New Zealand-born trumpeter and conductor Bede Williams originally studied as an ABRSM International Scholar at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He is currently Head of Instrumental Studies at the University of St Andrews where he teaches performance and directs several ensembles, as well as serving as director of StAMP (St Andrews Music Participation) Brass, a major outreach programme to reinvigorate brass playing in schools and communities across Fife. His primary research interest is in Performance Studies, and he has contributed to numerous interdisciplinary projects in the arts and sciences.
Bede’s musical roots are in brass bands. In New Zealand, he became a member of the Hamilton Auxiliary Brass Band at age 9, before later joining the Cambridge Municipal Brass Band. He was taught by Colin Smith and won many national titles and held concurrent positions as principal trumpet of the National Youth Orchestra and principal cornet of the National Youth Brass Band of New Zealand. Before commencing study at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington, he spent a year as a member of the New Zealand Army Band. In 2003 he accepted an ABRSM International Scholarship to study trumpet at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where he also completed an undergraduate exchange at the California Institute of the Arts. In 2008 he was a member of Pierre Boulez’s Lucerne Festival Academy, and in 2009/10 held an Emergent Leaders’ Fellowship at the RCS, drawing praise from The Herald as an “incisive,” “visionary,” and “sensitive” musician. Having conducted the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, and the Auckland Philharmonia as a student, in 2011 he graduated from the RCS with a master’s in conducting. Since graduating he has attended international conducting masterclasses with Martyn Brabbins (Orkney), Christopher Seaman (Auckland), Benjamin Zander (London), Jorma Panula (Amsterdam), Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi, Leonard Grin (Estonia) and Sian Edwards (St Andrews). As a trumpeter, he has performed in masterclasses with Howard Snell, Hakan Hardenberger and Bengt Eklund among many others.