Dan Watson is a freelance musician living and working in Birmingham.
Dan studied at Birmingham Conservatoire, taking first study saxophone with Andy Tweed, Chris Gumbley and Naomi Sullivan and second study conducting with Edwin Roxburgh. Whilst at Birmingham Conservatoire, Dan began conducting alongside his saxophone studies, and subsequently this interest quickly evolved into a major aspect of his musical activities. He began conducting the Birmingham Conservatoire Saxophone Choir in 2006, and since then (with a wide selection of different ensembles) has prepared and performed a number of cutting edge student composition premieres in commuter concerts, competitions and series’ such as the New Generation Arts festival and the Frontiers Plus festival.
Today, Dan focuses his attention on a small number of specific ensembles, but also guest conducts others.
In 2009, together with co-Artistic Director Stephen Willey, Dan formedÂ Thumb, a contemporary music group dedicated to the performance of new music by fresh and upcoming composers in the Midlands, in addition to the performance of existing cutting edge music which is already established in the repertoire. The first projects undertaken by Thumb were a collaboration with Mobius Dance Company in the Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry; and a performance of Mark-Anthony Turnage,Â Release. Dan is continuing to act as Conductor-In-Residence within Thumb, as the ensemble is quickly gaining a reputation as a commissioner of new music, and an exciting new act on the scene in Birmingham. Thumb recently hosted an evening of new music by upcoming composers from both Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Northern College of Music.
Dan formed the Birmingham Contemporary Chamber Orchestra (with composer Nicholas Stewart) earlier this year. The first concert featured a showcase of new works by composers who are going on to study composition at postgraduate level at music colleges across the country. He is Musical Director of the Linden Park Symphony Orchestra, whose first full concert included Copland,Â Fanfare for the Common Man; Beethoven, Piano Concerto No. 3 (soloist: Lindsay Shakeshaft) and Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5.
Recently, Dan was appointed Associate Conductor of Midlands based chamber orchestraÂ Eroica Camerata. His first performances with the ensemble included Britten,Â Simple Symphony; Vaughan Williams,Â Six Studies in English FolksongÂ (soloist: Tom Martin) and Beethoven, Symphony No. 7.