with Fudge Animation
Fudge Animation have offices in London and Sandhurst. Most of their work is commercial animation but they are about to expand the development of their own animated series and properties. In the past, most of their music has come from production libraries, but we are now planning to work closely together to enable them to offer bespoke music for as many of their productions as possible. I am very impressed by Dan Weaver, James Hill and the whole team. Watch this space!
of the Galaxy Vol.2
At the last minute, I was asked to help proof read the scores for the mammoth week-long recording session at Abbey Road, conducted by Tim Williams. I can’t wait to see and hear the finished result which even in draft versions sounded stunning. It helped me appreciate once again what an amazing team effort goes into every film production.
for Thameside Cycle
Ben Alden, tenor soloist from St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle was joined by pianist, Sally Goodworth playing on a Yamaha CFX concert grand piano. They recorded my recently commissioned song cycle, inspired by the river Thames with lyrics by Patricia Beall-Gavigan. It has its challenging moments, but they created an expressive and powerful performance. The recording will be available soon.
Bok Publishing - Finalist in SwissInnovation challenge
Entrepreneur, Ollie Adkins, illustrator, Amy McSimpson, scriptwriter Lee Squires and I (sound design and composition) are the creative team behind startup company, Bok Publishing. Our launch project combines a beautiful children’s book with an app to allow the readers to record a stunning audio book using voice transformation and sound design. 500 entries in the SwissInnovation challenge have been reduced to ten, including us with the winners being announced in Basel.
Sound design and music completed for Fleetmatics commercial projects
Nick Hill, creative director at No Magnolia approached me to create the sound design and music for two fun 3D animated films for applied technology client, Fleetmatics. The final edit was provided with no sound and everything you hear on the finished film was sourced, recorded and mixed here at Clear Sky Studio. No Magnolia then produced a fascinating overview of the whole creative process.
Clear Sky Studio - launch of new studio web site and blog
Domain names registered, web site designed and launched - hoping that it captures the essence of this special place.
Flying visit to Los Angeles
Wonderful summer weather, generous hospitality from Frank and Leigh Rautenbach (including car), and great times with composer, Tim Williams, sound engineer, Tim Jaquette, Bart and Patricia Gavigan, Gregg Helvey and Kevin O’Neill.
First performance of 'I Know A Bank Where The Wild Thyme Blows'
Another opportunity to collaborate with Geraint Thomas, using Shakespeare’s beautiful text from the opening of Act 2 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Written for soprano voice, piano, glockenspiel and marimba and performed by exceptional students from Leighton Park School as part of the Christmas Evening Meeting. Having had such a good experience with this, I am hoping to set some more Shakespeare texts soon.
First performance of composition commission - 'Thameside Cycle'
Another collaboration with lyricist, Patricia Beall Gavigan and a set of three songs inspired by the River Thames written for tenor voice and piano. The first performance was at a private concert in the home of Lord and Lady Phillimore, Coppid Hall in Binfield Heath. The war poet, Wilfred Owen lived in nearby Dunsden from 1911 to 1913, and the concert was organised by the Dunsden Owen Association. What a rich evening, with a combination of live music, art films, readings and storytelling. For more details, here is the review.
Today there was a mini photo shoot of the studio. We are so pleased with the results, a dream place to work in, full of creative possibilities.
First gathering of BoK Publishing creative team
A new and exciting startup project with some very talented people. Ollie Adkins - CEO, Lee Squires - scriptwriter, and Amy Squires - illustrator with me on sound design and music. We met up at Stour Space Studios - my first time in the area developed for the 2012 London Olympics - lots of creative people working here, a great cafe, and a great buzz!
Site ready for new recording studio
Oscar long list nomination for 'Walking with the Enemy'
Any day now, the builders will arrive to begin constructing the studio, which should take four weeks. The site was cleared and base constructed before Christmas.
Huge congratulations to Tim Williams for achieving this! I have great memories of working on this with Tim conducting and Andrew Dudman engineering - a great team!
