Gareth Walters was born in Swansea on 27 December 1928, the son of Irwyn R. Walters (1902-1992) and his wife Margaret Jane (née Edwards). He began composing while still at school, and was encouraged by Benjamin Britten, a friend of the family. In 1949 he enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy of Music and in 1952 went to Paris on a scholarship to the Conservatoire Nationale, where he studied with Jean Rivier and Olivier Messiaen. Following a period of study in Siena, Italy he returned to a teaching post in the Junior Department of the Royal Academy, taking younger pupils for the most part, and proving an effective and well respected teacher. In 1956 he accepted a post as a music producer at the BBC, where he remained until his retirement, while still teaching at the Academy and composing a great deal of music for broadcasting. He was an examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and was music director of the Gower Music Festival.
For the most part his composing was restricted to smaller forms, though he did write a Sinfonia breve in 1964. His best known composition is his Divertimento for string orchestra, composed in 1960 and recorded several times. Other recorded works include A Gwent suite (1959), Elegy (1969) for string orchestra, an overture, Primavera (1962), Little suite for harp and Capriccio for guitar (1980).
He married Glenys Jones in 1969 and died at Kingston, Surrey on 31 May 2012.
Published date: 2014-06-06
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