A Mission to Commission
W11 Opera regularly commissions operas from Britain’s leading modern composers. If you are a composer interested in writing for W11 then please consult our commission brief. If you would like to pursue a submission to the Commissioning Team you should send your CV, together with sample recordings of your work, hopefully including some choral or music drama pieces written for young people. It is also helpful to have details of a possible librettist. Please note that, given the unusual nature of the Company and its young cast, it is hugely beneficial to have seen a W11 production prior to making a submission.
On this page you can learn more about composers previously commissioned by W11 Opera. The table below contains links to brief biographies, as well as links to the Past Years pages containing synopses, pictures, musical excerpts, and other items about particular productions.
|2017||The Cutlass Crew||Stuart Hancock|
|2016||The Price||Russell Hepplewhite|
|2015||Eliza & the Swans||John Barber|
|2014||Deep Waters||Cecilia McDowall|
|2013||The Fizz||Martin Ward|
|2012||Good Intentions||Julian Philips|
|2011||Original Features||Julian Grant|
|2010||Rain Dance||Stuart Hancock|
|2009||The Whale Savers||Martin Ward|
|2008||The Song of Rhiannon||Mark Bowden|
|2006||Chincha-Chancha Cooroo||Bernard Hughes|
|2004||All in the Mind||Edward Lambert|
|2003||Game Over||Guy Dagul|
|2001||Flying High||Graham Preskett|
|2000||Deep Waters||Cecilia McDowall|
|1996||Ulysses and the Wooden Horse||Timothy Kraemer|
|1995||The Dancing Princesses||Bill Connor|
|1993||Travellers Tale||Michael Kamen|
|1992||Listen to the Earth||Steve Gray|
|1991||A Time of Miracles||Richard Harvey|
|1990||Double Trouble||Louisa Lasdun|
|1988||The Return of Odysseus||David Bedford|
|1987||Ulysses and the Wooden Horse||Timothy Kraemer|
|1986||The Tin Knight||Francis Shaw|
|1985||Bel and the Dragon||John Gardner|
|1984||The Adventures of Jonah||Timothy Kraemer|
|1983||Rainbow Planet||Christopher Gunning|
|1980||Mak the Sheep Stealer *||Herbert Chappell|
|1978||The Girl and the Unicorn||Stephen Oliver|
|1977||The Adventures of Jonah||Timothy Kraemer|
|1976||Like This, Like That||Timothy Kraemer|
|1975||Joseph *||Andrew Lloyd Webber|
|1974||The Winter Star *||Malcolm Williamson|
|1973||Bel and the Dragon||John Gardner|
|1972||The Pied Piper||Christopher Bowers-Broadbent|
|1971||Noye’s Fludde *||Benjamin Britten|
* Not a W11 Commission
He studied with Sir Harrison Birtwistle (Kings College London) and David Sawer (Royal College of Music) and has gone on to compose for some of the country’s leading arts institutions including the Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe, Spitalfields Festival and Glyndebourne.
In 2015, recent and upcoming projects include creating the music for Max Webster’s highly acclaimed production of Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe (which returns this year for a second run), Songs of Songs – 3 choral settings from The Song of Solomon for choir which were commissioned and premiered by The Sixteen in June 2014 and Seven Seeds – a major new oratorio based on the Persephone Myth which was performed by Aurora orchestra, the Bach Choir and nearly 2000 young singers from across London in the Royal Albert Hall in June 2015.
David Bedford was born in London in 1937 of a musical family, (his grandmother was the composer Liza Lehmann, and his mother, Lesley Duff, was a member of the English Opera Group just after the war and took part in several Britten premières).
He began composing at the age of seven and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Lennox Berkeley. A grant awarded by the RAM in 1961 enabled him to study with Luigi Nono in Venice.
In the late 60s he played keyboards with Kevin Ayers’ cult band ‘The Whole World’, which led to numerous collaborations with musicians from the rock world, most notably in arrangements for Mike Oldfield, Madness, Elvis Costello, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Roy Harper, Propaganda, China Crisis, Enya, Billy Bragg and many more.
He also wrote orchestrations for the films ‘The Killing Fields’, ‘Supergrass’, ‘Absolute Beginners’, ‘Meeting Venus’, ‘Orlando’, and was Choral Coordinator for ‘The Mission’. He wrote original music for several of the Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense TV series.
Another aspect of Bedford’s work was composing for educational purposes – he was appointed Youth Music Director of the English Sinfonia in 1986, and Composer in Association in 1994. His music in this genre ranges from small pieces for pupils with little or no musical knowledge, to 7 school operas. He was in frequent demand for creative workshops and composition projects throughout the U.K. and overseas. His innovative approach has led to such works as ‘Seascapes’ (1986) and ‘Frameworks’ (1989), in which students are encouraged to create their own music in the context of a public concert with a professional orchestra – these two pieces have so far involved over 4000 students. His largest major educational piece is ‘Stories from the Dreamtime’, (1991) for 40 deaf children and symphony orchestra. From 1996 to 1999, he was Creative Projects Director for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
In 1994, he was elected to the board of the Performing Right Society, becoming Deputy Chair (writer) in 1999. In 2000 he was elected as Chair of the new Performing Right Society Foundation, and in 2001, he was elected as Chairman of the Performing Right Society itself for 2002-2004. He was also elected to the board of the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters at its inauguration in 1999. In 1998, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Trinity College of Music.
For over 35 years he received commissions from major orchestras, festivals, ensembles and soloists, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, English Sinfonia, English Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, John Alldis Choir, Singcircle, Crouch End Festival Chorus, Electric Phoenix, Endymion Ensemble, Sir Peter Pears, Jane’s Minstrels, BASBWE, The Composers Ensemble, The Aldeburgh Festival, Harrogate Festival, Spitalfields Festival, Chelmsford Festival, Huddersfield Festival, Kings Lynn Festival, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and many BBC commissions including 4 for the Proms.
