As Founder and Artistic Director, Owain Arwel Hughes is the driving force behind the success of the Cardiff Welsh Proms. Inaugurated in 1986, it has become one of the major UK music festivals attracting orchestras and leading artists from around the world. Committed to the highest level of music education for young people Owain Arwel Hughes accepted the position of Music Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales in 2003, the oldest such youth orchestra in the world. He has held the titles of Associate Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, London, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. As Principal Conductor of the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Denmark, he raised the orchestra's profile with major recordings of Danish music. Acclaimed for his direction of large scale choral works Owain Arwel Hughes had a highly successful period as Conductor of the world famous Huddersfield Choral Society between 1980 and 1986.
Owain Arwel Hughes enjoys a long-standing relationship with the recording label BIS for whom he has recorded the entire orchestral, concerto and choral output of Vagn Holmboe and all Rachmaninov's symphonies and concertos. Recently released recordings include Holst's Planets with the Royal Philharmonic, the complete Brahms symphonies and overtures with the Stuttgart Philharmonic and the complete Tchaikovsky piano/orchestral works with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. Releases with BIS in 08/09 include the world premiere recordings of Schnittke’s Concerto Grosso and Symphony No.9 with Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. Future releases in 10/11 include Walton Symphony 1 and 2 with the Orchestre National de Lille and a CD of the music of Arwel Hughes with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Arwel Hughes’ conducting commitments include the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, Aalborg Symfoniorkester, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre National de Lille. Owain Arwel Hughes’ contribution to music has been marked with honorary doctorates and fellowships at nine universities and conservatoires. In 2004 in recognition of his services to music and charity he was awarded an OBE and in January 2009 he was the recipient of a CBE.