Professor Roderick Watkins

Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Location: Cambridge

Roderick Watkins grew up in Norfolk but went to America for his undergraduate education, gaining a BA in Philosophy and a BMus in Composition from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music.


Thereafter he returned to the UK to undertake an MMus and PhD at the Royal Academy of Music, followed by a year’s study at IRCAM in Paris, on the Cursus de Composition et Informatique Musicale. His composition teachers included Richard Hoffmann, Paul Patterson and Hans Werner Henze, with whom he went on to collaborate closely on a number of projects throughout the 1990s and early 2000s

His compositions have been performed and broadcast across Europe and the UK, and include a number of significant commissions from leading ensembles and festivals.

Depending on who you believe his music is “wonderfully sinister and suggestive” (Independent), “a triumph” (Times), and demonstrating an “impressive understanding of musical and dramatic pacing” (Financial Times) – or “fatally lacking in incident” (Guardian). Many of his works combine instruments and electronics, and he has a particular interest in digital sound synthesis. A number of recent works also develop an interest in non-western aesthetics and musical techniques.

He was appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation) in 2015, having been appointed Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Arts, Law and Social Sciences the previous year. Prior to joining Anglia Ruskin University, he was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Canterbury Christ Church University, where he was appointed Professor of Composition and Contemporary Music in 2005.

Compositions include:

  • Tsuyu no yo (2011, Soprano and chamber ensemble) -- first performed by Shonorities ensemble, Japan
  • Trace 2010, Chamber ensemble) -- first performed by Ensemble Intercontemporain
  • After Scarlatti (2009, Harpsichord and electronics) -- first performed by Jane Chapman
  • Kane no koe (2007, Soprano, chamber ensemble and electronics) -- first performed by Shonorities ensemble, Japan
  • Breath (2005, Soprano and chamber ensemble) -- first performed by Bergamo ensemble
  • L’upupa (2003, electronic music for the opera by Hans Werner Henze) -- first performed Salzburg Festival, co-production with Teatro Real, Madrid, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Florence, and Deutche Oper, Berlin
  • Still (2000, Chamber ensemble) – first performed by Britten Sinfonia
  • Red Light (1998, orchestra) -- first performed by London Sinfonietta
  • The Juniper Tree (1997, chamber opera) -- first performed Munich Biennale Festival, co-production with Almeida Opera and London Sinfonietta
  • Labirinto (1991, mime-drama/ballet) -- first performed Montepulciano Festival