Sadly David passed away in 2011.
Mark Bowden is a composer living and working in London. He has recently completed new works for the Philharmonia Orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, CoMA at the Spitalfields Festival and the Richard Alston Dance Company. In 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize. Mark was appointed the first composer-in-residence at Handel House Museum in 2006-2007. He is a lecturer in composition at Royal Holloway, University of London and he also teaches at the Royal College of Music Junior Department.
Born in South Wales in 1979, Mark gained a first class degree in Music from the University of Huddersfield before studying composition with Julian Anderson at the Royal College of Music. His commissions comprise instrumental, chamber and orchestral music as well as music for voice, dance and film. Mark’s music has been performed by many leading performers and ensembles at festivals and events throughout the UK, Europe and the USA and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and Resonance fm. Mark is a founder member of the critically acclaimed Camberwell Composers’ Collective.
Christopher Bowers-Broadbent’s early musical education was as a Chorister in the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. After a formal education at Berkhamsted School he went on to study both organ and composition at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he subsequently became Professor of Organ, from 1973 to 1992, and a Fellow. His appearance on many CDs, in particular for ECM in music by Arvo Pärt (with whom he has worked closely for over 20 years), has brought him widespread recognition, and his career as a concert organist and composer takes him to many areas of the globe. He virtually commuted to Germany during July last year, appeared in a Prom Concert on August 17th, and recorded and toured extensively in Estonia throughout September. He has been Organist and Choirmaster of Gray’s Inn since 1984, and Organist of the West London Synagogue (with ecumenical aplomb) since 1973.
He has never ceased to compose works of all genres, and some recent ones include a 35-minute orchestral piece A ship bound for Tarshish (based on the Book of Jonah, – one of many collaborations with painter Elizabeth Hannaford), The Song at the Sea for organ, strings and timpani, (premiered in North Germany in 2002, and performed in Norway earlier this year), 7 Words (an organ solo in seven movements commissioned by the Leipzig Gewandhaus), and the final re-write of his 1982 opera The Last Man, which was performed in Gray’s Inn Hall in 2003. He has just completed 2 short pieces for the German vocal group ‘Singer Pur’, and is now working on a large commission from the Estonian Chamber Choir.
Bill Connor has made his living as a composer since the 1970’s working across many genres and media from rock and jazz to the symphony orchestra. He has written music for over 300 film and television projects and spent 6 years as composer-in-residence for Granada Television in Manchester UK.
He has written many music theatre pieces and has devised music/drama projects for the BBC Philharmonic in the community and Strangeways prison including a community opera for the 75th anniversary of the BBC. He is well known for his work in the community, especially with young people, bringing together traditional performance practices with communal composition and group improvisation.
He has worked as composer and conductor with many orchestras across the world and was Composer-in-Residence (1996-99) with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in Australia with a particular focus on music/drama in the community.
His concert music includes Operas, Symphonic music, music-theatre, Concerti and many theatrical pieces bringing together the Symphony Orchestra, actors, children and audience as he has done on three occasions for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He has written much chamber music and his love of language and words is evident in the many choral pieces. As a conductor he has a wide range of music from the classical repertoire to contemporary British and American orchestral and chamber music.
Guy’s career took two parallel courses after he had graduated from the RNCM and Manchester University with two degrees. As a concert pianist, apart from appearing regularly with his parents (Isabel Beyer and Harvey Dagul), with whom he made many recordings and TV appearances, Guy was a busy soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. He has played in most of the leading concert halls — Wigmore Hall, Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal Festival Hall, etc — was a member of the Decchler Piano Trio and accompanist to the London Elizabethan Singers.
Guy worked on numerous projects with George Fenton and Trevor Jones. Having created a piano album of George’s work, and performed his music on stage (with Alan Bates, Zoe Wannamaker, Tim Piggot-Smith, Robert Hardy, Jennifer Ehle and others) in theatrical productions, Guy became orchestrator for Trevor and worked in his studios in London and Hollywood on many projects in all sorts of roles including co-composer on such films as Mississippi Burning, Sea of Love, Arachnophobia, Last of the Mohicans, Cliffhanger, and In the Name of the Father.
Guy went ‘solo’ in 1995, set up his own impressive studio at his home in Oxfordshire and has since composed music for a fantastic variety of programmes for both TV and radio. Recent film work includes scoring Greenfingers with Helen Mirren, Natasha Little, and Clive Owen, Happy Birthday produced and directed by Helen Mirren and starring John Goodman and he is currently working on a South Bank Special Feature, Broken Morning.
Film: Greenfingers, Happy Birthday, Anticlock, Broken Morning – South Bank Special (ITV), Mississippi Burning*, Sea of Love*, Blame it on the Bellboy*, Arachnophobia*, Freejack*, Last of the Mohicans*, Cliffhanger*, In the Name of the Father*, Hideaway*, Kiss of Death*
*As Co-composer, orchestrator, conductor and keyboards
Television: Paddington Green (BBC), Willo The Wisp, Delia’s How to Cook (BBC), Cover Up (ITV) series, Natural World-Shipwrecks of the Coral Seas (BBC), Charles and Camilla (ITV/Diverse), Equinox (Channel 4), Party Animals (Curious / Channel 4) children’s series, The Investigators (Curious / Channel 4) children’s series, Wild Islands (Channel 5), Running the Gauntlet (Carlton) , Mary Archer (Ladybird/Channel 4), Dawn of the Maya (National Geographic Special), The Hunt For Lord Lucan (Ladybird/Channel 4), Krakatoa (Pioneer/Channel 4) and many more.
George Fenton began writing scores in 1974 after a brief career performing and song writing. He now works exclusively in theatre, TV and film.
