THE FUNERAL of an award-winning composer will be held in Cwmbran this week.

David Lloyd Howells, who died at the age of 73 in Abergavenny on May 13, taught music for nearly 20 years and graduated from both the University of Wales with an undergraduate degree and the University of London, Goldsmiths College London, with a post-graduate degree.

He was born in Cardiff in 1942, moved to London with his family during the war years, but returned to Wales and spent many years living in Newport and Abergavenny.

Close friend Peter Reynolds, who studied with Mr Howells in Cardiff, said he had a passion for music from a young age.

“He was full of life and vitality, and absolutely single minded about the music he wanted to compose,” he said.

“He didn’t come from a musical family, but he heard a brass band when he was in London around five or six years old and it made such an impression on him he never stopped listening to music.”

He added: “Although he didn’t have any formal training until later in life, he taught himself how to read music and start writing it.

“By the time he got to University he was in his 30s and I was 19, so he very much knew what he was doing.

“It was fascinating to watch and be there with a composer already in the process of writing music and understanding what was required."

Mr Howells travelled extensively in Europe and America in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, working on cruise ships, hotel gigs, cabaret clubs and jazz sessions

In the early 1960s he sought out a formal musical education. He returned to Wales in October 1971 and built up a body of compositional work.

At the age of 35 in 1977 he became an undergraduate at University of Wales, Cardiff, graduating with a degree for his massive five movement Symphony No.3 1980, and winning the 1980 Walford Davies Prize for musical composition.

In the years that followed he completed major works such as his folk opera, The Earth Dream, seen in 1981 and the ambitious Choirs and Dialogues (1983).

He moved on to a Master’s postgraduate at University of London, Goldsmiths College London 1981-3. The years from 1976/7 to 1983/4 were one of his most creative periods.

Mr Reynolds added: “I’m hoping his music will survive and find new listeners now.

“It won’t die with him.”

David Lloyd Howells’ funeral will be held at 10am at Croesyceiliog Crematorium, Cwmbran, on Thursday, May 28.