Launch event for the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila at The Carmelite Priory, Kensington. The event was completely packed out with standing room only. Despite having a seat reserved for me as composer in the front row, we were delayed and ended up standing up at the back. A very special evening never-the-less, and great to see the work on the CD bearing fruit with wonderful live performances.
Composition commission and recording
Recording session in London for the St. Teresa of Avila fifth centenary CD. The venue, St. John the Evangelist, Upper Norwood is very popular for classical recordings, and just around the corner from my family home. The professional singers comprising The Choir of the Carmelite Priory, Kensington (dir. Simon Lloyd) and organist, Robert Patterson sounded wonderful (despite the heavy rain outside), especially as we were recording in surround sound. My music, The Carmelite Blessing, and various sung responses went really well too.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Another visit to Abbey Road Studios, this time sitting in on film scoring session for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' with Tyler Bates and Tim Williams – such great music, and some very moving scenes.
Eagle Mountain by Robert Steven Hunt launched
I met Robert at an Arts Collective event in Reading a while ago, and subsequently he started an online presence for his compositions. He is currently Number 1 on the ReverbNation National UK Classical Charts and Number 15 on the World/Global Classical Charts. I have been producing and orchestrating his first album, and it has now been released online with cdbaby and CDs are being manufactured shortly too.
Ruckus wins BFI Future Film award for animation
BAFTA nomination (long list) for Ruckus
Ruckus wins BFI Future Film award for animation 23/2/2014
An outstanding achievement for the whole team. As a bonus, Ruckus finally goes public on the internet too. You can view it here: www.ruckusanimation.com
It was a wonderful surprise to realise that animated short, "Ruckus" had been nominated for a BAFTA in the animated short category. That the animation team had produced this while still students was a phenomenal achievement given the competition, and although it didn't make it to the short list, we were all thrilled nevertheless.
BAFTA Conversation with Dario Marianelli, Royal Albert Hall
Ever since watching Pride and Prejudice (2005 with Keira Knightly), I have loved the romanticism and classical idiom of Darios Marianelli's music, and was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet him and hear him speak. Atonement was featured in the talk, and the expressive use of the typewriter discussed. Apparently, live performances feature a virtuoso typewriter musician too!
Abbey Road Sessions
I had three days working in Studio 1 with the Abbey Road team and 75 of the finest orchestral musicians in the world recording the soundtrack for "Walking with the enemy" featuring Ben Kingsley. Hollywood composer Timothy Williams was conducting his own score and asked me to be score supervisor and direct the sessions along with the chief Abbey Road engineer. Everything about the experience was superlative, and everyone so easy to work with. At the end of the project, the Abbey Road guys commented - a session doesn't get any slicker than that - we got through a huge amount of material in the time.
Screening of Ruckus, The Moving Picture Company, Soho
Out of the blue I was approached by Oscar Rickett and the team of seven final year NCCA students (possibly the best place to study animation in the UK). It was only after I agreed to compose the soundtrack for their animation that I realised what a big job it was and that I had little more than a week to complete it. I completed a demo score on piano, and then orchestrated it. It is in the 'Mickey Mouse' style - microscopic music where every on screen gesture has a musical equivalent. Their quality of animation was off the scale in terms of technique, imagination, ideas and execution. It was a privilege to be involved in such a special project.
BAFTA Masterclass with Gabriel Yared
Famous for his collaborations with Anthony Minghella, this was a truly inspiring evening. Gabriel has a no compromise attitude to his composing and looks to past classical masters such as Bach for his inspiration as well as being a great believer in the spiritual dimension of music and creativity. I also loved the window into his close friendship working relationship with Minghella, and the value of the composer being involved right from the start of a project.
"Enough Food If" Campaign
Musicians from Leighton Park School performed the premier of "Jubilee Shout" for brass and percussion which I wrote specially for the regional launch of the "Enough Food If" campaign. I was interviewed about the piece for the press release on the day:
"Jubilee Shout" - my understanding of Jubilee is this idea that we have to be careful about thinking that things belong to us too tightly, and that we should be more careful to think about one another. And so a shout is to say well let's share that principle, let's share what we have.
And then the Latin American thing - you know some years ago I did go to Brazil, and that left its mark on me. So this sort of Latin American summery, fiesta feel seemed like a good idea to combine with this jubilee idea ... and also in the middle of a cold, grey day!
I decided I needed to brush up on some of the composing skills which I first studied as part of my music degree, and so have enrolled to study counterpoint at the University of Oxford with Jonathan Darnborough. Our text book is based on the music of Palestrina, and was used by many composers in the history of music including Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and many others to the present day. It's proving quite a brain workout, but very stimulating. No plans at the moment to write fugues, but who knows!
I went to a BAFTA masterclass today given by film director, Peter Strickland. I was intrigued to discover that he has some Reading connections, and was involved with the Progress Theatre for a while, as well as running a film club at the University. His approach to sound and music in films is very unusual and experimental. His most recent film was even called 'Berberian Sound Studio' - named after the experimental singer, Cathy Berberian, and telling the story of a film sound designer. It was a great evening, with lots of inspiration to 'think outside of the box creatively'.
First performance of "Nativity Blessing" for unaccompanied 4 part choir at Brookside Church in Reading. Using a mixture of major and minor tonality, this miniature was written with the idea of a closing blessing at the end of a Christmas concert - a moment of peace and reflection as well as anticipation.
As Joseph was a walking
New carol, "As Joseph was a walking" has first performance. Inspired by the carol singing passage in "Cider with Rosie" by Laurie Lee which quotes the Charles Kingsley poem of 1899, I tracked down the additional verses and set it for singer, piano and clarinet. The response was very positive, and resulted in a total of four performances within the space of two weeks including an adaptation for choir.
Bringing music to poetry
"Questions" is a poem written by my friend, Patricia Beall Gavigan who is also the artistic director for the choir, A440. I was commissioned to set the poem for 4 part choir, piano and vocal soloist, and it explores the reactions of Mary to her role in the Christmas story. The response to a weekend of performances including the premier was very positive, especially from the singers.
Magic of the Berbers
I've just returned from my first trip to Africa - a long weekend in Marrakech. One of the highlights was a visit to the spectacular oasis which is the Jardin Majorelle, and in particular the Musée Berbère which had been open for a year. Owned by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, the new museum explores the history and culture of the Berbers in a quite magical way. There was something about it which I found moving and inspiring and I am now exploring the Berber culture further. Watch this space!
Abbey Road Studios
A wonderful day at Abbey Road Studios with Timothy Williams, Tyler Bates and the rest of the creative team and production team from Sony. Tim was over from LA conducting sessions in Studio 1 for a big new game release. As well as catching up with Tim, a fantastic chat with Tyler Bates, I also got to meet top session musician fixer, Isobel Griffiths. Wonderful place, people and atmosphere - a day to remember!
Brass session recording
Torbjörn Hultmark recruited me to be sound engineer for a session recording some of the best brass players in London. A church in Wimbledon, famous for its acoustics was selected, and a grand sound was produced, both by the brass quintet and later 12 trumpets. The latter produced a whole new sound world to me - awesome and beautiful. The building was left standing!
Composition for new stage piece
Following a lunchtime concert at the University of Reading featuring my music, discussions have begun with local personality, Bill Gulliver to compose and produce a work for stage based on the Tennyson poem, "The Lady of Shalott". The original idea was for a ballet, but could evolve into a contemporary dance piece or musical. Much of the research and preparation has been done, and it is now time to gather the composition and choreography ideas and work on the production.
Planning permission granted
Planning permission for the studio has been granted. Now for building regulations, and then the search for a builder. It's a slow journey but the destination is getting closer! The latest acquisition is a valve microphone.
Exciting new live show
I am teaming up with composer, trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist, Torbjörn Hultmark to produce a contemporary but accessible programme of new music to be performed for the first time in May. As well as featuring brass instruments, we will be including synths, sound processing, percussion and computer programmed elements to create a 60 minute, seamless musical journey. Dates and times will be publicized soon.
Potential new feature film project
Producer, Richard Pim has teamed up with director, Robin Swailes and Oxford-based production company, The Film And Video Company to create a prologue version of the feature film, "The Blue Havana Club". I am delighted to have been asked to create some musical ideas for the opening credits and other cues. Watch this space!
Expanded Sample Library
I have now added the magnificent EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Platinum Complete sample library to my collection. 24bit samples, with many varieties of articulations and tone covering all the sections of the orchestra - this has expanded my palette considerably. 16 DVDs of data take quite a while to install! I'm loving the new sounds.
Our Country's Good
I have agreed to write incidental music for this challenging play. Set in Australia in 1789, it tells the story of a group of men and women, deported from Britain for sometimes small crimes, and having to endure a harsh military regime. They find a degree of redemption in the staging of a play, and the conclusion is optimistic and even triumphant.
Because of its huge significance at the time (Mozart was writing his finest piano concertos in Vienna), I have decided to feature the piano. I was also inspired by the ideas expressed in the film, "The Piano", with music by Michael Nyman, which is set in New Zealand in the mid 1800s.
It is an honour for me to work with Director, Geraint Thomas, and the highly-regarded drama department at Leighton Park School. Although this play is well known in the profession, and is an A level set work, this is a rare opportunity to see the play live.
L.A. Trip went beyond expectations
I have now returned from L.A. with many wonderful memories. I spent time with three different film composers (Jonathan David Neal, Timothy Williams and Kevin Doucette; sat in on a recording session for Disney at Igloo Music; received great input from Tim Jaquette at Citrus College; had some great advice and encouragement from designer, Kevin O'Neill.
The Hollywood Bowl rehearsal and gig (Journey to India) with A.R. Rahman was a great highlight. Matt Dunkley did an impressive job conducting the L.A. Philharmonic, I got to meet the senior sound engineer, Fred Vogler, and even helped out running the pro-tools rig at the rehearsal!
My hosts, Etienne Van Straaten (Culver City) and the Potter family (Pasadena) were so kind to me, creating a strong sense of a home from home.
There was such a strong sense of momentum while I was there, that I am now considering when to book a return trip!
Surround system installed
I wish you could sit here and listen to this. My new, made-in-Finland Genelec 8030s with sub 6.1 surround system is now up and running. Although much of my work is in stereo, I believe it is critical to have the surround sound as your reference point while composing. I am also really pleased with the Danish-made t.c.electronic studiokonnekt 48 which controls the whole system via ethernet remote controller. Aren't those Scandinavians clever (I am a quarter Norwegian - if only it were more)!
The Film-maker's Son
Having completed sound mixing at Pinewood Studios with Gemma Nicholson, final post process has now concluded in Soho, London. What a treat it was for me to spend a couple of days at Pinewood soaking up 'the vibe' and meeting some wonderful people.
Music Box Studio
The next phase of expansion is on track. My friends Dave Martin (acoustic consultant) and David Holtham (architect) have done great work, and the designs have now gone for planning permission. A fully sound insulated and treated working space with live room and control room is every musician's dream. I can't believe it's happening.
Trip to L.A. July 2011 including A.R. Rahman at the Hollywood Bowl
I depart from London Heathrow on Sunday 3rd July for two weeks. I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to spend time with some top people including: Tim Jaquette (manager of the amazing Citrus Recording Studios); Timothy Williams (composer); Jonathan David Neal (composer and Society of Composers and Lyricist board member); Kevin O'Neal (designer and producer).
Little did I know that while I am there, my friend from school days, Matt Dunkley will be in town. He is a very successful film orchestrator and will be conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra with oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman at the Hollywood Bowl. The programme, 'Journey to India' has an extra resonance for me as my Dad was born in India. I can't wait!