New Zealand-born trumpeter and conductor Bede Williams trained as an ABRSM International Scholar at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and at numerous international conducting masterclasses. He is a virtuosic, multifaceted musician and is widely known for his work in new music. He is currently Head of Instrumental Studies at the University of St Andrews where he teaches a wide range of courses, coaches chamber music and conducts the St Andrews Chamber Orchestra and New Music Ensemble. He combines this post with regular performances as a trumpet soloist and chamber musician on period and modern instruments, as well as working as a conductor with professional, youth and amateur orchestras, choirs and bands. 


Following early musical training in brass bands, Bede was for a time both principal trumpet of the National Youth Orchestra and principal cornet of the National Youth Brass Band of New Zealand. Performing as a soloist at age 17 with the Auckland Philharmonia and winning the Philip Jones Memorial Prize at the 2005 Royal Over-Seas League Competition, Bede has subsequently appeared as a soloist throughout New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with performances broadcast on BBC radio and television, STV, RNZ Concert and Schweizer Radio. Most recently he gave the world premiere of Oracle, a trumpet concerto by Jeremy Thurlow with musicians of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. In 2015 he released Crystallize, an album for trumpet and electronics, and recently created and performed new work with composer Andrew Hill for L-Acoustics L-ISA Hyperreal Sound technology. From 2004-2018 he performed as a founding member of Alba Brass, premiering many new works for brass quintet and appearing at concerts and festivals in the United Kingdom, as well as in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2017 Alba Brass released Fair Peched which was widely broadcast and nominated for album of the year. In 2019 he was invited by John Wallace to become a playing member of his world-renowned brass ensemble The Wallace Collection.


In 2012 Bede founded the St Andrews Brass Festival which in 2017 was relaunched as Fringe of Gold, an international festival for wind, brass and percussion. Since 2012 he has been Music Director of the St Andrews New Music Ensemble and New Music Week in which he regularly works with many leading international composers and performers. Notable projects include the premiere of Thea Musgrave's chamber opera Three Women, composer portrait concerts with James MacMillan, Paul Mealor and Sally Beamish, and performances at Steve Reich’s Glasgow Minimal Festival. His PhD from the University of St Andrews investigated interpretation and conducting, and he has presented this research at the Royal College of Music, Norwegian Academy of Music, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, as well as publishing in academic and popular publications. He has contributed towards many inter and transdisciplinary projects with both scientists and artists, and has broad research interests in collaborative approaches to the creation, performance  and reception of new music.  Bede is also a highly regarded trumpet and conducting teacher, with many former students going on to study at conservatoires and successfully audition for national and regional youth orchestras. From 2007-2017 he worked at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, and has also previously taught for Sistema Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Juniors.


Bede is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.