Duncan Ward is rapidly establishing his name as one of the most exciting and capable young musicians of his generation. Still in his early twenties, he has achieved extraordinary success as a composer, conductor, pianist and administrator.
Duncan won the 2005 BBC Young Composer of the Year competition, and was Principal Composer for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain (in which he was also Principal Keyboard player). He was Lancashire Sinfonietta’s Composer in Residence for the 2010/11 season. Recent work has included a new orchestral piece P-Paranoia composed for the London Symphony Orchetra as part of the Panufnik Scheme. Ave Maris Stella for brass, singers and dancers, written in collaboration with choreographer Kerry Nicholls and originally commissioned by the Purbeck Art Weeks Festival, was performed throughout 2011 at the South Bank Centre as part of the Festival of Britain and on a tour of Switzerland. Current projects include works for the Tempest Flute Trio for their debut album on Gabriel Prokofiev's NonClassical label, music for Streetwise Opera's 10th anniversary production, and an oratorio on the Children’s Crusade with librettist Dominique Caillat.
Duncan has received premieres by groups such as the Endymion Ensemble, The Sixteen, the Navarra Quartet, RNCM Symphony Orchestra, BBC Singers and Brass 10 at venues including the Barbican, Symphony Hall Birmingham, Cadogan Hall, and the Tate Modern. His music has been heard in India, China, the USA, and across Europe and received broadcasts on both BBC Radio 3 and Radio 2. Recent work has included a new work for solo accordion composed for Ksenija Sidorova and premiered in Riga in Summer 2013.
Duncan studied composition with Adam Gorb at the RNCM, having previously studied with Paul Patterson, Gary Carpenter, Dominic Sewell and Rupert Bond.
In addition to his composition work, Duncan is also achieving early success as a conductor. Currently he is the Sir Charles Mackerras Junior Conducting Fellow for Trinity Laban. He has recently worked with the London Symphony Orchestra under the instruction of Valery Gergiev, the Staatskapelle Berlin with Daniel Barenboim, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich with David Zinman, and the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra with Pierre Boulez.
In 2012 debuts included peformances with the Bamberger Symphoniker (at the Bad Kissingen Festival), Lucerne Symphony, Berliner Philharmoniker Academy, Royal Scottish National, Young Sinfonia and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras. In May 2012 he assisted Sir Simon Rattle preparing Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Berliner Philharmoniker. He was Music Director for Streetwise Opera’s 10th Anniversary Production, including an appearance at the Royal Opera House as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, and additionally directs an exciting collaboration between Dr L Subramaniam and Kavita Krishnamurthy and the National Youth Orchestra for the opening night of the Southbank Centre’s Alchemy Festival. In 2013 Duncan was appointed as the first Conducting Scholar at the Berliner Philharmoniker, a post he will hold until the end of 2014.
Duncan co-founded the WAM Foundation, which sends young UK musicians each year to teach Western classical music across India. The charity has since attracted the attention of Ravi Shankar, who invited Duncan to study with him in California in summer 2010.