Piers Hellawell’s work has been commissioned, broadcast and performed in many countries. He has for some years taught composition at the Queen’s University of Belfast, where he has the Chair of Composition; from 2000 to 2003 he was also Gresham Professor of Music, a visiting post in the City of London.
He has been commissioned by the BBC Proms, the Schubert Ensemble (recorded on NMC) and Stockholm Chamber Brass, with performances at numerous British and overseas festivals. Collaborators have included Michala Petri, Evelyn Glennie, Psappha, The RTÉ Vanbrugh String Quartet and Trio Medieval.
In 1999 Inside Story was premiered at the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts; along with other works it was recorded for the Metronome label. 2002 saw the premiere of The Pear Tree of Nicostratus, by the Hilliard Ensemble and the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, at Finland’s Kaustinen Festival, where Hellawell was featured in a major retrospective. Hellawell’s set for vocal ensemble, The Hilliard Songbook, gave rise to the Hilliard’s ECM album of that name in 1996; in 2004 it was part of their 30th anniversary celebration events, and has been performed across the world by the group.
Other projects include Degrees of Separation, for the opening of The Sage Gateshead in December 2004, Maquette for COMA's Open Score project at the 2005 Spitalfields Festival and Dogs and Wolves, for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in 2006. Sound Carvings from the Bell Foundry was premiered by Stockholm Chamber Brass in Norway and Ireland in 2006, at events to mark Hellawell’s 50th birthday year. His second string quartet, Driftwood on Sand, was released in 2007 on Hellawell’s third disc for Metronome. A major recent project is Agricolas, for Robert Plane (clarinet) and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, premiered at the 2008 Vale of Glamorgan Festival.