Profile: Rob Cowan

For our final Penny Lecture of this academic year Morley is pleased to welcome BBC Radio 3 presenter Rob Cowan delivering the lecture Musicians in the Shadow of War and Tyranny on Friday 24 July. Here we find out more about the broadcaster and journalist.

Rob Cowan was born in London in 1948. He first discovered great music as a child convalescing after a long illness.

Thereafter, he regularly attended evening classes in violin and cello which further developed his interest in music. Robert Maxwell gave him his first musical break, sending him round the country promoting Qualiton (the Hungarian national record label) ­ and Bartók in particular.

He later joined the BBC Music Department and launched his own “historic” record label (Melos, in 1969). He spent nineteen years burrowing in the bowels of a major music publishing company, Boosey & Hawkes, first in the education department, then as advertising manager and for the last eleven years, as the company’s music archivist.

Rob published his first record reviews in 1967. His first editing job was on the Boosey & Hawkes Music Diary, which he re-vamped and edited for seven years. In 1985, Rob joined the team of the magazine CD Review, which he edited some four years later. He then edited Gramophone’s budget CD review magazine Classics before joining Keith Shadwick as co-presenter of Classic FM’s Classic Verdict, a weekly CD review programme which ran for over three years. From 1999 to 2001, Rob devised and presented Classic FM’s Sunday night review show CD Choice.

Rob has long been a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3. He presented the first run of BBC Radio 3’s weekly record magazine Off the Record, was a regular live guest on Record Review (precursor of the current CD Review), presented CD Masters alongside Jonathan Swain, 2001-6 and The Cowan Collection (2003-6).

Rob is a music critic/journalist for The Independent and is Contributing Editor and contributor for Gramophone. He is author of the Guinness Classical 1000 (a thousand chosen masterpieces with a CD recommendation for each one). He shares a passion for the arts with his wife Georgie and enjoys the company of his two daughters, Francesca and Victoria.

For our final Penny Lecture of this academic year Morley is pleased to welcome BBC Radio 3 presenter Rob Cowan delivering the lecture Musicians in the Shadow of War and Tyranny on Friday 24 July.


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