Theatre work includes scores for The Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, the Royal Exchange Theatre, the Royal Court and Peter Gill’s productions at Riverside Studios.
His film career began with films on television such as Out and Bloody Kids, moving on to drama series including, The Jewel in the Crown, The Monocled Mutineer and The History Man. In addition he has written music for numerous Alan Bennett plays, films and monologues as well as the major documentary series, The Trials of Life, Life in the Freezer, Shanghai Vice and The Blue Planet.
He has composed for a wide variety of feature films, receiving Academy Award nominations for his work on The Fisher King, Dangerous Liaisons, Cry Freedom, and Gandhi. Other Scores include: The Madness of King George, Groundhog Day, Shadowlands, Ever After, Sweet Home Alabama, Stage Beauty, and Hitch as well as many of Ken Loach’s films such as Land and Freedom, My Name is Joe, and Ae Fond Kiss.
Following the broadcast of The Blue Planet in 2001 for which he won Ivor Novello, BAFTA and Emmy awards for best television score, he has taken the show, Blue Planet Live! on tour performing in London at The Royal Festival Hall and Proms in the Park as well as overseas in Hong Kong, Copenhagen, Montreal and at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. He has also written the score for the BBC documentary series Planet Earth.
His most recent film scores are Nick Hytner’s The History Boys and Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes The Barley, winner of the Palme d’Or — the top prize at the Cannes film festival in May 2006.
His first public performances of note were those of his Second Piano Sonata (London 1934) and his Rhapsody for Oboe and String Quartet (French Radio 1939. His First Symphony received its premiere at the 1951 Cheltenham Festival, followed by a ballet for the 1952 Edinburgh Festival, a choral work for the 1952 Three Choirs Festival, and the opera The Moon and Sixpence for the Sadler’s Wells Opera Company (1957).
Since then has produced two more symphonies, several large-scale cantatas, concertos for piano, trumpet, organ, and oboe, two more string quartets, three more operas, including The Visitors (Aldeburgh) and Tobermory (Royal Academy of Music). One of his most popular carols, written in the 1960s, is Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day. The choral anthology, A Cappella, of which he was the instigator and, with Simon Harris, co-editor, was published by OUP in 1992.
He was made a CBE in 1976 and sadly passed away in 2011, aged 94.
Julian Grant’s operas include The Skin Drum (winner, 1988 National Opera Association of America’s biennial chamber opera competition: produced at Banff, New Mexico, Oberlin and the ENO Studio), Out of Season (ROH Garden Venture, 1991 – nominated for an Olivier Award), A Family Affair (Almeida 1993), Jump Into My Sack (Mecklenburgh 1996), Platform 10 and Odd Numbers for Tête-à-Tête, and A Very Private Beach (ENO Knack 2004). He has been involved extensively in education work with the major opera houses; notably workshop leader for English National Opera’s 1990 tour of Russia, and further projects culminating in composed community operas for ENO (The Queen of Sheba’s Legs 1991), Blackheath Concert Halls (The Uninvited 1997) and the Royal Opera (Heroes Don’t Dance 1998). He has written many chamber, instrumental, orchestral and vocal works, and has arranged new performing versions of Debussy’s The Fall of the House of Usher (Banff 1987), Thea Musgrave’s Harriet Tubman, A Woman Called Moses (Norfolk Opera [USA] 1994) Beethoven’s Fidelio (Birmingham Opera/ BBC4 2002) and Eugene Onegin (Scottish Opera, 2004).
From 1996-2002, he lived in Hong Kong and Tokyo and was a research consultant at Hong Kong University, a producer and presenter for RTHK Radio 4’s daily program, Morning Call (Fine Arts Channel), as well as musical director of the Hong Kong Singers and guest conductor at the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts. From 2002-7 he was Director of Music at St. Paul’s Girl’s School, a post previously held by Gustav Holst, Vaughan-Williams and Herbert Howells. During his tenure there he wrote a series of pieces for the school, including a celebration of the school’s centenary in 2004 – The Prevailing Tree a cantata, Timepiece, and a new piece for an extensive tour of China in 2008. Recent premieres include Tillie’s Allsorts, a song-cycle for Sarah Leonard, a piano trio for Double Image, Double Trouble, for Melvyn Tan’s 50th birthday celebrations at the Wigmore Hall in October, and two operas for Tête-à-Tête: Anger, and Odysseus Unwound, which involved traditional knitters, spinners and weavers from Shetland, the conception of which was featured on BBC2’s Culture Show. He writes regularly on musical matters and is a correspondent for Opera magazine UK, and in 2009 took part in the Virginia Arts Festival’s symposium on music theatre. Andromache Music published his complete songs and a piano collection, Shivereens, in 2009. Grant currently divides his time between Princeton, London and Brooklyn, where he is Composer-in-Residence at Saint Ann’s School. His choral piece In a Fog – Remember, commissioned in memory of 9/11, was premièred in Brooklyn by the Grace and Spiritus Chorale in January 2011. His most recent commission, Original Features, is a children’s opera for the 40th anniversary of W11 Opera which previously commissioned Shadowtracks in 2007. Original Features will première at Riverside Studios, London, in December.
Born 1944 in Northeast England. Session musician (keyboards) London 1967-1979, during which time he played for Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, Michel Legrand, Lalo Schifrin, Peggy Lee, Sammy Davis Jr, John Barry and many others. Keyboard player in Sky from 1980 onwards, touring UK, Europe, Australia, Japan and recording several chart albums. Full-time arranger/composer from the mid 80s working in fields of both jazz and orchestral music. From 1991 he worked frequently as composer, arranger and conductor with North German Radio (NDR) Big Band in Hamburg.
