Local People: Joe Williams from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Joe Williams BBC National Orchestra of Wales

BBC National Orchestra of Wales 

Joe Williams is a violinist with BBC National Orchestra of Wales


What instrument do you play?
I play the violin in the orchestra. I am in the 2nd violin section – I may be biased, but I’m proud to be playing in one of the friendliest sections of the orchestra.

What got you into playing this instrument?
I started playing the piano, but was absolutely hopeless. When I gave up, my parents made me read for half an hour a day, as I had brothers having to do their piano practice and they didn’t think it fair if I did nothing. When the opportunity to learn the violin came at primary school, (aged 8), it was a great way out of reading (‘Treasure Island’ I seem to remember)!

How did you end up playing for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales?
After 3 years with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and 3 years with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra in Reykjavik, I auditioned for a job with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. After a successful trial period I was given the job. That would have been 25 years this ago this January.

What have been your musical highlights to date?
There have been many musical highlight of my career to date – include the numerous foreign tours, particularly Japan, China and the USA. Some of my most memorable concerts must be the Doctor Who Proms we did at the Royal Albert Hall!

What are you looking forward to in the 2013/14 season?
I am really looking forward to our concert at St David’s Hall on the 9th May 2014 – where we’ll be playing Brahms’ Piano Concerto and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony with conductor Tadaaki Otaka. His concerts are always very special as he brings so much musicality to the music.

What’s your favourite part of what you do?
My favourite part of the job is socialising with my colleagues, a great bunch of people and all fine musicians. I even get to socialise with my wife, Catherine, who is a keyboard player with the orchestra.

What part of Cardiff are you from?
I am from London originally, though my father is from Llanwrst, but since moving to Cardiff, we have lived in Whitchurch.

What is a typical working day for you?
A typical working day will start with coffee at 8: 00, whilst watching our favourite TV programme. Then it’s off for rehearsals, usually from 10:00 to 17:00. After which it’s off to my local gym, or doing some Open University work, (I’ve set myself the task of trying to get a physics degree)! then dinner with a nice glass of red wine.

What can we look forward to from BBC National Orchestra of Wales at Christmas time this year?
I personally am looking forward to the 2nd violin Christmas party this year. We are nearly all big fans of Strictly Come Dancing, and we are going to have an evening of dancing lessons in Whitchurch. Though the public can see us at St. David’s Hall on 17th December for a Christmas Celebration concert conducted by Grant Llewellyn.

BBC National Orchestra of Wales presents their Christmas Celebrations concert at St David’s Hall, Cardiff on Tuesday 17 December, 7pm. Family tickets start from £12.50 – for more information call 0800 052 1812.


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