Robert has been composing since childhood, and has accepted commissions from ensembles, orchestras and choirs - amateur, semi-professional and professional. His pieces, now totalling over 150, have enjoyed over 300 performances across the UK and as far afield as Denmark, Germany, Colombia, USA and Australia. Published via Sheet Music Plus.
The year 2020 marked three decades since Robert Howard began his composing career. As a pupil at Prescot School, in 1990, he wrote his first piece, Waltz in D, for piano.
Since that time, his compositions have racked up more than 300 live performances worldwide.
Despite the challenge of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, it has been a successful year for Robert. Over 130 of his pieces are now available for printing and download via Sheet Music Plus, and more flexibly scored pieces have been published digitally by CoMA – Contemporary Music Making for All.
Nor has Covid-19 prevented public performances and even premieres. Rotations (2009) was performed by Stephen Mannings in March this year, and David Kernick sang the first performance of God So Loved the World in November, with the composer at the piano. Several performances of Rob’s Christmas carols are planned for December at Prescot Parish Church.
He has continued to compose, with Tantara, for solo trombone, among this year’s output; and he has revised and arranged several of his earlier compositions, many of which you can now hear or see in the Compositions section of this website.
And, in a final piece of good news, the Board of British Mensa recently announced they were to award Robert a Certificate of Appreciation for Services to Classical Music.
A new piece of sacred music by Robert Howard has its premiere at Prescot Parish Church this Sunday, 1 November.
God So Loved the World, a new setting of words from John Stainer’s cantata The Crucifixion, was composed earlier in the year, with a view to a premiere on Good Friday. With church worship and live music suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, the performance was postponed indefinitely.
Now, for the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls, tenor David Kernick will sing the piece, with the composer at the piano, at the close of Sunday 1 November’s Eucharist at Prescot Parish Church.
The service starts at 10am, and all are welcome. You are asked to book ahead and observe social distancing and other measures while inside. All details are online at prescotparish.org.uk.
Robert’s compositions continue to find a way of being heard, even in these unusual times.
The Liverpool Cathedral-based community choir Liverpool64 sang the moving 2017 anthem Alleluia in early April. Singers rehearsed together online and recorded their individual performances at home, before director Stephen Mannings edited the final piece – a great technological accomplishment as well as a musical one.
The recording was used again by Prescot Parish Church for their Easter Day service, published to both Facebook and their website, prescotparish.org.uk.
Tenor David Kernick had planned to give the premiere Robert’s God So Loved the World on Good Friday, during the Second Hour at Prescot Parish Church. In it Robert follows in the footsteps of other composers – most famously John Stainer, who used the same biblical text (John 3.16-17) in his 1887 oratorio The Crucifixion. Circumstances delayed the performance, but David nevertheless was able to introduce Prescot Parish Church Choir to the beautiful new setting as part of a an online tutorial.
Scores from Robert’s vast catalogue of compositions are still being added to Sheet Music Plus. Musicians finding the coronavirus restrictions a struggle may enjoy downloading and learning one of the dozens of instrumental solos, piano pieces, and chamber and choral works now available.