Compositions include a Guitar Concerto, recorded by John Williams with Paul Daniel conducting the LSO, a Jazz Piano Concerto for Martial Solal, two operas for W11, a Requiem Mass for Choir and Big Band, recorded by the NDR Big Band and Choir, and A Little History, recorded on EMI by Eddie Daniels with Sabine Meyer and the Trio Di Clarone. Collaborated with Brian Eno on large-scale orchestrations of Eno’s works for the Holland Festival. Guest Professor of Jazz Composition and Arrangement at the Hochschüle Fur Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin, 1998-99. Prepared a modern version of Emilio di Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo(1599) for performance by Cologne Opera in May 2005. Steve Gray died in September 2008 and is survived by his wife Heather, daughter Suzanne and grand-daughter.
Christopher Gunning is a composer of music for films and television and concert works. His extensive film and TV compositions have received many awards, and he has won three BAFTA awards for Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Middlemarch, and Porterhouse Blue, and three Ivor Novello awards for Rebecca, Under Suspicion, and Firelight. His scores for The Big Battalions, Wild Africa, Cold Lazarus, When the Whales Came, and Winalot Prime have also received nominations for BAFTA and Ivor Novello awards, and his music for the Martini advertising campaign, heard around the world for thirty years, has won three Clio awards.
Christopher Gunning’s music is heard increasingly in concert halls. As well as performances of his television and film scores, his Concerto for Saxophone and Orchestra and The Lobster have been programmed in various venues including London’s South Bank. The Saxophone Concerto, played by John Harle with the Academy St. Martin in the Fields, has been released on the Sanctuary Classics Label, The Lobster is available on the Meridien label, and the Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 1, and Storm have recently been released by Albany Records.
Until recently Christopher Gunning composed the music for nearly all of the Poirot films featuring David Suchet as the famous Belgian detective. Chris also worked on all three series of Rosemary and Thyme featuring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris, and is currently scoring La Mome, a major feature film of the life of Edith Piaf starring Marion Cotillard and directed by Olivier Dahan. Symphony No. 3 is also nearing completion.
Orchard Music is the publisher of most of the music of Christopher Gunning.
Since graduating from the Royal College of Music in 1972, Richard Harvey has been a ubiquitous presence on the London music scene. His early forays into the professional world involved playing recorder and early woodwinds with his own group Gryphon and ancient music pioneers Musica Reservata. His later work with composer Maurice Jarre led him into film composing in the late 1970s and it has been his principal activity ever since.
Career Highlights include:
- 1984 – date Principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for “Classic Rock”
- 1988 – date Regular member of John Williams and Friends
- 1989 Composed Oratorio “Plague and the Moonflower” (to libretto by Ralph Steadman performed in Exeter, Salisbury, Canterbury and St Paul’s Cathedrals, and recipient of Best BBC TV Art’s Film in 1990)
- 1991 British Academy award for the score for “GBH” (with Elvis Costello)
- 1995 Composed “Concerto Antico” for John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra
- 1996 Performed all featured woodwind solos on the score for “The Lion King”
- 1999 Composed the score for the Jim Henson Company’s “Animal Farm”; composed score for the acclaimed Hallmark project “Arabian Nights”
- 2001 Composed score for the Thai historical epic “Suriyothai”
He has recorded for and collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Elvis Costello, John Williams, Stanley Myers and numerous others. He has a collection of nearly 600 instruments from around the world (and plays most of them!). Richard has scored over 25 feature films and countless television dramas – from Jane Eyre and Game, Set and Match to Alan Bleasdale’s G.B.H. He has also written a massive “eco-musical”, Plague and the Moonflower, blending conventional orchestral forces with Andean musicians and electric instrumentation.
Richard has won a British Academy Award for TV music in collaboration with rock star Elvis Costello, and Richard’s composition for guitar and orchestra, Concerto Antico, has been premiered in concert and recorded by John Williams with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Richard’s musical career, starting with recorder lessons at the age of four, led him to first clarinet with the British Youth Symphony Orchestra and then on to the Royal College of Music before he was 20. He formed the internationally successful folk group Gryphon, with which he toured three continents, playing 30 different instruments and recording five albums. Now in his late 40s, Richard is a prolific composer, an occasional guest conductor and a virtuoso performer on a vast collection of instruments – blown, plucked, keyed, bowed, beaten and programmed. He has made several classical albums, including a Classical Record of the Year Italian Recorder Concertos, which demonstrate breathtaking fluency and exhilarating woodwind technique, and remains in the Gramophone Magazine’s Top 100.
His most recent work for the small screen was the Emmy-nominated Arabian Nights broadcast in the USA and on BBC. He has released more than fifteen CDs, most recently Silk and Bamboo with the German guitar virtuoso Hucky Eichelmann. He was honoured with a Royal invitation to provide the musical score for the major and historic Thai movie Suriyothai, premiered in August 2001 in Bangkok. Richard has recently scored two forthcoming film releases, In Search Of An Impotent Man and Two Men Went To War. His latest commission is for the film Luther.
Stuart studied at Downing College, Cambridge, and in 1998 graduated with distinction from the Masters course in Composing for Film and Television at the London College of Music. Between 1999 and 2005, he worked in-house with Soho music production company Mcasso, where he composed and produced music for all commercial media, winning industry awards for his work on campaigns for the British Board of Film Classification, Burberry New York and the 2002 BBC World Cup. Stuart has scored many films, most notably EMR, which won the Raindance Film Festival and went on general release in the summer of 2005, following its Cannes premiere. 2001 saw the Royal Festival Hall premiere of his new score for the Hollywood silent movie Lucky Star, whilst his soundtracks to two recent action films (Underground and Bodyguard: A New Beginning) were released on CD and to download in 2009 to rapturous reviews, prompting one critic to announce that Stuart’s music “is up there with the best that Hollywood has to offer. Expect great things from him in the future”. Rain Dance is Stuart’s first opera, but he is no stranger to vocal, concert and theatre music, with his Bitter Suite – a collection of sinister settings of nursery rhymes – being premiered with vocal trio Juice in 2006 and broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and a comic cantata Choir Straits for Kit & The Widow and the Bath Camerata enjoying a Wigmore Hall première in December 2009.
Russell Hepplewhite is becoming widely known for his operatic and choral music. His ground-breaking operas commissioned by English Touring Opera for young audiences have been widely performed, and have won him much critical acclaim. Laika the Spacedog won two major awards at the prestigious Armel International Opera Festival and transferred to Avignon Opera; while Shackleton’s Cat was described in Richard Morrison’s four star review in The Times as “compelling,” and Opera Now Magazine handed it five stars saying it was “outstanding“.
Russell’s choral works are published by Banks Music Publications in their Genesis Choral Library Series, and he is the composer in residence with the Arcubus Ensemble.
Bernard Hughes was born and brought up in London. He studied Music at Oxford and London universities and now combines composition with a job as Composer-in-Residence at the Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton. He is married and has a baby son.
Bernard has written a lot of music for young people including pieces for choir and incidental music for theatre productions, performed both at the school where he teaches and by groups including the New London Children’s Choir, the Cantate Youth Choir. In his works for adults, Bernard has written two pieces for Britain’s leading choir, the BBC Singers, One-and-Half Truths, broadcast on Radio 3 in 2003; and The Death of Balder, which is receiving its first performance at the Spitalfields Festival in June 2006. Other successful pieces include But What Beyond, winner of the William Mathias Composition Prize in 2003.
Apart from music, Bernard has worked as a comedian, including winning the Perrier Award for Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1999 as part of the show Ben’n’Arn’s Big Top. This included an appearance on Channel 4 and live at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. Bernard is also a qualified cricket umpire and coach.
Dr. Karl Jenkins OBE B.Mus LRAM ARAM LRAM FWCMD FTCC was raised in Penclawdd, Gower, Wales. He read music at the University of Wales, Cardiff and then commenced postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London. It was in jazz that he initially made his mark; in those days of ‘Jazz Polls” he was a prolific poll winner, playing at Ronnie Scott’s club before co-forming Nucleus, which won first prize at the Montreux jazz festival. This was followed by a period with Soft Machine, one of the seminal bands of the 70’s.
In the field of advertising music he has won the prestigious D&AD award for best music [twice] and the ‘Creative Circle Gold’. In addition he gained Bafta ‘gongs’ for his scores for The Celts and Testament. It is perhaps for his Adiemus project and ‘classical’ works for which he now is best known. Adiemus has topped classical and ‘pop’ charts around the world, gaining seventeen platinum or gold album awards.
Recent commissions include works for the Royal Ballet, BBC Proms in the Park, the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, Bryn Terfel, Leslie Garret, Evelyn Glennie, and The Armed Man; A Mass For Peace, commissioned by the Royal Armouries and premiered at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Over one hundred performances of this work have taken place in the UK in the past eighteen months while the CD, featuring the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, has gained Gold disc status in the UK.
Recent projects include scoring and conducting an album of rock classics by Bonnie Tyler and producing Catrin Finch for Sony Classical while he has written anthems for UNESCO and for the opening of the Welsh Assembly. In the summer of 2005 he scored the feature film River Queen starring Kiefer Sutherland & Samantha Morton while Requiem was No1 in the UK classical charts.
In 2004 he entered Classic FM’s ‘Hall of Fame” at No 8, the highest position for a living composer and has been in the top ten both in 2005 & 2006 as well as, in 2006, at No. 4 amongst British composers. ‘Tlep’, a large work influenced by Kazakhstan culture, was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall on Easter Monday 2006 and released by SonyBMG shortly after. Currently he is working on an exciting recording project with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to be released on EMI Classics in October 2006.
In recent years, Karl has been made both a Fellow and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, where a room has been named in his honour, and has been awarded fellowships at Cardiff University, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Trinity College Carmarthen, Swansea Institute and was presented by Classic FM with the ‘Red f ‘award for ‘outstanding service to classical music’
He was awarded an OBE, by Her Majesty The Queen, in the 2005 New Years Honours List and in 2006 a Doctor of Music by the University of Wales.
David Knotts began his composition studies at the Royal Academy of Music and continued at King’s College, Cambridge, where he studied with Robin Holloway. After graduating from Cambridge in 1993 with a first, he studied with Robert Saxton at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has twice been featured in the BBC’s Young Composer of the Year competition, and his music has been performed by the Nash Ensemble, the London Sinfonietta, the Composers Ensemble, the Endymion Ensemble and the BBC Singers.
His Auden setting Look, Stranger and his instrumental work Where the Sun is Silent have both been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, and his oboe and piano piece and fall and rise, and fall and rise again was premièred at the St Magnus Festival by Nicholas Daniel and Julius Drake. He has also received commissions from South East Arts, the New London Children’s Choir, the Schubert Ensemble of London (Kitharodia commissioned to celebrate the group’s 15th anniversary in 1998, and Coyote Star Song commissioned in 1999 for the Schubert Ensemble’s Chamber Music 2000 project), the Brighton festival, Aldeburgh, W11 Opera, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and the BBC.
David Knotts works as a freelance pianist and composer and is in great demand as an educationalist and animateur. He teaches in the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music. From 1996-1998 he was Head of Composition at the Yehudi Menuhin School, and has worked as Musical Director for Glyndebourne’s Youth Opera group. He also spent three years as Education Consultant for spnm and now maintains a very high profile as an educationalist and animateur developing work with a number of clients including Aldeburgh, Opera Threatre Company, Viva!, the Wigmore Hall, ENO Baylis, the South Bank Centre, Spitalfields Festival and the City of London Sinfonia.
2002 included the exciting premières of two large-scale works: the BBC Philharmonic orchestra gave the first performance of Nightwatching: Ways of Looking at the Moon under the baton of James MacMillan at the 2002 Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and was featured on BBC Radio 3’s Hear and Now. The opera Stormlight, with writer Katharine Craik, was given a stunning first performance by W11 Opera in December.
Recent commissions include Bring Down an Angel for the BBC and Golden Threads and Silver Strings for the 2003 Spitalfields Festival. Commissions for 2004 included a new opera with writer Katharine Craik for English National Opera, a work for bassoon and orchestra for the BBC Symphony Orchestra as well as performances of a new piece for chamber orchestra, Dolorato, given by the Scottish and Swedish Chamber orchestras in December. David Knotts was awarded a doctorate by the University of Sussex in November, 2004.
David Knotts’ latest opera, Mr. Purcell – His Ground with librettist Tamsin Collison was commissioned by ENO and premièred in June 2006 by the Knack at the Royal Opera House.
Timothy Kraemer started his career playing the cello recording with Manfred Mann and Mike McGear. He also performed in a string quartet with the legendary group Yes. He wrote string arrangements for Matthew’s Southern Comfort and he wrote for Blaikley/Howard including string arrangements of material for Elvis Presley.
In 1970 he founded The Original String Quartet. The quartet’s first engagement was to have the rather dubious honour of playing at the launching of Christine Keeler’s autobiography in a seedy bar in Soho! In 1973 Timothy joined the rock band Esperanto for which he composed. The group featured Glenn Shorrock, the Australian lead singer. He has had many pieces published by Faber, Schotts , Oxford University Press and the Associated Board and has written several children’s operas commissioned by the W11 Children’s Opera Group. Timothy currently works as a professional cellist in London.
Children’s Operas commissioned by the W11 Children’s Opera Group: Like This, Like That libretto by Peter Dickinson); The Adventures of Jonah music and libretto; Good King Wenceslas music and libretto; Ulysses and the Wooden Horse music and libretto; Bel and the Dragon, libretto (music by John Gardner); and Birthday, libretto (music by George Fenton).
- Timber! (commissioned by Friends of the Earth) A short musical for children
Gypsy Jazz for violin and piano (easy level) — Faber 1996
Gypsy Jazz for violin and piano (intermediate level) — Faber 1999
Don Quixote (commissioned by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment for an educational project)
Mood Swings for violin and piano(intermediate level) — Schotts 2001
More Mood Swings for violin and piano — 2005
Associated Board Grade 2 violin 2002-2004 Lazy Time
Associated Board Grade 3 violin 2005-2007 Wind Up
Also violin pieces for the Guildhall Examination Board and the Australian Music Examination Board
He studied music at Oxford University and the Royal College of Music. He went on to train as an accompanist at the London Opera Centre and subsequently worked for many opera companies here and abroad. He was on the music staff of the Royal Opera House for several years where he helped to devise many education projects enabling hundreds of children to participate in the creation of their own operas. His large-scale opera The Button Moulder after Ibsen’s Peer Gynt was the Royal Opera”s first work specially commissioned for schools.
Recent pieces include works for orchestra, two string quartets, pieces for choir, including some for liturgical use, du barocque, for wind and piano, Concerto Cubico for trombone, marimba and harp, and two operas: The Dream That Hath No Bottom (after Shakespeare) was written for a village in Hampshire, and All in the Mind was performed in 2004 at the Britten Theatre at the Royal College of Music, London, by the W11 Opera Company. His Chamber Concerto was performed by Lontano at the Bath Festival, his Mass for Four Voices at the Huddersfield Festival and on Radio Three, and the chamber opera Caedmon by the Garden Venture at the Royal Opera House. His Piano Quartet won the Humphrey Searle Memorial Competition.
As a freelance conductor, chorus master and pianist the companies he has worked for include Dublin Grand Opera, Wexford Festival Opera, Ambosian Singers, Ballet Rambert, Netherlands Opera, Maggio Musicale in Florence, Philharmonia and London Symphony Choruses, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Buxton and Exeter Festivals.
Louisa Lasdun divides her time between composing and teaching. She graduated from Dartington College of Arts and later studied composition with John Taverner. In her capacity as music teacher she has worked for a wide range of educational institutions including the Anna Scher Children’s Theatre; Holland Park Comprehensive and currently The Zürich Young People’s Theatre.
Some of her performed commissions include works for jazz big band, a children’s opera, a ballet score, a work for large cappella choir, a chamber septet, a work for string orchestra. Her music has been performed in Great Britain; Portugal; Russia; Italy; Germany and Switzerland.
Born in London, 1951, Cecilia McDowall has been described by the International Record Review as having ‘a communicative gift that is very rare in modern music’. Often inspired by extra-musical influences, her writing combines a rhythmic vitality with expressive lyricism ‘which is, at times, intensely moving’. She has won many awards and has been several times short-listed for the British Composer Awards, winning the Choral Works prize in 2014 for her works “Night Flights”. Her music has been commissioned and performed by leading choirs, including the BBC Singers, ensembles and at major festivals both in Britain and abroad and has been broadcast on BBC Radio and worldwide.
Much of her music is on disc. The renowned American choir, Phoenix Chorale, have recorded Three Latin Motets on the Chandos label (Spotless Rose: Hymns to the Virgin Mary).This CD won a Grammy award in February, 2009, and was nominated for Best Classical Album.
Commissions for 2014-15 include works for the BBC Singers, Westminster Cathedral and a short chamber opera, Airborne, marking the centenary of the First World War. Oxford University Press signed Cecilia as an ‘Oxford’ composer and she is currently ‘composer-in-residence’ at Dulwich College, London. In 2013 she received an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Portsmouth. Cecilia and Christie Dickason have enjoyed many years of happy collaboration and dreadful puns. Cecilia and Christie Dickason had a Q&A with W11 in 2014
Stephen Oliver (1950-1992) was one of the most versatile British composers of his generation, being particularly renowned for his contribution to opera and music theatre. Oliver’s career was effectively launched while still a student at Oxford University, when his large-scale opera The Duchess of Malfi was staged at the university theatre in 1971. His ability to write in a wide range of styles led him to compose for countless theatrical productions, as well as for film and television. The list of Oliver’s stage works is similarly diverse, including everything from a West End musical, Blondel (featuring a libretto by Tim Rice), to works for children (The Girl and the Unicorn) and short sketches for one or two singers (Commuting, A Man of Feeling). In 1991 English National Opera staged the world premiere of one of the composer’s most ambitious works, the opera Timon of Athens. It was the work Stephen Oliver said he ‘was born to write’.
His two chamber operas, Dolffin and Wild Cat, as part of WNO’s Land, Sea, Sky trilogy Welsh National Opera received a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. In 2006 Philips took up a position as composer in residence at Glyndebourne Opera. In the course of his residency, Philips created new works including Followers, a promenade chamber opera which was staged in 2011 and a one act chamber opera, The Yellow Sofa, premiered in August 2009, written for the Jerwood Chorus Development Scheme. Knight Crew, a new full-length opera with a libretto by Nicky Singer was commissioned by Glyndebourne and received its world premiere production in March 2010. A re-creation of the Arthur legend in a contemporary gangland setting, Knight Crew gave an unprecedented opportunity for young performers and community groups to take part in a Glyndebourne production. BBC Television filmed the development of Knight Crew over the year leading up to the premiere, and Gareth goes to Glyndebourne, was aired in June 2010, and won an International Emmy® in November 2011. His opera for children, Varjak Paw, was produced by The Opera Group to considerable acclaim in September 2008.Born in Wales in 1969 and brought up in Warwickshire, Julian Philips studied music at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He works extensively in the opera house, concert hall, theatre and ballet and is a vital force in education, currently holding the position of Head of Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
Philips has worked on a full-length ballet based on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, with choreography by Michael Corder for English National Ballet. This was followed in 2007 by a new ballet, The Snow Queen, also for Corder and ENB, and based on the music of Prokofiev. He has enjoyed a particularly fruitful artistic partnership with director Michael Grandage, with whom he has collaborated on productions including The Tempest starring Sir Derek Jacobi (Old Vic, London), Richard III with Kenneth Branagh (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), and Edward II starring Joseph Fiennes; their production of As You Like It (Lyric Hammersmith/Crucible Theatre) went on to win the South Bank Theatre Award (2001).
Philips enjoys a particular affinity with music for the voice and has received critical acclaim for his settings of E. E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson and Arthur Rimbaud among others. His song cycle now I lay me down to dream of spring (1992) was an early success when performed by baritone Martyn Hill and broadcast by Radio 3. Fern Hill was featured in Dawn Upshaw’s 1997 Wigmore Hall masterclass and subsequently commercially released on the Sain label, while There is a morn by men unseen, premiered by Gerald Finley and Julius Drake, was commissioned for the Director’s Festival Gala Concert at the Wigmore Hall in May 2003. In April 2005 Philips’ String Quartet with baritone, Sweet Love Remembered, was premièred by the Vertavo String Quartet, and then taken up by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker and performed in December 2011 with Gerald Finley in Berlin.
In addition to solo vocal works, Philips has written several works for choirs, including choirs of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral, Highgate Choral Society, New London Orchestra, New London Childrens’ choir and the Finzi Singers
In 2012 Philips’ has a number of world premieres including a new anthem Church music, for the Choirbook for the Queen, an anthology of the best of British contemporary choral writing, performed by the Choir of Truro Cathedral, a work for choir and orchestra Sea and Stars commissioned by Ealing Choral Society in celebration of their fiftieth anniversary, Maxamorphosis a new work for chamber orchestra and break dancers for Aurora Orchestra , a Proms commission, Sorrowfull Songes for the vocal ensemble Tenebrae and a new children’s opera Good Intentions for W11 Opera.
Graham, an MA in Classics and an Associate of the Royal College of Music, eschewed the Cloth and the Foreign Office for a life in music. He is as at home playing baroque mandolin or medieval rebec in the cathedrals and chateaux of France as when he is writing the score for Something To Talk About or playing harmonica for Thelma and Louise or violin for Moulin Rouge. For television he has under his ample belt the score for Frenchman’s Creek, the music for Billy Connolly’s World Tours of Scotland and Australia and music for Sunday evening’s Where The Heart Is. The wheels of industry have been oiled by his many adverts, Guinness, Barclaycard, PG Tips and TSB, to name but a few, and he has worked with such luminaries as Cher, Paul McCartney, Tom Jones, Van Morrisson and George Martin. St. Paul’s Girls’ School thought so highly of his W11 children’s opera Antiphony that they performed it too, which prompted him to write another, Flying High. A Europhile and honorary Brazilian, Graham speaks French and Spanish(ish), and has recently contributed some inaudible Latin to the film The Da Vinci Code.
Movies: Something To Talk About, Trusting Beatrice, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, Stars and Bars; some cues for Muppet Treasure Island and a James Bond (forgotten which!).
Television: Frenchman’s Creek, Where The Heart Is, Billy Connolly’s World Tour Of Scotland, World Tour Of Australia, Andy McNab’s The Ultimate Warrior.
Advertising: Milk, Ambrosia, Guinness, Woolwich, Royal Bank Of Scotland, Barclaycard, US Tourism; awards not infrequent.
Children’s Operas: Antiphony, Flying High.
Library Music: Loads; a source of pleasure and vast income. Symphonic to Salsa.
Arranging: Gerry Rafferty (Baker St.), Jon Bon Jovi, Tom Jones, Kate Bush, Maria Bethania, Paul McCartney, Larry Adler’s Gershwin CD, George Martin’s CD.
Playing: Session musician — Captain Corelli (one of the mandolins), Moulin Rouge (tango violin), Thelma and Louise (harmonica); Harry Potter (banjo); concerts — QEH with Richard Harvey, Albert Hall with Deep Purple.
Others worked with: Barbie Benton, Cher, Bootleg Beatles, Van Morrison, Meat Loaf, Moody Blues, Hans Zimmer, Manfred Mann, Status Quo, etc.
Daryl Runswick spent his 20s and early 30s writing pop songs and jazz instrumentals; his late 30s, 40s and 50s (so far) making contemporary concert pieces. Daryl began his musical life as a Cambridge chorister but quickly moved sideways into the jazz and pop world, playing bass with many international stars and touring for 10 years with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth (first on bass, later on piano). This dual speciality (classical/popular) has permeated his subsequent career, which has included work as a solo improvising pianist, as a broadcaster, singing with the pioneering vocal group Electric Phoenix, concert work with the London Sinfonietta, session playing, arranging (especially for The King’s Singers) record producing (recently for Keith Tippett) and conducting his own film and TV scores. In addition he has devoted much energy and thought to the search for a synthesis of the improvising skills he learned in jazz with the more complex structures of contemporary concert music.
After 10 years as Head of the Composition Faculty at Trinity College of Music in London Daryl retired in 2003 because of ill health.
Francis Shaw is an experienced composer of a wide variety of music: orchestral, opera, instrumental, vocal and electronic music, many film and TV scores including EVIL; Oscar-nominated in 2004 (best foreign language category) and acclaimed TV series: Ireland — a TV History; Shackleton of the Antarctic; Jamaica Inn; and Crime and Punishment.
Recent works include a choral 80th. birthday tribute to the Queen to be broadcast from St. George’s Chapel, Windsor on April 23rd. 2006 and a 2 piano work for the Dutch Gaudeamus competition for the Blaak piano duo. Francis’s 2nd. Piano Concerto is nearing completion. As a Composer Director of the PRS, Francis is involved with the music licensing challenges of Internet downloading, seeking a better deal for music creators of all kinds in this commercial world.
Composer Colin Towns’ recent work includes French Feature Films: Mon Ange starring Vanessa Paradis, Rivieres Pourpres 2 starring Jean Reno and comedy spoof Double Zero. British thriller Red Mercury and ITV dramas Ghostboat starring David Jason, A Good Murder starring Juliet Aubrey, Cold Blood starring Mathew Kelly, and Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes.
Other credits include: Fungus the Bogeyman (Canadian Gemini award nominated), Angelina Ballerina, The Tale of Jack Frost, Man Dancin, Not Only But Always, King of Fridges, Goodbye Mr. Chips (Ivor Novello nominated), Sons and Lovers, Maybe Baby, Essex Boys, Nicholas Nickleby, The Crow Road (BAFTA nominated), Our Friends in the North, The Sculptress (RTS nominated), Cadfael, World of Peter Rabbit and Friends, Full Circle, The Puppet Masters, Vampire’s Kiss.
He’s the founder of Colin Towns Mask Orchestra, with whom he has released 6 albums and is also the owner of Provocateur Records, an independent jazz label. In 2004 The Mask Orchestra recorded The Orpheus Suite a commission by choreographer David Bintley of Birmingham Royal Ballet. The ballet premiered in Birmingham and toured the UK.
Colin regularly writes, records and tours with the NDR Bigband (Hamburg), HR Bigband (Frankfurt) and Orchestra Jazz Della Sardegna (Sardinia).
Theatre music credits: Tonight’s the Night, Popcorn, The Little Foxes (London), Inconceivable (Yorkshire & Plymouth), Royal Hunt of the Sun (Tokyo), Jane Eyre (Chichester), Macbeth, The Journey of Mary Kelly, Equus, Romeo & Juliet, Four Seasons, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, King Lear, The Crucible (Clywd) and Henry V (RSC Stratford-upon-Avon/Barbican/National Tour).
Martin Ward studied Composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Buxton Orr and Robert Saxton. After college he worked in the music departments of the Royal Opera House and the BBC. During this time Martin continued to compose, scoring a number of films and reaching the final of the IBM International Prize in 1993 with his orchestral concerto ‘Threaded Dances’.
In 2002 Martin wrote his first ballet – ‘The Wind in the Willows’ – for ROH2, at the Royal Opera House, which was then revived for Christmas in 2012. It’s success led to further dance commissions from the Royal Ballet – ‘Timecode’ (2005), the English National Ballet – ‘The Canterville Ghost’ (2006) and ROH2 – ‘Pinocchio’ (2005) and ‘Faeries’ (2008). Each ballet met with considerable critical and public acclaim, each has since been revived and toured, and ‘Pinocchio’ was broadcast on BBC4 in 2006.
Martin’s works for the concert stage, which include ‘Phrygian Redux’, ‘North Sea Stones’ and ‘Dark Latitude’, have been recorded and broadcast on BBC Radios 2 and 3. He arranged and adapted a new version of Richard Rodney Bennet’s ballet ‘Isadora’ for the Royal Ballet. Since composing Whale Savers with Phil Porter for W11 Opera in 2009, Martin wrote the orchestral ballet score for The Stargazer for Royal Opera House and again collaborated with Phil Porter on the critically acclaimed Dr Quimpugh’s Compendium of Peculiar Afflictions, performed at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2012.