Arranging and Orchestration
I am widely experienced in arranging and orchestration, and am comfortable working in a variety of styles from pop, rock, folk and jazz through to classical, electronic and film music, and with everything from small classical quartets, jazz trios and pop bands to full sized symphony orchestras. I have a particular passion for creating unique adaptations of existing pieces, but my work ranges from simple "copyist" work through to full orchestration. In particular, I specialize in the ability to work from sketches and midi based drafts produced in sequencer software such as Logic Pro and translate this into a fully realized score within Sibelius. However, at times I also work entirely in the digital domain, creating studio based arrangements of pieces. I have also built a reputation as a skilled transcriber, with an ability to recreate scores by ear but also finding creative ways of adapting literal translations of pieces so that they can be practically performed by any ensemble.
In the field of orchestration I have frequently had to work to very tight deadlines, producing work on short turn around times in order to produces scores for live performances and television and radio broadcasts. However, whilst speed is of the essence, I pride myself in striving to maintain the highest standards of work, especially whilst under such pressures. For a list of people I have worked with see my "about" page. Below are a few examples of projects I have been involved in.
Please see my Facebook and Twitter feeds (links above) for the most up to date news about recent and upcoming projects!
Steven Faux's Psalms Vol. III Project
(View from my "desk" for the day at Abbey Road Studio 2 with the Bath Philharmonia Orchestra.)
In summer 2015 I helped compsoer Steven Faux with the orchestrations for his Psalms Vol.III project, which was recorded at Abbey Road studios with the Bath Philharmonia and later performed live in concert at Bath Abbey. This project sees Steven setting Psalms to completely new music using, as he puts it, "the contemporary language of feature films". Having worked with Steven on a couple of his BBC nature documentary scores with Will Gregory it was wonderful to get to work on one of his concert pieces!
See stevenfaux.com for more information.
Goldie's "Timeless" with The Heritage Orchestra
In 2014 The Heritage Orchestra were given the massive job of taking Goldie's seminal Drum and Bass masterpiece "Timeless" and performing the album live with an orchestra as part of the 2014 Meltdown Festival, Southbank. I was lucky enough to be one of the arrangers working with producer Chris Wheeler and conductor/chief arranger Jules Buckley to put together the scores for this gig, with myself working on the track "This Is A Bad". Long story short - it brought the house down.
Too good to put on just once, in 2015 we were invited back to play two more nights at the Royal Festival Hall, and a special outdoor gig in Bristol. For the Royal Festival Hall gig, I was asked to orchestrate another track, the super chilled out "Adrift", with special guest appearances by Jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss and saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings.
The video below is a short documentary made after the first performance in 2014, and whilst none of my work is featured in this particular video, you can get a good idea for the vibe we had going.
See goldie.co.uk for some pictures from the 2015 gigs!
BBC Ibiza Proms with Jules Buckley and The Heritage Orchestra
So pleased to have been asked by conductor/chief arranger Jules Buckley and producer Chris Wheeler to be a part of the arranging team for their "Ibiza Prom", which took some of the most loved dance tracks into the Royal Albert Hall for a rave up. Lots and lots of fun. I'd previously worked with Jules and The Heritage Orchestra on their project with Goldie at the Royal Festival Hall, and worked with them again later in 2015 on a special set for Anna Calvi working with a choir. Always a rewarding gig!
Check out theheritageorchestra.com for more information.
Bristol Proms "My Life in Song" with Pumeza
(Picture form the rehearsal featuring Pumeza, conductor Charles Hazlewood and the "Bristol Proms Chamber Ensemble" a.k.a Southbank Sinfonia alumni in disguise!)
In July 2015 I was delighted to be asked to adapt some well known classics of opera for a specially put together chamber ensemble, performing as part of the "My Life in Song" concert with Pumeza and Charles Hazlewood at the 2015 Bristol Proms. For this project I had to take full orchestral pieces such as Puccini's "Un Bel Di" and Bizet's "Michaela Aria" from Carmen and squeezeg them onto the scores for the miniature powerhouse of an orchestra we had on stage. I also had the extreme honour of making completely new full orchestrations of several pieces originally written for piano including Faure's "Apres Un Reve" and Grieg's "Ein Traum". Extracts of the concert have been broadcast on Classic FM radio.
