Alumni Services

Derek Williams

Derek Williams made the most of his time at University and believes that the city is a hotbed for arts and culture.

Name Derek Williams
Degree Course PhD Music
Year of Graduation 2012
Derek Williams

Your time at the University

I was attracted to Edinburgh because of the international reputation, family connections with Scotland and the reputation of the staff.

The university is also massively well resourced. There is the Reid Music Collection and museums of instruments, and it has international concert halls, notably the Reid and McEwan Halls.

I especially enjoyed the extra curricula events provided by Music, for example through the Roberts fund, such as recording a CD with the Edinburgh Quartet, working with the Artisan Trio, Opera Circus to demo student operas as well as performances in London, Rome, Edinburgh and online.

During my time studying for my PhD I was involved in the Edinburgh University Savoy Opera Group as conductor and musical director, Edinburgh (University) Studio Opera, Edinburgh University Composers’ Orchestra, and countless related performing groups outwith the university including Edinburgh Grand Opera, and Frank Holden.

I was also a postgraduate representative in the Edinburgh University Students Association.

The student union is extremely well run and looks after its members with hundreds of clubs, several high quality eating establishments, a Debating Hall and other venues all housed in splendid architecture.

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

I have been working as a composer, orchestrator, arranger, performer, producer and developer as well as continuing my relationship with the University as a casual lecturer and occasional tutor.

For this year's festval I am collaborating with fellow composer Kostas Rekleitis and two of Scotland’s leading musicians, Soprano Christina Dunwoodie and Bass Clarinettist Jean Johnson in a new operatic jazz work telling the tale of the mythical murderess Medea, at the Edinburgh Jazz Bar.

It is a city where you can truly be yourself and will be accepted anywhere.

Derek Williams

Medea: Greece Meets West

Alumni wisdom

Get to know the city as soon as you can, especially public transport, and go to all the events you can. There is always something on and the range of musical and theatre events is simply immense - out of all proportion to the city’s population. It is a city where you can truly be yourself and will be accepted anywhere.

Edinburgh is a very young, alive and vibrant city with imposing gothic grandeur, boasting magnificent architecture, galleries, concert halls, museums and huge range of dining choices.

No visit to Scotland would be complete without an extended trip up into the Highlands, the Orkney Islands, and Skye, a vast wilderness of stunning natural beauty.

Read our July profiles

Alumni Profile | Sunday’s Child