Robert on stage
Robert on percussion
Dan and Dusty, for ITV
Ripley and Scuff promo card, for ITV
Robert Howes is an award-winning musician, musical director and television producer.
Robert grew up in Leicestershire and won his first music festival as a boy treble at the age of 7, later training at London's Royal Academy of Music, which made him an Associate in 2002.
As a conductor and musical director Robert works with a wide variety of ensembles and choral groups, reflecting his broad musical interests. These include the English Chorale (featured on many iconic albums including those by The Alan Parsons Project, John Miles, The Grateful Dead, The Carpenters, Chris De Burgh, Steve Harley etc) and The Baroque Orchestra of London which he founded and with whom he produced The Four Seasons on original instruments for EMI.
He is also Co-Director of Baroque Brass of London with whom he has toured extensively, including major tours to Japan where he has also conducted the Osaka singers.
He is a former member and player with many of London's leading orchestras, both modern and those involved in authentic performance, including The London Mozart Players, Philharmonia, Academy of Ancient Music, English Concert, London Sinfonietta and the London Classical Players.
He is also a former member of the London Education Authority music advisory team, a former Professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and retains links with academia through his consultancy to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and as a visiting lecturer at both the Tokyo College of Music, Tokyo Geidai University and more recently, Yale University.
His appointment as the first musical director of the Leicester Philharmonic Youth Choir in 1990 and the following four plus years with them, remains one of his most treasured periods of music making with young people.
Robert is a passionate believer and supporter of the positive power of music in children's lives, especially their education. During a visit with the English Concert to the Gulf States in 2010 under the auspices of HSBC and the British Council he directed a special concert for 200 young people with special needs, ranging in age from 5 to 18 at the AL NOOR Centre for Children.
EMI invited Robert to create for them the UK's leading audio library for children and the resulting catalogue contains many household names from the world of drama, music and television, including: Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, Doctor Patrick Moore, Doctor David Bellamy, Lenny Henry, Phillip Schofield and Tony Robinson. All had music and children at their core, from Dinosaurs (A Journey Back In Time), to Learn to Count and Your First ABC with Dame Judi Dench.
As a composer Robert has written music for television for all the main broadcasters including the award-winning Rescue series for ITV, Soldiers: the History of Men in Battle for BBC/PBS, the theme to the BAFTA-winning Roger and the Rottentrolls, to the long-standing theme to Kilroy. He was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for the song Time After Time (co-written with his great friend Rod Argent), sung by Barbara Dickson as the theme to the award-winning Channel 4 series, Animal Squad.
Robert became involved in television production involving music and the arts through his origination of the BBC's acclaimed carol-writing competition for young people, A Song for Christmas which he ran for twenty years.
Further television production followed with his first independent television commission by ITV of the adventure comedy-drama series, Roger and the Rottentrolls written by Tim Firth (Calendar Girls), which won a BAFTA for Best Children's Entertainment Programme. A further three series followed, gaining two further BAFTA nominations, along with RTS and Broadcast Award nominations.
His second award-winning series of Ripley and Scuff (60 programmes), which he made for ITV, had music at its heart and gained another BAFTA.
Among adult and family programming credits are the spoof documentary The Rottentroll Phenomenon and the 26-episode cult comedy series Dare To Believe, as well as the puppet-led post-watershed comedy chat show Dan and Dusty, all for ITV1.
He produced the BBC TWO comedy special Combat Sheep with Steve Coogan and Henry Normal's Baby Cow Productions, and in 2014 is to produce a feature film of Combat Sheep, written by Tim Firth.
Two years ago Robert directed and co-produced his first documentary Child. Broadcast by the BBC, this film was made in Rwanda and the UK and highlighted the plight of children and young people affected by HIV and AIDS. Child was runner-up in the prestigious Japan Prize.
As a record producer Robert has worked with many major labels including EMI, RCA, BMG, Phonogram and Warner Brothers, working with artists from Dame Judi Dench, Ben Luxon, Julian Lloyd Webber, Stephen Fry and Lenny Henry to Martin Clunes, John Thomson and Steve Coogan.
He now acts as a Music and Media Advisor to the Qatar Foundation and the Al-Jazeera Children's Channels in Doha.
His projects for 2013 include:
- A new family feature film - The Valley of the Rottentrolls, written by Tim Firth co-produced with Baby Cow Productions.
- The Next Classical Star, co-produced with Talpa Productions in Holland.
- Stand Up Kids, an innovative talent search/comedy series for the under 14s giving children the chance, through comedy stand-up, to show us all how they perceive the world around them.
- "The Songs that Change Our Lives" for Fremantle/Blue Circle Holland, with fellow Executive Producers Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy
- Conducting engagements include the final concert of the International Handel Festival in Halle Germany.