See classicfm.com for pictures from the concert.
John Harle & Marc Almond's "Tyburn Tree" - Album and tour!
March 2014 saw the culmination of months of work in the release of the album "Tyburn Tree - Dark London" by John Harle and Marc Almond alongside the debut performance of it's UK tour. I've been personally involved in this project for many months, initially working as an editor and programmer of the album tracks in Logic Pro. I later worked to assist John Harle in producing the immense score required to bring the Tyburn Tree to life on stage, a score which features well over 100,000 notes. John Harle, Marc Almond, and an all star band took to the stage for the premiere performance at London's Barbican on March 2nd 2014.
See tyburntree.com for more information.
Squarepusher with the Southbank Sinfonia, Sinfonietta Cracovia and Metropole Orkest
Perhaps my most ambitious project to date. In 2013 I had the immense pleasure of getting to orchestrate Tom Jenkinson's (alias Squarepusher) electronic album "Ufabulum" for the Southbank Sinfonia orchestra, under the baton of Charles Hazlewood. This exciting project saw the electronic sound of Squarepusher fused with that of a Classical orchestra, and gave me an opportunity to really collaborate closely with the musicians and come up with some very unusual sounds and textures. The thrilling first performance took place in Fairfield Halls Croydon in June 2013.
For it's second outing, we were delighted to take the project to Krakow, Poland as part of the Sacrum Profanum 2014 festival with Sinfonietta Cracovia, also broadcast on Poland's national radio station Polskie Radio.
In 2015 we were invited to take this project on a four night tour of the Netherlands as part of Cross-Linx festival with the amazing Metropole Orkest, including several previously unheard arrangements, including a sporadic one written in a hotel room just outside of Amsterdam the night before our rehearsal with the orchestra! The transcription of Tom's bass playing was scribbled on hotel note paper...
Professor Green and Labrinth for Charles Hazlewood's "Excellent Device" symphony orchestra.
I was specially commissioned to provide these unique orchestral arrangements for the "Orchestra in a field" festival held in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey, Somerset in July 2012. For this special collaboration, Professor Green and Labrinth performed two tracks live with Charles Hazlewood's symphony orchestra; Labrinth's track "Let The Sun Shine" and Professor Green and Labrinth's "Oh My God". Above is some amateur footage of the event.
Portishead Live 2013
A real highlight of 2013 for me was getting to see Portishead playing a headline slot on the Other Stage at Glastonbury. This had been on my gig wish list for years before I'd even met Adrian Utley, so being asked to contribute in even the tiniest way to this gig was simply amazing. Adrian and the band asked me to look over their original studio recordings and also their Roseland NYC performance with string orchestra (originally arranged by Nick Ingman) to look for any special details they could reintroduce to their set, and to generally map out the tracks for a couple of musicians who were new to the touring band for that year.
Will Gregory's Opera - Piccard in Space
Piccard in Space is the story of Auguste Piccard, the physicist who in 1931 set out to prove Einstein's Theory of Relativity by ascending into the stratosphere in a small capsule suspended from a balloon, accompanied by his assistant Paul Kipfer. This opera by Will Gregory premiered at the Ether Festival at London's Southbank Centre in 2011 and featured a cast including Andrew Shore, Robin Tritschler, Leigh Melrose, Nicholas Clapton and Mary Plazas with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Will Gregory's Moog Ensemble.
By kind permission of composer Will Gregory, two brief extracts of the score are available to download as pdf documents as examples of my orchestration work with Ian Gardiner. See Piccard in Space - Extract 1 (pdf) and Piccard in Space - Extract 2 (pdf).
Jocelyn Pook's "Hearing Voices"
Working as assistant orchestrator (lead: Ian Gardiner) for this project by composer Jocelyn Pook. This concert formed part of the H7steria series at London's Southbank and looks at mental illness through memoires and recorded interviews of various women who have suffered with these conditions. It was performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra featuring mezzo soprano Melanie Pappenheim at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.
