Charles Hazlewood: Biography highlights

Hazlewood combines an outstanding musical talent with a vocation to bring classical music to the widest possible audience.

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Full biography of Charles Hazlewood

This mission has led to the creation of Britain’s first Paraorchestra launched at the Olympics in 2012. Known to millions through his broadcast work with the BBC he defies all categories – blazing a trail in new ways of approaching music.

  • Creator of the Paraorchestra launched at London 2012
  • Has conducted at over fifty orchestral world premieres.
  • Has worked with leading pop and grime artists

Charles Hazlewood has tremendous presence conveying his passion for music and his belief in its benefits for everyone whatever race or ability.

He is hard to categorise, but his talent is obvious and his enthusiasm infectious. In 2011 he delivered a stunning TED talk about how a conductor uses leadership to create trust during which an orchestra emerged from the audience playing their instruments.

He has been blazing a creative trail since the formation of his orchestra Excellent Device (previously Eos) in 1991 – approaching music in new ways and talking to his audience live on stage.

Hazlewood made his BBC Proms conducting debut in August 2006, with the BBC Concert Orchestra; simultaneously presenting the concert live from the stage for TV. He now guest-conducts many of the worlds leading orchestras, including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Gothenburg and Malmo Symphonies in Sweden, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Philharmonia in London.

He is renowned for his wide spread of musical interests ranging from pioneering work with untrained singers in South Africa to collaborations with clog dancers, bell ringers, Grime and pop artists, most recently Professor Green and Labrinth.

In September 2012, he launched the British Paraorchestra at the London Paralympics the first ever orchestra of its kind in the UK. He wanted to create a platform for highly talented musicians with disability while also challenging opinions.

He launched the music festival Orchestra in a Field based in his home county of Somerset and runs the Charles Hazlewoods All Star Collective – a kind of avant garde supergroup drawing on musicians from pop and jazz. The All Star Collective are regulars at Glastonbury and plan a residency at the Sydney Opera House.

He has authored and conducted the music for several major TV series as well as making landmark documentaries on Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky for the BBC. He has won 3 Sony radio awards for Best Music Show for his work on Radios 2 and 3 and is currently developing a history of British music for BBC 2.

He is Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, Founder of Excellent Device! and its sister orchestra, the period instrument ensemble Harmonieband. Finally, he is a highly motivational corporate speaker.

Charles Hazlewood’s Awards and Milestones

  • First prize at the European Broadcasting Union Conducting Competition in Lisbon in 1995.
  • Carnegie Hall debut June 2003 conducting the Orchestra of St. Lukes.
  • BBC Proms conducting debut in August 2006

The feature film U-Carmen e-Khayelitsha for which Hazlewood was Music Director and Conductor was awarded the prestigious Golden Bear award for Best Film at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival.

Nominated for a Royal Television Society Award in both 2005 and 2006.



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Watch Charles in action

1/3 videos
Charles Hazlewood: Trusting the ensemble
Charles Hazlewood: Trusting the ensemble
"Where there is Trust, There is Music" | Charles Hazlewood | Google Zeitgeist
"Where there is Trust, There is Music" | Charles Hazlewood | Google Zeitgeist
Trusting the ensemble - Charles Hazlewood
Trusting the ensemble - Charles Hazlewood
The Daily Telegraph

The face of classical music on television'

The Guardian

'Charles Hazlewood is a major proselytizing force and his energy and enthusiasm are infectious'

The Independent

'Popstar lookalike... he could get anyone interested in music!'

The London Evening Standard

'An evangelist for every age and tradition of music.'

The Observer

'Charles Hazlewood is acid-hot!'

The Times

'The ever-stimulating musical polyglot'

Charles's speaking topics

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