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Colin Decio

Composer, Performer

Born: 1959


Colin Decio (the 'c' is pronounced 'ch' as in 'church' - hence Dech-io) was born in Birmingham, England to an English mother and a Ukrainian father. From 1982 he studied Piano Performing, Piano Teaching and Composition at the Birmingham School of Music (now Birmingham Conservatoire, UK), graduating in 1986 with five diplomas, which included a distinction in composition.

“I started piano lessons aged 10 – because there was a piano in the house and my brother had a good ear”. Colin took to the piano – his brother didn’t!

As a young pianist Colin won several prizes in the Cheltenham Competitive Festival including the Open Challenge Class, the Composition Class and the Accompaniment Class. Later as a mature student he was awarded the Burke Trophy for Advanced Piano, The Birmingham Midland Institute Composition Prize, the John Ireland Chamber Music Prize and was winner of the piano section of the Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto Competition with Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto, which he then went on to perform several times with orchestra as well as performing the Beethoven ‘Emperor’ Concerto.

In 1986 the legendary pianist John Ogdon performed Colin’s 1st Piano Sonata.

Shadowing Colin’s classical career has been performances as a professional keyboard player, music director, guitarist and singer working in four different British holiday parks and on two cruise ships; one for six months based in Singapore and the other for a shorter time span in the Mediterranean. This regularly involved six shows a week and accompanying of cabaret acts who would expect perfect sight-reading on the night. In 1990 he formed the progressive British rock band ‘The E Thing’ performing original material, touring and recording a CD. In 1998, further serious educational study ensued at the University of East Anglia where Colin attained a PGCE in Secondary Music Teaching. In 2004, Colin was lead singer and keyboard player in rock covers band Big Sur.

During 2005 Colin worked briefly as a session musician in Yellow-Shark Studios, Cheltenham. 2005 also saw the world-premiere of his Symphony No. 2 performed by the Cheltenham Symphony Orchestra.

Professionally Colin has performed many solo piano classical recitals often including his own compositions. As an accompanist his liaison with Anglo/French soprano Evelyne Beech has resulted in two CDs - Cotswold Songs featuring song-cycles by Colin and Air Chantes (songs by Debussy, Faure and Poulenc). He is also a skilled accompanist to various string instruments and wind instruments.

2008 saw the world-premiere of his Symphony No.1, performed by the Gloucester Symphony in Gloucester Cathedral (of Harry Potter fame). In 2012 Colin toured the UK with Souvenir d’Anne Frank, playing as pianist in the Decio Piano Trio. Souvenir d’Anne Frank is a theatre work based on Colin’s Piano Trio No.1 for Anne Frank, ‘Het Achterhuis’, which was highly praised by Anne’s cousin Budy Elias, and which tells the story of a rose named after Anne Frank.

In 2015 concert pianist Dr Mark Tanner gave the world-premiere of Colin’s 1st Piano Concerto ‘in memoriam John Ogdon’. Colin’s 2nd Piano Concerto, ‘In the Flowers of the Sun’, written after the plane crash in the Ukraine, awaits its premiere in New Zealand!

Colin’s composition, Lord Have Mercy, specially written for Palliser Viols, was premiered in the Hall of Memories, Wellington, August 2018.

In June 2022 two short works by Colin for Grade 1/2 violinists (Aue and Train Ride) were included in a new book - Easy Tunes for Tamariki by composers from Aotearoa. They were also performed in St Andrews, Wellington in a concert given by young musicians.

Colin regularly performs concerts of Piano & Poetry with his wife (Ingrid Prosser). Their programmes are mixtures of piano music from the Baroque, Classical & Romantic periods, & the 20th & 21st centuries (including Colin’s own compositions), intertwined with poetry from Ancient Greece & Rome, the Elizabethans, the 19th & 20th centuries, and new poems by Ingrid.

Colin is currently a freelance composer, teacher and pianist, and has a permanent resident visa for New Zealand.

'Highly Commended' in the Compose Aotearoa! Choral Composition Competition 2023
'First Prize' in the TAVAC Composition Competition 2022
'Commended' in the Australia and New Zealand Viola Society Winter Composition Competition 2021 'Highly Commended' in the Sounz Brass Composition Competition 2020
'First Prize & The Audience Award' in the New Zealand Double Reed Society Chamber Music Competition July 2018
'Winner' of the Burke Trophy for Advanced Piano 1986
'Winner' of the John Ireland Chamber Music Prize 1986
'Winner' of the Birmingham Midland Institute Composition Prize 1986
'Winner' of the piano section of the Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto Competition 1986

Composed (89)