See jocelynpook.com for more about this project, and also her recent work "Drawing Life", another project which I produced the score for.
BBC Documentary - Penguins - Spy in The Huddle
In 2013 I worked as orchestration assistant (lead: Ian Gardiner) on Will Gregory's score for BBC 1 nature documentary "Penguins - Spy in the huddle" for BBC 1 by John Downer Productions, recorded in BBC Hodinott Hall with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. This is the second time I've worked for Will on a nature documentary, the previous time being for groundbreaking series "Earthflight" which was co-scored by Will Gregory and Steven Faux.
See jdp.com for more information and clips from the series.
Adrian Utley Guitar Orchestra - "Mail, Maps, & Motion"
A fantastic audio visual experience, I had the honor of working with Adrian Utley to create the score for his 15 piece Electric Guitar Orchestra for this unique performance with AntiVJ's Joanie Lemercier, set in Isambard Kingdom Brunel's engine shed in Bristol Temple Meads. The performance was described as "a wall of orchestral dissonance accompanied huge mapped projections, bringing a ghostlike vision of Bristol’s industrial past into the electric future."
Check out watershed/co.uk for a high quality video of the event.
Goldfrapp "Little Noise Sessions"
Go to goldfrapp.com for more information.
This special semi-acoustic performance by Goldfrapp for Mencap's "Little Noise Sessions" featured a live string orchestra, and mini choir. For my part in this, I produced transcribed choir scores for various tracks from Seventh Tree and selected songs from other albums. These were based on the bands existing (recorded) vocal arrangements for backing singers.
Track list (for choir):
Cologne Cerrone Houdini
Ooh La La
Road To Somewhere
Tubular Bells & A Rainbow in Curved Air for Charles Hazlewood Allstars
My transcription of Mike Oldfield's "Tubular Bells" is based on the 1973 performance recorded for BBC television programme "Second House", and is arranged for the combined forces of Charles Hazlewood's Allstars ensemble, featuring Will Gregory (Goldfrapp), Adrian Utley (Portishead), composer Graham Fitkin, and performers including Ross Hughes, Ruth Wall, Denny Illett, Alex Vann, Eddie Parker and Joby Burgess. This version was first performed at Glastonbury Festival in 2011 as the Friday night late headliner on the new “Spirit of 71” stage, and was performed later in the year as part of a three date mini-tour that included a home-coming performance for the piece at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The instrument introductions at the end of the piece (originally by Viv Stanshall) have been performed by various guest performers, including Arthur Brown (Glastonbury), and Paul McGann (London). As part of the same programme, the ensemble also performed my arrangement of Terry Riley's iconic piece "A Rainbow in Curved Air".
The Working Process
This varies from job to job, but as a rough guide there are six stages to the process.
1: Supply Material
Ideally in the form of midi files, Logic Pro session files, or other Pro Tools/Cubase files. However, sometimes work is provided to me in the form of stereo or multi-track audio files, or hand written sheet music. I have even been supplied material on cassette tape!
2: Transfer Material to Sibelius
Whether through the tidying, quantising and electronic transfer of midi, or through transcription, the music is transferred into Sibelius software to begin conversion into a score. On creative arranging jobs I will take the source material and make creative sketches of the work.
3: Arranging & Orchestration
Depending on the job, this may simply require me to add finishing touches to something you have already arranged, or it may involve a very creative process I expand musical sketches into fully realised orchestrations.
4: Layout & Engraving/Creating Parts
At this stage I carefully go over the layout of both the full score and the individual musicians parts, making sure everything is clear, well organised and easy to read without awkward page turns, and that the music is presented to the highest possible standards expected by professional musicians and music publishers.
5: Delivery/Printing & Binding/Rehearsal
I deliver the full score and parts, either as electronic PDF files, or to a printers who can professionally print and bind the music for you.
6: Rehearsal and Recording Sessions
If required, I can attend rehearsals and recording sessions to help shape the performance of the work, trouble shoot any issues with the score, and provide support for the musicians.