Potted Histories (from Limited Sources)
of the 10 (Composers that is) in the 2nd
 'Just Do It' / Tim Williams Awards Scheme programme
'Readiness is All'

(compiled/edited by Bruce Wall, LSW Executive Director)

Marc Allcorn –  Mark studied music at London’s Brunel University and Goldsmiths College, graduating in 2000.  It was in this year that his musical Swimming with Dolphins premiered at The Broadway Theatre and has since been produced on two subsequent occasions. Also in 2000 he wrote the songs for a musical version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, entitled ‘Scrooged!’ performed at Brunel University. Mark has also written and produced two albums of more ‘pop’ orientated music (Where Angels Fly & Empty Train) and has twice been a finalist in the BBC New Songwriters competition.  More recently in June 2008 his song ‘My Turn Soon’ won the Stiles and Drewe best song award, part of the Stephen Sondheim performers competition at Trafalgar Studios in London. Earlier this year Mark was awarded a writers residency at Stranmillis University, Belfast. Initiated and funded jointly by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland & Mercury Musical Developments, this week long residency allowed Mark the time and space to devote to composition, time that always seems in short supply!  In February he was chosen by Primavera Productions to be one of their featured artists, and as such a showcase of his latest musical Fate Accompli was performed at Jermyn Street Theatre.  He hopes to complete Fate Accompli by the end of the year and then return to the recording studio.  Further information and samples of Mark's music can be found here.

 

Tim Arnold –  Tim Arnold is a singer, songwriter and producer from London.  He found success in the late 90’s as a member of Britpop band Jocasta.  After the break up of the band, he composed for Shakespeare’s Globe and worked as a producer for Universal music.  Predominantly a singer and front-man, also a songwriter, muti-instrumentalist, producer, string arranger, theatre composer, video artist and story teller.   His solo career began in 2004 with his debut album Lokutara and was championed by the national press.   In 2006, he released his most popular album to date ‘Secrets of Soho’, a people and places album about his beloved Soho, recorded in the area’s most infamous private members club ‘The Colony Room’.  2009 sees the release of his 10th studio album, the eclectic ‘Oaky Dokey’.  Apart from the musicians who have contributed to his music over the years, Tim works on every aspect of his career entirely independently. In 2005 he set up his own label and has continued to produce music that is …cosmopolitan, vivacious, spiritual, stark, intelligent… " He is currently working on a Shakespearean Rock project called Sonnet 155 http://www.sonnet155.com/  involving such luminaries as Sir Derek Jacobi and Sir Ian McKellen.  He has also been commissioned to write his first musical.   Tim's full and fascinating biography with many additional recording links can be found here and his own exceptional website can be sampled hereLSW was delighted to have been put in touch with Tim through Janet Suzman's kind invitation and Tim will be performing his song 'Fall of the Sparrow' (inspired by a letter written by Sir Derek Jacobi and giving rise to the overall title for the second TWA programme, 'READINESS IS ALL') as composed as part of Tim's extraordinary Sonnet 155 Project referenced above.  (Indeed you can see a segment of Tim performing that song in the clip.)  We are all, we hasten to add, deeply honoured.
 
Tom Attwood Tom trained as an actor-musician at Rose Bruford College. His work in theatre as both actor and music director includes Saturday Night (Jermyn Street/Arts Theatre), Smith (site specific at The British Museum),  Forever Plaid (Ovation, Kuala Lumpur), Peter Pan (Nuffield, Southampton), The History Boys (in the original production at the National Theatre, UK and International Tours, West End and Broadway productions as well as the Film); Ours (Finborough), It's Only Make Believe (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Once Upon a Mattress (Landor), Twelfth Night (ETC), Christmas Cat and The Pudding Pirates (Hiss and Boo), Spot's Birthday Party (Oxford Playhouse, West End and tour), The Threepenny Opera (Battersea Arts Centre), Into The Woods (RBC), Bugsy Malone (Bridewell), NewsRevue (Canal Cafe Theatre), and NightSchool (Theatre Museum). Radio work includes The History Boys, and Soldiers in the Sun (both BBC Radio 3). Music for television includes Sorry, I’ve Got No Head (SOTV/BBC). At The Pendley Shakespeare Festival Tom has written music for Henry V, The Winter's Tale, The Comedy of Errors, Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth and King Lear.
 
