Averil Williams ARCM FGS Dip. Music Therapy
Averil began the flute aged sixteen and began at the Royal College of Music just before her eighteenth birthday (joining Jimmy Galway as a fellow student with John Francis). Her interest in teaching began early on and she became a tutor at Junior College. Aged twenty-two and after studies with Geoffrey Gilbert, she took up the principal flute position in the Iceland Symphony and stayed there for three years. Averil played concertos with the orchestra and also became involved in the formation of Musica Nova and was the beginning of a long involvement in contemporary music. She taught at the Reykjavik Conservatoire, and soon after returning to the UK Averil began teaching at the Guildhall.
Returning to London Averil began a freelance career in London which has given her a wide and varied experience of performing. A long association with the BBC Symphony Orchestra has included many performances of new works and the large symphonic repertoire. She feels privileged to have been around in the ‘golden years’ of Boulez. Other memorable conductors have included Solti (LPO and BBC) and Tennstedt including his recordings of Mahler Symhonies (LPO), Strauss Four Songs etc.: Haitink, Simon Rattle including Glyndebourne Opera. Contemporary music interests were furthered with many performances and recordings with the London Sinfonietta, Nash Ensemble etc.. Averil was a member and soloist of the London Bach Orchestra. In a different mode she also played in the original Jesus Christ Superstar at the Palace Theatre! At her debut at the Purcell Room the critics wrote ‘her tone was often of the utmost delicacy and refinement ....her phrasing was smooth and she realised to the full the eloquence of her instruments’. (D. Tel) ‘Averil Williams chose mainly twentieth-century music for her recital- a wide ranging and testing programme that showed her to be a mature and imaginative player......Showed her full command of special effects , and the subtle dynamic shading she achieved here, and in Milhaud and Messiaen’s evocative Le Merle Noir, attested to her undoubted affinity with French music.’ (Times)
Averil has continued her commitment and interest in teaching throughout her performing career and has many former students, now colleagues, playing professionally around the world. Geoffrey Gilbert and Marcel Moyse have been major influences on her playing and teaching as well as the influences of music therapy work, which has made interest in improvisation an important part of her approach to learning and developing performance.
In 1995 Averill was honoured to be made a Fellow of the Guildhall School.