serious to extremely playful and quirky.
What’s next for you?
Alongside a series of commissions I have in 2018 with chamber groups/orchestras and choirs, I hope to focus more on working with contemporary dancers and filmmakers to produce visuals to my works.
03 April – Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Albert Hall, London
12 April – Album Launch XXIV Fantasie per il Flauto, St. John’s Smith Square, London
17 May – Psappha Contemporary Music Group, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester
June – Kirsty Loosemore Trumpet Recital, Royal College of Music, London