“An adrenaline shock to the UK new music scene…” – Kate Molleson, BBC Radio 3

“The Queen of Clarinet Multiphonics” – Sara Mohr-Pietsch, BBC Radio 3

“…multiphonic virtuosity” – The Guardian

“…brilliant…” – The Times

“…performed by the excellent Heather Roche…brought vividly to life by Roche’s controlled but expressive performance… 5 stars” –  BBC Music Magazine

“…a figurehead for contemporary music performance practice” – Neil Luck, BBC Radio 3

…undoubtedly one of the great instrumentalists of her generation.” – Graham McKenzie, Artistic Director of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

“Roche expertly navigates the wide and persistent large intervals” – The Clarinet

“What makes all of this so fully absorbing is how Roche has completely internalized extended techniques for clarinet into her playing, with nothing sounding forced or contrived.” – Point of Departure

Born in Canada, clarinetist Heather Roche trained in England, lived in Germany for 7 years and now lives in London.

She has performed at some of the major European festivals, including musikFest (Berlin), BachFest (Leipzig), Musica Nova (Helsinki), Acht Brücken (Cologne), the International Computer Music Conference (Huddersfield, Ljubljana), the Dias de Música Electroacústica (Seia, Portugal) the Bludenzer Tage (Bludenz, Austria), and the Agora Festival (Ircam, Paris). She has also performed solo programmes at the Zagreb Music Biennale, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the New York Electroacoustic Symposium, at CIRMMT (Montreal), Unerhörte Musik (Berlin), Eavesdropping (London), Rainy Days (Luxembourg) and with the Birmingham Electroacoustic Sound Theatre (BEAST).

She has performed with ensembles and orchestras including Musik Fabrik (Cologne), the WDR Orchestra (Cologne), mimitabu (Gothenburg), the London Symphony Orchestra (London), ensemble Garage (Cologne), ensemble interface (Berlin), the Riot Ensemble (London), the Alisios Camerata (Zagreb), and ensemble proton (Bern). She also plays across the UK in a trio with Carla Rees (flutes) and Xenia Pestova (piano) and in 2015 formed a duo with the accordionist Eva Zöllner, with whom she has played across Europe. She has been playing with Apartment House (London) since 2016, and was a member of Mimitabu (Gothenburg) from 2018-2020. She was a founding member of hand werk, a 6-person chamber music ensemble based in Cologne, and worked with the group from 2010-2017.

She has solo CDs out on the HCR/NMC and Métier labels. Please see the Discography for further details. She records regularly for the Another Timbre label.

In 2014 she was awarded a DIVA (Danish International Visiting Artists Fellowship), and lived in Copenhagen for two months.

Since 2016 she has acted as the Reviews Editor for TEMPO, a quarterly journal for contemporary music published by Cambridge University Press.

Her website is host to one of the most widely read new music blogs on the Internet. In 2019 it had 90,000 hits from around the world. She successfully crowdfunded in 2014 in order to host her first composition competition. Six young composers were chosen out of 270 applicants to write new pieces, which were premiered in 2016.

She is a fervent advocate of collaboration, and her PhD research at the University of Huddersfield (under the supervision of Dr. Philip Thomas) explored the nature of dialogue within performer-composer relationships. She has given workshops in instrumental technique and/or iPad use in performance all over Europe, for example in London, Munich and Copenhagen.

Heather completed her Masters of Music (Orchestral Training) in 2006 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, studying under Joy Farrall and Laurent Ben Slimane, in addition to conducting with Sian Edwards. Following her degree she completed residencies with the International Ensemble Modern Academy, at IMPULS in Graz and with ensemble recherche in Freiburg, the Darmstadt Summer Courses 2008 and 2010 and the International Ensemble Modern Academy in Innsbruck, Austria. She has performed in masterclasses with Michael Collins, Ernesto Molinari and Shizuyo Oka, to name a few. She completed her BMus in 2005 at the University of Victoria, Canada, studying under Patricia Kostek.

5 Responses to Biography

  1. Eric Mandat says:

    Hi Heather, thank you for your very informative website for clarinetists and composers about new resources and extended techniques. I look forward to catching up and reading all your blog posts.

    • heatherroche says:

      Hi Eric,
      Amazing — I’m a big fan of yours, so it’s so flattering to have this comment from you. I seem to remember having some of your scores when I was a student in Canada but I’ve lost track of them now alas — would love to have another look. Sean Osborn recorded your music, right? Be very curious to have more feedback on the blog if you had the time/inclination. Please feel free to email me anytime
      Best wishes from London!

  2. IsuBenito says:

    This blog is just amazing! Thank you very much for this Heather! I am a composer currently writing a piece for bass clarinet and live painting, what a fantastic instrument and how helpful this blog is.

    A million of thanks!

    All best,


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