Liam Dunachie – Liam (20) has played the piano from the age of six and subsequently the violin, achieving grade 8 in both instruments by the time he was 14. One of his earliest compositions won 1st Prize in the National Choir Schools' Composition Competition. Recent commissions include work for Knight Frank LLP, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and Herefordshire Youth Orchestra, of which he is a former leader. The youthful maestro is currently studying music in his second year at Trinity College, Cambridge and is also an accomplished jazz pianist. During the Summer of 2008 Liam toured Germany with a band featuring some of Britain's most celebrated jazzmen, including Digby Fairweather and Roy Williams and in 2009 had a musical which he composed, Clouds, based on Aristophane's comedy performed at the Bridewell.  You can read about the latter here.  Among his many other musical investments, Liam is a core member of the new wave/alternative band Celluloid.  Then, of course, there are always those moments when the internet comes back to bite.  'Give us an example,' I hear you ask?  Well, how about when some well meaning editor picks up on an article from the Hertfordshire News (written in 2007 when Liam was 18) entitled: 'What Elgar Means to Me!'  As one website proclaims: "Liam seems to be one of those people that can just do everything stupidly well!!!!"
 

 
Christopher Hamilton - Cardiff born, Chris began playing the piano at the age of four:  At 15 he was awarded a Performer's Diploma (Licentiate: Trinity College, London) and was the Blue Ribband winner of the National Eisteddfod in 1990.  Additionally Chris won both Grade Eight Distrinction on the basson and a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.  Whilst readling law at New College, Oxford, ever industrious Chris was awarded an Instrumental scholarship allowing him to both give many recitals and develop his on-going passion for singing and theatre.   Moonlighting when established in London as a City lawyer he continued to feed the line of his artistic soul.    When  seconded to New York Chris again found himself sneaking from the fat to the fire of  Manhattan's piano bars; ultimately giving in to fate's dictate and deciding to concentrate on performing full-time.  Returning to the UK, Chris studied for an MA in Musical Theatre at the Guildford School of Acting and, since graduating, has appeared in, amongst others, The Yeoman of the Guard at the Royal Opera House, a play about Noel Coward entitled Laughing When I Choose, Not About Heroes at the Imperial War Museum; Ten Cents a Dance at The Watermill and even the now-sadly-late Cardiff International Music Festival.  Combining his two great loves (singing and playing the piano), Chris performs throughout the world in Cabaret spanning Bangkok to Tel Aviv and appearing in such noted UK venues as the Royal Festival Hall, St. David's Hall (Cardiff), Blenheim Palace, Galgorm Manor (Northern Ireland) and even the House of Commons on the occasion of Betty Boothroyd's retirement party.  Chris is a keen composer and his first musical, Over The Threshold, for which he wrote the music, lyrics and book, was staged in London in 2006 as part of the inaugural Perfect Pitch festival, appearing again in the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Awards Concert at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue and, most recently, at George2 in the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival where Chris' score won the prestigious Musical Theatre Matters (MTM) Award for 'Best Music' over some rather hefty competiton.   'Over The Threshold' now finds its own West End berth at the Jermyn Street Theatre, opening on 22nd September. You can find samples of Chris' music and videos of the same here.
 

 
Adam Langston - Adam Langston is a composer and orchestrator for film and television, classical and popular music.  His score for British horror film 'Dead Wood' was nominated for Best Music at the New York B-movie Festival. He also composed and produced source music cues for 'In Bruges' (2008).  As an orchestrator, Adam recently worked on '10,000 B.C.' (Warner Bros.), 'The Nanny Diaries' (The Weinstein Company) and 'Outpost'. As an arranger, he has arranged tracks for artists such as Hayley Westenra, Myleene Klass and Alfie Boe.  Adam also orchestrated the scores for 'Walking With Dinosaurs: The Live Experience' which is currently touring the USA, and Vodafone's worldwide 'Speech Bubbles' commercials (with the London Philharmonic Orchestra). He has composed and orchestrated cues for 'The Impressionists' (BBC), arranged classical pieces for the film 'Four Last Songs' (2007), and worked with composer Trevor Jones on 'We Fight To Be Free' and arranger Rupert Christie on Lou Reed's 'Berlin' world tour.  Adam graduated with first class honours from the Royal Academy Of Music, London, (as did TWA composers Alfie Granger-Howell and Rachel Lyske) where he has been invited to teach music technology.  Click here to listen to samples of Adam's exciting music.
 
