Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 1991, Ian Watt first came to international attention when, at 18, he was awarded 2nd prize (silver medal) at the 2009 Parkening International Guitar Competition (USA), the world’s preeminent guitar competition. Since then, he has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe and world. To date, in addition to the UK, Watt has performed in the USA, China, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Ukraine, Denmark, Holland, Estonia, Norway and Belgium and as a concerto soloist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra. Despite his youth, Watt is also increasingly in demand as a teacher, regularly giving masterclasses internationally, most recently in China (at the Central Conservatory in Beijing), Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
As well as his performances on BBC Radio, Watt was featured in a BBC 2 documentary which included a performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and his performances have also been seen and heard on television and radio stations in the USA, Austria and Holland. His debut album, Invocación – Impressions of Spain, was released by Nimbus Alliance in November 2011 and his second recording, of British guitar music, will be released by Nimbus in 2013.
A keen advocate of contemporary music, Watt took part in Peter Maxwell Davies’ 75th birthday celebration concerts in Glasgow in November 2009, giving a performance of the rarely heard ‘Dark Angels’ song cycle for voice and guitar in the composer’s presence. He has since collaborated with composers Rory Boyle and most recently John McLeod, whose Guitar Concerto (dedicated to Watt and the composer’s first work for the instrument) he premiered in March 2010. He also premiered McLeod’s two solo guitar works, Three Impromptus and Fantasy on themes from Britten’s Gloriana, in 2012.
In addition to the silver medal at the Parkening, Watt’s awards and prizes include 1st prize (and the audience and junior jury prizes) at the Heinsberg International Guitar Competition 2011, 1st prize at the ‘Westfalian Guitar Spring’ International Competition 2010 and 2nd prize at the Vienna International Guitar Competition ‘Homage to Karl Scheit’ 2010.
Ian Watt plays D’Addario strings.