photograph by Ingrid Prosser
“I was boxed in as a child by a mechanical brace to straighten the spine. I therefore felt a strong need to express
myself in a way that I could not do just through speech. Playing the piano and composing fulfilled that need”.
Colin Decio is a prolific composer with now in excess of three hundred works including two symphonies, two piano concertos, a requiem for orchestra, a cantata for choir and orchestra, three string quartets, two piano quintets, a string trio, clarinet trio, two piano trios, organ works plus many sonatas and sonatinas for violin, guitar, viola, cello, bass, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and french horn.
As a pianist-composer, Colin has written piano sonatas, sonatinas, preludes, fantasies, suites and two piano concertos, including the Piano Concerto No.1 ‘in memoriam John Ogdon’.
His two symphonies were partly inspired by the beautiful Cotswold countryside - ‘Gloucester Symphony’ and a ‘Cheltenham Symphony’ “speak of the Cotswold Hills and dales”, and give reference to local places such as Cleeve Common and Toddington.
The Cheltenham Symphony (Symphony No. 2) premiered in 2005 in Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham is dedicated to Cheltenham MP Lord Nigel Jones. The final movement is marked ‘Gustav Holst in memoriam’ and in the finale there is a Ukrainian folk tune taught to Colin by his relatives when he visited them in post-Soviet Ukraine.
The Gloucester Symphony (Symphony No. 1) received its premiere on June 7th, 2008 in Gloucester Cathedral with the Gloucestershire Symphony Orchestra to a standing ovation. The Mayor of Gloucester and his wife attended the occasion.
Another work inspired by the Cotswolds is Cotswold Songs a song cycle for high voice and piano, based on the poems of Dymock poet John Drinkwater. A Sabbath Day for mezzo-soprano and guitar, and Songs of Travel are also settings of Drinkwater’s poems.
Other songs are set to the of poems by Rupert Brooke, A. E. Houseman, Charles Kingsley, Edward Thomas, Osip Mandelstam and D. H. Lawrence.
Souvenir D’Anne Frank is based on Colin's Piano Trio No.1, ‘Het Achterhuis’. This work, which toured the UK in 2011-2012, had the blessing of Buddy Elias, Anne Frank’s cousin. The play involved two actors and an onstage piano trio in true Brechtian style. The stage itself was strewn with a large circle of white roses. Recordings from World War II announcements were used to set the scene. Souvenir d’Anne Frank is the name of a rose now grown in Japan.
The Souvenir d'Anne Frank rose
Colin completed a chamber music series in 2010, which included premieres of his String Quartet No. 2, Piano Sonata No. 5,
Cello Sonatina no.1, and Noel! Noel! - for four pianists and one piano.
Colin studied piano and composition at the Birmingham School of Music, UK (now Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), graduating in 1986 with five diplomas (including a distinction in composition). He studied composition with Professor Andrew Downes a former pupil of Herbet Howells - who in turn was a pupil of Gustav Holst. And piano with Frank Wibaut, John Humphreys, Roma Foster and Paul Slater.
Masterclasses in piano and composition with - John Ogdon, Robert Saxton, Bryan Kelly, John Joubert and Ernst Meyer.
Colin performs regularly as a solo pianist, and is an accompanist to both singers and instrumentalists.
He has given recitals throughout the UK. And in 2005 he performed a concert tour of both the North and the South Islands of New Zealand.
Colin was awarded a PGCE in Secondary Music Education from the University of East Anglia.
As a private tutor he teaches: composition, classical piano and music theory.
Colin was also a professional keyboard player and musical director for many years performing in many showbands throughout the UK and on cruise ships based in Singapore and Athens.
· Winner of the Burke Trophy for Advanced Piano
· Winner of the John Ireland Chamber Music Prize
· Winner of the Birmingham Midland Institute Composition Prize
· Winner of the piano section of the Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto Competition
“My work was once described as ‘Dynamism’ - I like that name!"