A Babe Is Born: New Arrangement Receives Premiere

Thursday 10 December saw the premiere of Robert Howard’s new arrangement of his 2002 Christmas carol ‘A Babe Is Born.’

The performance, by tenor David Kernick (pictured), with the composer at the piano, took place at St Mary’s Church, Prescot, as part of the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert.


More than 350 people attended the concert, which raised an impressive £1,053.05 for local charitable causes Willowbrook Hospice and Prescot Army Cadets. A programme of carols and popular festive tunes featured Liverpool Brass Ensemble and several local school, church and community choirs.

The annual event is organised by the Prescot Festival, of which Dr Howard is Founder and Artistic Director.


Photos: Christopher Lyon Photography

Private Premiere: Reclining Figure (2015)


Earlier this month saw the completion and premiere of a new short piano piece, Reclining Figure, by Rob Howard, after the sculpture by Henry Moore and dedicated to Reverend Jeff Engel on 25 years of ministry.

The first performance was given to a private audience of the dedicatee and members of Prescot Parish Church at Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden, North Wales, on Saturday 3 October.

The piece attempts to capture the character of Reverend Engel through a sequence of mini-variations depicting biblical images as detailed in the score: chorale, lullaby, harp, drums, celesta, waves, dance and ascension.

View a score excerpt and listen to a recording of the premiere on the Compositions page.

Upcoming Concerts

Dr Robert Howard will be conducting and performing in the following concerts between now and the end of the year:

  • Saturday 17 October 7.30pm at All Saints Church, Abbey Road, Liverpool – Phoenix Concert Orchestra
  • Tuesday 1 December 8pm at St James’ Methodist & United Reformed Church, Church Road South, Liverpool L25 7RJ – South Liverpool Orchestra Christmas Concert
  • Thursday 10 December 7pm-8.15pm at Prescot Parish Church – Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert

Dr Howard also looks forward to another full programme of Christmas events, concerts and services at St Edward’s College, Liverpool.

Rob Howard Accepts Festival Award


Dr Robert Howard was proud to accept a local award on behalf of the festival he founded over ten years ago.

At Knowsley Sports & Cultural Awards on 9 October, the Prescot Festival was named Cultural Group of the Year. Presenting the award, ceremony host Steve Hothersall praised the annual festival and its year-round programme of music and arts.

Robert founded the festival in 2005 as a way to make quality music accessible to ever-wider audiences in his hometown. Starting as a weekend-long event, it has now grown to span 10 days every June.

Pictured: Robert displays the award following the ceremony at Knowsley Leisure & Culture Park.

Successful Fundraiser, Premiere of Flautando

A September fundraiser raised over £370 for the historic church of St Mary’s, Prescot.

The concert of ‘Brass & Organ Classics’ featured organist Tim Hall, trumpeter Pete Moss and the Brassworks quintet, but a particular highlight of the evening was the first public performance of a new work by Robert Howard.

Performed by its dedicatee, flautist Laura Bonnett, Flautando used the whole range of the flute and a plethora of techniques to fill the vast 17th-century church with beautifully haunting sound.

Listen to recording of the first performance below, and explore Rob’s other compositions (score excerpts and audio) here.

Flautando: First Performance


Friday 25 September will see the first performance of Dr Robert Howard’s composition Flautando.

A four-minute solo piece for flute, the work will be performed by its dedicatee, Laura Bonnett. It is a substantial reworking of a piece Robert wrote as a student, originally called simply For Flute (1996).

Flautando, whose title means ‘flute-like,’ explores the full range of the instrument, over three octaves, and a wide variety of gestures and techniques.

The acoustic and reverberation of the venue make it a highly suitable space for this premiere.

The performance takes place at 7pm on Friday 25 September 2015 at Prescot Parish Church, as part of a c75-minute concert of Brass & Organ Classics. Tickets are just £5 on the door, including wine and nibbles afterwards. See prescotfestival.co.uk for more information.

Photo: Flautist Laura Bonnett (by Alan Humphreys)

Cortege Receives Premiere, Second Performance 28 June

Dr Robert Howard’s latest composition, Cortege, received its first performance on 19 May 2015 at Liverpool Hope University Chapel.


A stirring piece for full orchestra, it has a march-like quality, beginning subtly and growing in intensity towards its climax, exhibiting a rousing, rhythmic style that is all the composer’s own.

The South Liverpool Orchestra will play the piece again at the finale of the 11th Annual Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts on 28 June, in St Mary’s Church Prescot. The programme also includes music by Sibelius, Rossini, Bizet and Elgar, as well as a performance of Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, with soloist Hannah Mackenzie.

Pictured: Robert conducts the premiere of Cortege (photo by Alan Humphreys)

Robert Howard Completes Latest Composition

Dr Robert Howard has recently completed his latest composition, Cortege (2015), for orchestra.

He has composed it for South Liverpool Orchestra, David Kernick (co-founder and webmaster of the Prescot Festival), and the 11th Annual Prescot Festival of Music and the Arts.

The piece will initially be performed by South Liverpool Orchestra (Liverpool Hope University) and conducted by the composer. The piece lasts approximately six minutes.

The first performance will be on Tuesday 19 May, 8pm at Liverpool Hope University Chapel, Taggart Avenue, Childwall, Liverpool, L16 9JD. Tickets are only £3.50 on the door, and the concert also includes works by Rossini, Purcell/Britten, Fucik and Elgar, as well as Sibelius’s Finlandia. The event will be followed by a buffet.

The second performance, and first festival performance, is on Sunday 28 June, 7.30pm, at Prescot Parish Church, Church Street, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 1LA. This is as part of the finale of the 11th Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts (www.prescotfestival.co.uk). Tickets are £5, and the concert also includes Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto (soloist – Hannah MacKenzie (RNCM)) and works by Rossini, Purcell/Britten, Fucik, Elgar, Sibelius, Arne and Parry.

Once again, the orchestra will be conducted by the composer, Dr Robert Howard.

Christmas 2014 Concerts for Dr Robert Howard


Dr Robert Howard will be conducting three concerts this festive season:

  • Tuesday 9 December, 7.30pm, Chapel at Hope University, Taggart Avenue, Childwall – South Liverpool Orchestra Christmas Concert, with Hope Park Voices and the Wavertree String Quartet. Rob will be conducting the orchestra and the congregational carols;
  • Thursday 11 December, 7.00pm, Prescot Parish Church – Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert, with Neston Brass Quintet, St Mary and St Paul’s Primary School Choir, Evelyn Primary School & Staff Choirs, and Prescot Parish Church Choir.  Rob will be compering the evening, singing with PPCC and conducting the congregational carols;
  • Sunday 21 December, 2.00pm, Palm House, Sefton Park)- Phoenix Concert Orchestra Christmas Concert.  Rob will compering and conducting the majority of the pieces.

As well as those listed above, Rob will be conducting and participating in several Christmas events at St Edward’s College, Liverpool, where he teaches.

See also: