Robert Hamwee was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he began his musical training as a pianist at a young age. He subsequently studied orchestral conducting and composition, as well as choral conducting at the Juan Jose Castro Conservatory of Music in Buenos Aires, where he graduated with distinction in 1983. At the same time he followed a course in conducting at the Buenos Aires Opera House (Teatro Colón), where he became involved in the preparation of major choral and orchestral works. He was then awarded a place in two international competitive seminars for conductors in Argentina.
Robert Hamwee made his conducting debut at the age of 21 in a performance of Brahms’ Second Symphony. Since then he has pursued a busy career both as conductor and chorus master, appearing with several orchestras and choruses both in England and abroad winning the acclaim of both the international press and audiences alike. In 1984 he moved to England where he continued his musical studies in conducting at the University of Surrey.
He made his Royal Festival Hall debut in London in 1986 in a concert recorded for the BBC. This was followed by a concert at the Barbican Centre with winners of the 1986 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. In 1988 he was appointed Assistant Conductor to Vivaldi Concertante and conducted regularly in London’s major concert halls.
In 1988 he became the principal conductor of the Academy of the London Mozarteum, a post he held until 2005. Since then he has conducted regularly at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall and St. John’s Smith Square, where he conducted a series dedicated to the Mozart Piano Concertos. Apart from busy concert seasons in London, Robert Hamwee has conducted in South America, Poland, Italy, Turkey and France, both as guest conductor and with the Academy of the London Mozarteum.
As a well established chorus master, he has prepared most of the works in the standard choral repertoire both in England and abroad. In 1989 apart from a busy series of concerts in London, he was appointed Music Director of the Pro Musica Chorus and worked extensively in France. He appeared at the Choregies d’Orange Opera Festival in Verdi’s Nabucco with Ghena Dimitrova and the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg. He was subsequently invited to appear as chorus master for the Festival Berlioz in Lyon with the Pro Musica Chorus and the Orchestre de Lyon for the opera Benvenuto Cellini and for two performances of the Grande Messe des Morts with a combined chorus of 700 voices.
In 2001 he co-founded the London Choral Studio, a London-based semi-professional chamber choir who have performed a variety of works and genres ranging from the renaissance period to twentieth century music. The London Choral Studio performed the London premiere of Leo Nestor’s ‘Rorate Caeli’.
Robert is regularly invited as chorus master for most of the major works in the standard choral repertoire as well as for newer repertoire, having worked with conductors Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jeffrey Tate, Serge Baudo, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Emmanuel Krivine, John Nelson, Sir Charles Mackerras, Garcia Navarro, John Pritchard, Myung Mung Chung amongst others.
Following this success he appeared in a concert performance of Nabucco with Julia Varady and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in London. This was followed by further appearances including a concert performance of Verdi’s Ernani in London with the English Chamber Orchestra always featuring the Pro Musica Chorus of London. He has also made several appearances as guest conductor at the SOS Christmas concerts in the Queen Elizabeth Hall with other guests such as Sir Tim Rice and Dame Vera Lynn.
As a composer and arranger, Robert has written several arrangements of vocal works as well as music for cinema and television. Lately Robert appeared as guest conductor for the Baskent Academic Orchestra of Ankara in a series of concerts broadcast on Turkish television.