Richard Link – Richard Link is a composer of musical theatre, choral music, pop songs, and music for film, video, television, and dance. He is a gifted educator who has taught, directed, and coached thousands of singers and actors.  A complete range and itemisation of his enormous output can be found here.  His musical theatre works include 15 one- and two-act musicals, plus music for plays and incidental music. Musicals include A Little Princess, Alberto the Dancing Alligator, Dream World, Gideon's Dream, The Painter's Dream, and Watch Me Shine. Three of his musicals were written for Children’s Musical Theatre San Jose as part of their "Theater as Digital Activity (TADA)" program.  Link has written an extensive body of choral music, both secular and sacred. Secular works include three choral works, Songs for Us, Woven Together, and Four Seasons, all for SATB mixed chorus. He's also written song cycles and art songs, mostly for one or two voices and piano, and has set three of Vikram Seth's poems to music. His sacred music compositions include anthems and liturgical music.  Link has directed over 100 shows, from well known shows by contemporary composers to obscure musical theatre pieces. His direction credits are fairly evenly distributed between professional theatre companies, high schools and colleges, fringe theatre, community theatre, and summer stock.  Mr Link's John F Kennedy University Masters thesis Art as a Spiritual Practice developed a new methodology for teaching performing arts that is employed to this day, asserting that 'honouring the individual—and focusing on the process, not the product—creates the best possible performance, and ironically, the best end product'. 
 

Conor Mitchell Conor Mitchell is a musical dramatist from Co.Armagh, Ireland and trained with the composers David Blake, Nicola Lefanu and Tomas Szemechu.  His musical plays include The Dummy Tree (National Theatre), The Young Pornographer’s Wife, The Musician, Merry Christmas Betty Ford, 100 - Diary of a Madman, (which I must confess to finding ABSOLUTLEY SPELLBINDING), Todd, Letters to an Absent Other and Mathilde. Composer / Lyricist credits include: Have a Nice Life (Best Score, New York Musical Theatre Festival, 2006), Missing Mel.  Composer credits include: Goblin Market, Pesach, the award winning film opera Pretty Face and over 40 other theatre scores.   Conor has written for the Ulster Youth Orchestra, been writer on attachment to the National Theatre Studio, writer in residence at LAMDA and music advisor to Youth Music Theatre UK.  He is under commission from Ransom Theatre Company, Library Theatre Manchester, LAMDA, University of Gotenberg, Nice People Theatre Company Philadelphia and Cahoots NI at present. He is also writing a one man show, Cycle of Trifles for Nigel Richards. Conor is 31.  Conor has been guest pianist for the Royal Ballet, conductor for the Welsh National Opera on tour, guest lecturer and composer for Queen’s University Belfast, has taught at the FEST in Naples as well as LAMDA and is the only British/Irish composer/writer to have been performed at the University of Art, Berlin. More recently Greenwich Theatre, London presented a retrospective of Conor's work entitled Other Woman as part of their musical theatre celebrations and in 2004 Conor was made the first and only life fellow of the Arts Foundation for his work in musical theatre composition.  
 
