Patrick C. Williams, a member of the music faculty at The University of Montana-Missoula since 1975, teaches composition, theory, aural perception, and 16th- and 18th-century counterpoint. In 2007, he was asked to create and teach a course on the traditional music of Ireland as part of a new Irish Studies degree program in the College of Arts and Sciences. The course has drawn considerable interest in and performing guest artists from Ireland. He received his formal education at Eastern Michigan University, and Eastman School of Music, where he studied voice with Yi Kwei Sze and composition with Samuel Adler and Eugene Kurtz.
From 1975 to 1993, Professor Williams served as bass-baritone on the voice faculty, maintaining an active teaching and performing schedule as a recitalist and bass soloist in numerous major works for chamber ensembles and regional orchestras. As a member of the voice faculty, he designed and taught English and Italian diction, the first such course of its kind at UM. Two sets of songs were written for and dedicated to him by American composer and publisher, William Presser. With memberships in the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Choral Directors Association, he was often called upon to adjudicate at festivals across the state.
In 1977, Williams founded the UM Renaissance Singers, directing the ensemble for 23 years in formal and casual performances at the university and venues around Western Montana. The ensemble was open to and drew students from a range of disciplines at UM. In 2001, he created the UM Women’s Chorus, an ensemble that has continued under the direction of colleagues and, in most recent years, choral area GTAs, broadening the range of performance ensembles available to singers from all areas of study on campus. He was the recipient of the 1991 Distinguished Faculty Award for the School of Fine Arts.
Patrick C. Williams’ catalogue of compositions includes numerous works for vocalists, instrumentalists, choirs of every kind, and chamber pieces for winds, strings, percussion, and orchestra. As a sidelight to his work in contemporary composition, the composer takes great delight in writing 16th- and 18th-century-style motets, anthems, inventions and fugues as both teaching and performance pieces. He has, for many years, been invited to adjudicate state and national composition competitions and was honored to be selected as one of three national judges for the 2008 Music Teachers National Association student composition contest.
During the past 20 years, Williams’ personal composition projects, along with ongoing research in ‘Celtic’ music, have taken him to universities in Wales and Ireland. Works inspired by that research include: Garden Etudes for clarinet and violin, Pilgrimage, a five-movement work for chamber orchestra, Stream of Nine for woodwinds, horn, percussion and strings, and two new wind ensemble compositions: Montmartre, and The Pooka, each directly reflective of his experiences in those countries as well as France and Italy. His compositions have been performed in high schools and universities across the nation and heard on National Public Radio.
Williams continues as a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and The Society of Composers, Incorporated, and has been a member of the the SCI National Council since 1997. He has hosted two regional composition conferences, attracting and featuring composers from around the United States and Canada. Williams also served as campus representative for the College Music Society from 2000 to 2010. He has publications with Colla Voce Music, Inc. and Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.