Owain Arwel Hughes CBE (born 1942) is a Welsh orchestral conductor. Among his numerous titles are Principal Associate Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, Aalborg Symphony in Denmark and the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and Principal Guest Conductor of the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.
Hughes was born in Cardiff, the son of another successful musician, composer Arwel Hughes. He studied at University College, Cardiff, and the Royal College of Music. He studied conducting under Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink and Rudolf Kempe.
He became well known after a rousing televised performance of William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, which won the praise of the composer himself. He later hosted a BBC series, The Much-Loved Music Show. From 1980 to 1986, he was Associate Conductor of the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, and from 1994 to 1999 he was Principal Conductor of the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. He has also made numerous recordings, including works such as Verdi's Requiem and Handel's Messiah. He has championed less well-known composers, including recording a complete cycle of the symphonies of the Danish composer Vagn Holmboe. He is also the Artistic Director of the Welsh Proms, which he founded in 1986, and has been Principal Conductor and Music Director of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales since 2003.
In 2004, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to music. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours.
Hughes has also for many years been the Chairman of Governors at the John Lyon School, in Harrow - one of the country's top independent day schools. A dedicated family man, Hughes has been married to his wife Jean for over 40 years. His son, Geraint is a familiar face to sports fans. He is a former Sports Correspondent for BBC News and currently works for Sky Sports.
^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58929. p. 7. 31 December 2008.