Compositions and arrangements, both sacred and secular
I studied composition with Grayston Ives and Ezra Laderman and have received several commissions of settings of sacred texts and secular arrangements. Having taught techniques of composition at the University of Surrey, together with teaching the paperwork requirements for the Royal College of Organists’ diplomas, I enjoy engaging in the discussions around the language of contemporary classical music, especially in the digital age.
My own composition style of writing is influenced by the directions in which mainstream European music went in the opening decades of the 2oth century. Although my music is unashamedly tonal, the concept of challenging established key centres remains a fascination. When writing sacred music, the shape of the liturgy is a dominant consideration, and my aim is to create music that enhances the important and distinctive elements of worship.
Having lived amidst different cultural backgrounds I’ve enjoyed being subject to many different musical influences, hopefully challenging them before absorbing them, and not being afraid to use them in a different, fresh context. Growing up in the 1980s the world of electronic music was in vogue which, for me, led to an interest in earlier, classical applications as found, for example, in Stockhausen and Boulez. Although now dated, Isao Tomita’s ‘take’ on Debussy and Stravinsky opened up a new sound world, and minimalism has been a constant backdrop. Perhaps a snapshot of taste can be described by my desert island disc choice, which would include a Rautavaara orchestral movement, Messiaen Aux canyons des etoiles, John Adams Coast, Monteverdi Lauda Ierusalem, Strauss Salome, Debussy Jeux and Bach Goldberg Variations. (Doubtless I would crave a Mozart string quartet by my third week on that barren, fictitious island, but would equally doubtless have been mauled by wild animals by that point and I suspect they wouldn’t care for 18th-century elegance so much.)
I grew up around popular music, too, with Dire Straits, Sting, Fleetwood Mac and Simon & Garfunkel in my ear. In my lifetime, conversations about crossover and about challenging the exclusivity of classical music are so much more advanced than I would once have assumed, and it’s an exciting time to be creating new music against such a vast canvas of precedent.
My list of works includes:
- Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (SATB, organ)
- Concerto for Organ and Orchestra
- Three Love Songs (SATB (div), organ)
- Tota pulchra es (S solo, SATB, organ)
- Three European Songs (high voice and piano)
- Symphonic Sketches (orchestra)
- Missa Fons bonitatis (SATB, organ)
- Missa Memento homo (SSAATTBB)
- Missa Pascha Nostrum (SSS, organ)
Missa Facta est (SS, organ)
…and several arrangements, both sacred and secular.