Ross Power – As a tie-in to the release of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest, Volvo buried one of their SUVs, a XC90 V8, at an undisclosed location and sparked a worldwide treasure hunt to find it. This was a significant moment for 27-year-old composer, Ross Power; he was commissioned to score Volvo's advertisements for the stunt, destined for cinema and television.  Suddenly this 'regular' in the low-budget world of short films was being recognised by the commercial production sector.  Having played piano since childhood and being an alumni of Goldsmith's College where he gained an honours in Music, Power can now count amongst his television credits Johnny Shakespeare, written and directed by Jim Cartwright and Baby Boom, the directorial debut of Sarah Parish. "These were certainly some of my more recent defining moments in television,” muses Power. "Since then I have worked for Mazda and Tigi commercially and on a number of films that have allowed me some fantastic creative freedom." Future projects including career-boosting opportunities such as a pilot for an undisclosed feature film involving Matt Lucas, “which certain 'big names' are pitching to certain 'big film companies” Power teases having just returned from Cannes, but despite this he still composes regularly for the low-budget film community that helped him as a fledgling composer. "Musically, one draws from similar palettes and conventions, but usually innovation is more gratefully received on the art side," Ross jokes in an excerpt from an artist feature in BAFTA's Magazine.  Most recently Ross was interviewed by the Production Guide (a web and print based publication for the Film and TV industry) following the completion of two BBC1 dramas.  Ross is also the Producer and Co-writer of The Underground Overground Northern Line Song, featuring Abi Gilchrist.  For samples of Ross' potent work please click here or here.
   

 

Nicholas Paul Simpson  –  Nicholas, born and raised in Luton, started learning piano from his father at the age of three. Four years later he wrote his first composition and, a short while after, was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music to study composition and piano.   Further study included degrees at London and York universities where he won numerous prizes and awards for composition, piano and conducting.  Nicholas was very enthusiastic about film scoring from an early age and supported himself throughout college by playing jazz piano in a bar at night.  Following graduation Nick was retained to provide scores for numerous independent short films, and later began an association with the BBC and ITV. This led to many orchestrations for both television and radio, including trails for the Proms and incidental music for the successful TV series Where the Heart Is. In 1997, Nick was asked to orchestrate what was to become the Christmas No. 1 chart hit, Perfect Day, written by Lou Reed and performed by a stellar range of artists including Tom Jones, Elton John, David Bowie, Tammy Wynette, Courtney Pine and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.  Since then, Nick has continued to conduct the Reading Chamber Orchestra and White Rose Opera Company.  Nicholas' compositions have additionally been performed at the Barbican Hall and additional scores for independent short films have included I, Rasputin, The Seller and Strange Digs, using both sample-based and live professional ensembles.  Nick currently lives near London with his wife and young son.  Samples of Nicholas's exciting diversity in terms of musical styles can be sampled here.

with Additional Highlights from six of the
inaugural TWA Launch Compositional Celebrants

 

Craig Adams – A Lancashire lad who first learned to play the piano at the age of 3, Craig trained at Mountview Theatre School with a BA (Hons) in Acting & Musical Theatre, receiving two scholarships (i) a Three year Mackintosh Foundation for Sports and Arts Scholarship winner as well as (ii) a Mountview Singing one.  His theatre credits include Covering and playing Sky on 'Mamma Mia's International Tour (has it not had many?), Jack in 'Into the Woods' (Byre Theatre, St Andrews), John Hinkley in 'Assassins' (Landor Theatre, London), Cover Tony in the tour of 'Masterclass' with Jane Lapotaire, Liseo in 'Life’s a Dream' (Camden People’s Theatre), Christopher Twink in 'Tess' (Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield and Savoy Theatre, London), Ray Pain in 'Let Him Have Justice' (Cochrane Theatre London, for the now defunct Covent Garden Festival), Prince Charming in 'Cinderella' at Milton Keynes Theatre and The Pretty Prince in 'Spell' (Wimbledon Studio Theatre). He was also the Composer and Musical Director on 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'The Frog Prince' (Edinburgh Festival) and 'Spell'. Craig was the Musical Director on 'Oh! What a Lovely War' (Bridewell Theatre, London) & Composer & Lyricist for 'Soho Story - A Ballet', 'The Nativity' and 'Let Him Have Justice'.  His television credits include 'Casualty' (BBC), 'EastEnders' (BBC), 'Coronation Street' (Granada TV) and 'Hollyoaks' (Mersey TV).  You will find Craig on the following recordings 'Let Him Have Justice' original cast recording and Kevin in a new musical version of Arnold Wesker’s play 'The Kitchen'.  At a presentation of new musicals by Perfect Pitch, TWA judge Mark Shenton wrote:  “As Oscar Hammerstein II so sagely put it in a lyric in The Sound of Music, “A song is no song till you sing it.” And a show is no show till you produce it. A whole generation of aspiring British composers are being denied the valuable opportunity to learn and grow through production. But last night, at least, we heard that a few of them can at least write good songs, like Craig Adams – juggling a night job performing in the tour of Mamma MiaIn the inaugural TWA programme, First Time, Craig's 'Andronicus Returns' and 'But If I Bow' were magnificent examples of determination, intelligence and passion showing clear hope for the future of the art of song-making in contemporary Britain.  Most recently Craig served as Musical Director on Kerry Ellis' one woman show as part of the British Songbook at the Shaw Theatre, created a magnificent score for 'Battlement' at RADA, a version of Shakespeare's Hamlet for young people and is currently collaborating on a new musical version of Therese Racquin.   
 


