Biography

Cordelia Williams has been acclaimed as a pianist of great power and delicate sensitivity, drawing in audiences with her rich sound, natural eloquence and “spell-binding simplicity”. She has performed all over the world, including concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra, in Mexico City, and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and recitals at Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Beijing Concert Hall. In December 2014 she made her debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, playing Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto at Barbican Hall, London and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.

At the core of Cordelia’s musicality is a fascination with the human soul and the artistic expression of struggles and beliefs; alongside her performing career she gained a First in Theology from Clare College, Cambridge. She is recognised for the poetry, conviction and inner strength of her playing and the depth and maturity of her interpretations. Cordelia is drawn especially to the music of the late Classical and early Romantic periods: her debut CD, featuring Schubert’s complete Impromptus for SOMM Recordings, was released to critical acclaim in July 2013 and she recently recorded music by Schumann for release in July 2015.

Her curiosity towards religions and faith has led to her current project, Between Heaven and the Clouds: Messiaen 2015. In collaboration with award-winning poet Michael Symmons Roberts, Lord Rowan Williams and artist Sophie Hacker, this year-long series of events and performances explores the music, context and theology of Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus.

Cordelia has a great enthusiasm for presenting and introducing music; her Cafe Muse evenings bring classical music out of the concert hall and into the relaxed setting of bars and brasseries. She is also a passionate chamber musician, having appeared with the Endellion, Fitzwilliam and Maggini quartets among others. Since becoming Piano Winner of BBC Young Musician 2006, she has performed with orchestras including London Mozart Players and Royal Northern Sinfonia, and given recitals at the Barbican Hall and Purcell Room, as well as in France, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Thailand, China, America, Mexico, Kenya and the Gulf States. This season includes appearances at the Cheltenham Festival, Cadogan Hall and Kings Place.

Hearing her mother teach piano, Cordelia wanted to learn to play too, and began lessons at home as soon as she could climb onto the piano stool. She gave her first public piano recital to celebrate her eighth birthday. She spent seven years at Chethams School of Music in Manchester, studying with Bernard Roberts and Murray McLachlan. She went on to work with Hamish Milne in London, Joan Havill and Richard Goode, and is grateful to have received support from the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund, the Musicians Benevolent Fund, the Stanley Picker Trust, the City of London Corporation, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the City Music Foundation.

View Cordelia’s past concerts.

Biography