A Day Trip to White Island/Whakaari

for full orchestra, 8m

A Sabbath Day

for alto voice and guitar, 15m

A Silver Swan is Barking at the Moon

for solo bass viol, 11m


for cello and piano, 10m


for violin and piano

Awkward Dance No.1

for solo piano, 3m


for Bb cornet and piano, 4m 30s

Cello Concerto

for cello and orchestra, 29m

Cello Sonata

for cello and piano, 24m


for a cappella SATB choir, 5m

Chorale for Three Bassoons

for three bassoons, 6m

Cotswold Songs

for high voice and piano, 15m


for chamber ensemble, 8m

Endless Counterpoint

for piano solo, 7m 45s

Etudes 1 – 7

for piano solo, 14m

ex cathedra

for piano solo, 5m

Fanfare for Two Trumpets in Bb

for two trumpets in Bb, 1m

Five Songs of England

for tenor voice and piano, 22m 30s

Golden Threads

for recorder ensemble, 10m

Hall of Mirrors

for beginner piano duet, 10m

Hokey Pokey

for tuba solo and piano, 3m

Inner Reflection No. 1

for piano solo, 4m 30s

Jubilation Overture

for full orchestra, 4m

Klezmer Trio Suite

for clarinet, cello and piano, 11m


for recorder consort, 4m

Little Sonatina No. 1 for Bassoon and Piano

for solo bassoon and piano, 9m 20s

Little Sonatina No. 2 for Bassoon and Piano

for solo bassoon and piano, 8m 30s

Lord Have Mercy

for viol consort, 8m

Maidan Pro Defunctis

for full orchestra, 18m

Movements in Time

for solo piano

No Time to Dance

for solo flugelhorn, 3m 30s

Once Great Nation

for brass quintet, 12m


for full orchestra, 10m

Piano Concerto No.1 'in memoriam John Ogdon'

for piano and orchestra, 32m

Piano Concerto No.2 'In the Flowers of the Sun'

for piano soloist and orchestra, 34m

Piano Quartet

for piano quartet, 11m 30s

Piano Sonata No. 1

for solo piano, 14m

Piano Sonata No. 10

for solo piano, 19m

Piano Trio No. 2

for piano trio, 12m

Piano Trio No. 3

for piano trio, 18m

Piano Trio No. 4

for piano trio, 11m 30s

Prelude for Anne Frank

for piano solo, 2m 40s

Preludes (Book Two)

for solo piano, 18m 30s

Primum non nocere

for harp solo, 10m

Ragged Time

for solo piano, 7m

Rhapsody for Viola and Piano

for viola and piano, 9m 30s

Sakura – 'Cherry Blossoms'

for piano solo, 3m 30s

Snatch !

for clarinet, 3m

Sonata for Two Pianos - Hridayam

for two pianos, 14m 20s

Sonata for Viola and Piano

for viola and piano, 19m 30s

Sonata for Violin and Piano

for violin and piano, 36m

Sonatina for Bass and Piano No. 1

for double bass and piano, 11m

Sonatina for Cello and Bass

for cello and bass, 9m 40s

Sonatina for Cello and Piano No. 1

for cello and piano, 16m

Sonatina for Cello and Piano No. 2

for cello and piano, 17m

Sonatina for Guitar

for guitar, 14m

Sonatina No. 1 for Clarinet in A and Piano

for clarinet (in A) and piano, 11m

Sonatina No. 1 for Flute and Piano

for flute and piano, 8m

Sonatina No. 1 for French Horn and Piano

for french horn and piano, 11m 40s

Sonatina No. 1 for Oboe and Piano

for oboe and piano, 15m

Sonatina No. 1 for Trumpet in Bb and Piano

for trumpet and piano, 6m

Sonatina No. 2 for Clarinet in A and Piano

for clarinet (in A) and piano, 13m

Sonatina No. 2 for Trumpet in Bb and Piano

for trumpet and piano, 10m

Sonatina No. 3 for Cello and Piano

for cello solo and piano, 16m

Songs of Travel

for tenor voice and piano, 16m

Spirits of Our Age I

for piano quintet, 13m 40s

Spirits of Our Age III

for chamber ensemble, 14m

String Quartet No. 1

for string quartet, 12m 30s

String Trio, 'Formalism'

for string trio, 23m

Suite for String Quartet

for string quartet, 14m

Symphony No. 3

for orchestra, 28m

The Musical Box Suite

for solo piano, 8m 30s

The Witches Spell

for 3 part treble choir and piano, 6m

Tiora Tioro (Viola Screech)

for solo viola, 3m 45s

Train Ride

for violin and piano

Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano

for clarinet, viola and piano, 18m 40s

Two Estampes

for piano solo, 11m

Two Short Pieces

for solo guitar, 3m

Violin Concerto

for solo violin and orchestra, 31m 30s

Wind Octet

for wind octet, 12m 30s

Wind Trio No. 1

for flute, oboe and bassoon, 10m

Zwischenspiele ('Intervals I - IV')

for recorder consort, 9m

Zwischenspiele V

for recorder sextet, 5m 30s

Performances (2)

Palliser Viols: Music with her Silver Sound

Palliser Viols premieres Colin Decio's 'Lord Have Mercy'. Admission: $25 Students: $15 ...

Swan Song | Music for bass viols and rebec

A solo concert in Futuna Chapel given by **Robert Oliver** of Palliser Viols. Featuring the fi...