Sarah very kindly will be rehearsing
and playing Liam Dunachie's music
as well as undertaking a similar role
for Craig Adams' ANDRONICUS RETURNS.

 
Sarah Bodalbhai – (pronounced Bod-al-bye)  Recommended by Sarah-Louise Young, Sarah graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2007 where she read Music.  Previously she studied piano with Laura Roberts at the Junior Department of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and was awarded The Keyboard Instrument Prize on leaving in 2003.  Sarah currently works as a piano teacher, and pianist playing in a variety of styles including classical, pop, indie/rock, jazz, musical theatre and cabaret.  As MD/pianist, theatre credits include Anything You Can Do! (Kadmes Theatre at the Greenwich Playhouse, August 2008), as AMD/pianist: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Cambridge University ADC at the Edinburgh Fringe 2007) and Aristophanes' Clouds (Flytheatre at The Bridewell, March 2008).  She is rehearsal pianist for Eyebrow Productions' Showtime Challenge, rehearsing Crazy For You in 48 hours and performing it at the London Palladium on October 18th to raise money for charity Cecily's Fund.   She has played for a couple of cabaret shows for Theatre Delicatessen and is regular pianist for cabaret night Soiree at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club.  Other performance projects include The Night Climbers (contemporary free improvisation trio with saxophonist Oscar Lomas and drummer Dan Paton), a jazz functions band, a piano trio and performances at The Little Proms at the Spice of Life in Soho, which aims to bring classical music to different audiences in a more chilled-out, pub setting.  Sarah has always enjoyed writing pop songs, and composed some music for theatre during her time at Cambridge, but has only recently become more seriously interested in composing.  Her creation of songs to original lyrics (the delightfully comic Sprung and Effimero, (so dramatically wrought in Italian) in TWA's First Time programme were hailed by all who heard them.  

 

 

Alfie Granger-Howell – ‘A wunderkind’ I muttered coming off the phone after speaking to Alfie.  (Alfie is the chap to the left in the photo.)  He had been recommended by the miraculous Frank Lazarus, who, himself, had spent time teaching Alfie composition at the Royal Academy of Music from where he (Alfie that is) graduated in 2007 after working primarily under Dick Walter and James Brett.  Since that time, it is quite clear that Alfie has, quite simply taken off.  Indeed, taken off … BIG TIME.  A composer of orchestral music, electro-acoustic soundscapes and electronic dance music, Alfie’s recent work for film and TV includes work with director/producer Simon Moseley, and director Kara Miller. TV and online advertising clients include Perfect Getaways and Blue Sky Construction. Alfie has also been collaborating on several projects with motion graphics artist Zoltan Ray.  As if that wasn’t enough, Alfie is also a much sought-after dance music producer, most notably as one half of ‘Solarity’ whose recent releases on various labels have gained radio and dance floor play from some of the world’s biggest DJs (Tiesto, Ferry Corsten, Dave Dresden).   Alfie displays a remarkable and astute variety on his musical samplings page – indeed for anyone of ANY age.  Do yourself a favour:  rush here.   The (as Ian Carlyle wrote 'hugely talented') Alfie was the proud recipient of the first Tim Williams Award for Best Composition for his thrilling 'We Wear the Mask'.
 

