Professor Colin Lawson

Professor Colin Lawson is Director of the Royal College of Music, London.  He studied music at Oxford University and was subsequently awarded a Masters degree at Birmingham University for his work on the eighteenth-century clarinet.  He taught at Aberdeen, Sheffield and London Universities before moving to Thames Valley University as Pro Vice-Chancellor (2001-5).  At TVU he was Dean of an Arts Faculty that contained some 8,000 students, with a curriculum ranging over a wide creative and technological spectrum.

Colin has an international profile as a period clarinettist, and has played principal in most of Britain’s leading period orchestras, notably the Hanover Band, the English Concert and the London Classical Players, with whom he has recorded extensively and toured worldwide. Described recently as ‘a brilliant, absolutely world-class player’ (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) and ‘the doyen of period clarinettists’ (BBC Music Magazine), he has appeared as soloist in many international venues, including London’s major concert halls and New York’s Lincoln Centre and Carnegie Hall. 

His discography comprises concertos by Fasch, Hook, Mahon, Mozart, Spohr, Telemann, Vivaldi and Weber, as well as a considerable variety of chamber music. Among his most recent recordings is a highly-acclaimed disc of basset horn trios by Mozart and Stadler, and a recital disc entitled 100 Years of the Simple-System Clarinet.

Colin has published widely, especially for Cambridge University Press. He is author of Cambridge Handbooks to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet. He is co-editor of a series of Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music, for which he has co-authored an introductory volume (1999) and a book on the early clarinet (2000).

 Related Sessions

Saturday, 1.30pm Seminar Space
Turn that racket off!

Saturday, 6.00pm Royal College of Music
Battle of Ideas 2007 festival reception

Sunday, 4.00pm Student Union
What does music mean?


The Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 2003)
The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet (ed.) (Cambridge University Press, 1995)

 Festival Buzz

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'Turn That Racket Off' [Opens in new window]

"The 2006 Battle of Ideas did what it said on the tin: prejudices were punctured, common wisdom was questioned and original thinking honoured. The saying was coined in Texas, but I suggest that the Battle of Ideas adopts it as the conference motto: ‘sacred cows make the best burgers."
George Brock, Saturday Editor, The Times