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William Howard Love Songs Project

Up to date information about William Howard's Love Song Project is now available on a new website

Please visit this site for competition results, commissions, events, blog..and more!

Sixteen Contemporary Love Songs for solo piano

Album released on 1 June 2018

Orchid Classics ORC100083 (2018)

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Premiere recordings of love songs for solo piano by Nico Muhly, Judith Weir, Richard Reed Parry, Howard Skempton, Elena Kats-Chernin, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and others, all expressions of love of some kind.  Full track list

Sixteen Love Songs for solo piano

Album released on 2 June 2016

Orchid Classics (ORC100056)

Buy from iTunes

Buy from Presto Classical

Order from Amazon

Complete playlist

View trailer


The pieces in this collection are all songs, some originally written for piano and others arranged. They are all expressions of love of some kind and thus share common ground with a huge body of folk and popular music. The sixteen love songs in this collection are all beautifully constructed examples of ‘art’ music, written throughout the nineteenth century or at the beginning of the twentieth by composers who had a great understanding of the expressive possibilities of the piano and the power to seduce the listener. Some of them have become massively well known through film scores or TV ads, or even become popular songs in an adapted form. The repertoire includes four Liszt song arrangements and original piano works by Dvořák, Suk, Fauré, Granados and others.



Love Song Composing Competition (2016)

Patron: Judith Weir CBE, Master of the Queen’s Music

The pieces on William Howard’s Album Sixteen Love Songs were all written between a hundred and two hundred years ago. What would their 21st century equivalents sound like? His competition aimed to encourage contemporary responses to the timeless and universal genre of the love song in the form of short piano pieces. It ran from June to October 2016 and received 526 entries from 61 countries. Entrants were divided into two categories – over-25 and under-25 and

were invited to write a ‘memorable, individual and truly contemporary piece’ for solo

piano that can be described as a love song. Pieces had to be of maximum four

minutes’ duration. The winning composer in each category received a cash prize

and a professional video recording of their piece. The winning pieces and two other

pieces in each category were premiered by William at a concert at Hoxton Hall,

London on Wednesday 26 April 2017. William Howard was joined on the judging

panel by Judith Weir, Piers Hellawell, Bernard Hughes and Howard Skempton.  


Details of all prize winers can be found here

Listen the the winning piece in the Over-25 category here

Listen the the winning piece in the Under-25 category here

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Commission Project

As well as setting up his competition, William Howard has also commissioned further Love Songs from leading composers from the UK and abroad, such as Judith Weir, Nico Muhly, Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Arcade Fore's Richard Reed Parry and many more. Their brief was to write a piece for solo piano of 3-5 minutes’ duration that could be described as a love song. Through the timeless genre of the love song – one commonly associated with pop, folk and music from other cultures – it is hoped these new works will create a repertoire that draws in a wide audience for contemporary music and stimulates both awareness of the varied musical languages of living composers and discussion about their approaches to composition.

Fourteen new commissions were premiered by William Howard in 2016 and 2017.

Full list of commissions and programme notes

Press articles

The BBC Music Magazine         

The Gramophone  

Presto Classical

New Dots         

City A.M.




Trailer video for Sixteen Love Songs album

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