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.
Roderick is currently Acting Vice Chancellor at ARU.