 

David Hewson – David is about to graduate from the invaluable Rose Bruford Actor/Musician Programme – which more and more seems to provide so many UK commercial theatres with their MDs and … well …  actor-musicians nowadays.  David had in fact toiled as a MD prior to going to college, so perhaps this is but the world come to rights.  Highly skilled on the piano and clarinet, David additionally plays accordion, bass/electric and just plain ol’ guitar as well as  saxophone.  There is diversity in his singing as well given that is he a baritone with a (I’m told) mean counter tenor.  The first time I saw David was watching his class perform in ‘Moll Flanders’ at the Players Theatre.  My attention often wandered away from centre stage under those arches to David’s collaborative skill on the keyboards.  His distinct sensitivity in terms of imaginative support offered of his peers was what I remembered.  ‘Hear the dance; see the music’ as Balanchine wrote.  I thought: ‘now if that boy can just do the same in terms of imaginatively co-ordinating in terms of his response to a text, he will have it made’.  I have every confidence that WILL be the case and that David will show us his best in that regard.

 
Rachel Lyske - Rachel is refreshingly direct and charming on the phone.  We are privileged to have her as a member of the inaugural JDI/TWA team.  Since graduating from the Royal Academy of Music's Media and Applied Music course with a first class honours degree in 2006 Rachel has been working and living in London, Berlin and Barcelona.  Rachel has enjoyed being an assistant to the film composer Trevor Jones and recent independent projects include a short film The Snow White File, based on a tune from the musical adaptation of "Snow White" which Rachel also composed. Since its premiere in Berlin and at  London's BAFTA The Snow White File has been showcased in several film festivals including the LA Short Film Festive and Bradford International Film Festival. Other projects include Fodors' feature film Hamlet, a documentary on a northern Italian village for Angel Productions Cascina Papaveri and conducting, arranging and vocal coaching on a variety of albums for recording artists including Marco Polo and the international children's charity Kiwanis.   Rachel additionally works as a music teacher, session singer and runs two businesses: One, a music production company based in London “The MuSOS” and the other, a little more randomly, “Sol Smoothies”, a smoothie shop on the beach in Barcelona.  Let there be no doubt:  that was certainly an added sweetner … LOL …  Please click here for but a few samples of Rachel’s glorious talent.  I have a feeling these are somewhat out of latest date, but, still, they will give some little indication of Rachel’s glorious and varied multi-talents.  Rachel was responsible for the magnificent songs 'When I Was' and the duet 'I Know' which won the first TWA for Best Lyric Inspired by a Classical/Established Source.   
 

 

Nick Pegdan – Nick is a teacher of music and drama in London after having graduated with a music degree from the University of Chichester and a graduate degree from the London School of Musical Theatre.  Nick plays the piano, guitar, clarinet, harmonica and drums and has also participated in MTM’s (Musical Theatre Matters) MOS (Month of Sundays), conducted in association with LSW’s long-standing partners, RADA.  Nick now lectures on Music at Arts Educational.  There is no question but that what finally clinched Nick’s selection was a review for a children’s musical he wrote entitled ‘Scenic Route’ and which has most recently been revived at London's Roundhouse:   ‘It is Nick Pegden’s bravely assured and uplifting music that is the jewel in the crown of this show. It is rare to see a new musical and enjoy nearly every song. It is also rare to hear such an impressive score played on just a single piano. It is especially rare to leave the theatre humming the tunes and wishing that they hadn’t ended. All of which I and my 7 year old guest felt after hearing Nick Pegden’s music which resonated with a Kander and Ebb-like wit and Sondheim-esque harmonies and dexterous word choices. The show boasts a repertoire of ranging styles and genres of music all of which refuse to jar and never appear to be added for the sake of it: a tender and subtle love song one minute (we actually almost forget that the singers are meant to be sheep!), followed by a ‘bluesy’ number by a hungry wolf … followed closely with a 1940’s, ‘Baahbershop’ style, jazz number the next.”  I thought: ‘Yes, we MUST have some of that!”  You can see and hear more of Nick here.  Nicks telling take on Rebecca Applin's wonderful lyric 'On Tamil Hill' succeeded in winning the magnificent Phillip Browne the first TWA Award for Best Interpretation of Song.  It was truly a winning and magnificent collaboration celebrated by all.