Owain Arwel Hughes

IntroBritish conductor
Is Musician 
From United Kingdom 
Type Literature 
Birth 1 January 1942 
Age78 years

Owain Arwel Hughes CBE (born 21 March 1942) is a Welsh orchestral conductor.
Hughes was born in Ton Pentre, Rhondda, the son of another successful musician, composer Arwel Hughes. He studied at Howardian High School, Cardiff, University College, Cardiff and the Royal College of Music. He studied conducting under Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink and Rudolf Kempe.
He became well known after a rousing televised performance of William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, which won the praise of the composer himself. He later hosted a BBC series, The Much-Loved Music Show. He has also made numerous recordings, including works such as Verdi’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah. He has championed less well-known composers, including recording a complete cycle of the symphonies of the Danish composer Vagn Holmboe.
Hughes has been the Chairman of Governors at the John Lyon School, Harrow. Hughes has been married to his wife Jean for over forty years. His son Geraint Hughes is a former sports correspondent for BBC News and currently works for Sky Sports.


Hughes’s former and current appointments include:

  • Philharmonia Orchestra, London, Associate Conductor
  • Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London, Principal Associate Conductor
  • BBC Welsh Orchestra (now the BBC National Orchestra of Wales), Associate Conductor (1980–1986)
  • Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Denmark, Principal Conductor (1994–1999)
  • Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, South Africa, Principal Guest Conductor
  • National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Musical Director (2003–2010)
  • Huddersfield Choral Society, Director
  • Camerata Wales, Founder and Musical Director (2005–)
  • Welsh Proms, Founder and Artistic Director (1986–)
  • University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, Professor of Performance (1986–)
  • “Owain Arwel Hughes CBE – Biography”. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 


  • Hughes, Owain Arwel (2012). Owain Arwel Hughes: My Life in Music. University of Wales Press. ISBN 9780708325308.  Autobiography

Awards and honours

  • OBE (2004)
  • CBE (2009)
  • Honorary DMus, University of Wales (1991)
  • Honorary Fellow, Bangor University (2007)
  • Honorary Fellow, University of Wales, Lampeter (2007)
  • The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58929. p. 7. 31 December 2008.
  • “Honorary Degrees”. University of Wales. Archived from the original on 25 September 2006. 
  • “Graddedigion er Anrhydedd / Honorary Graduates” (PDF). University of Wales. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  • “2007 Honorary Fellows”. Bangor University. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  • “About Lampeter Chamber Orchestra”. Lampeter Chamber Orchestra. Retrieved 10 June 2014.