with Additional Highlights from 6 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 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'.
 

 
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.   
 

 
Tarek Merchant – A graduate with a first class degree in music from the University of York and a secondary degree from the Actor/Musician programme at Rose Bruford, Tarek is currently the show MD (told ya) and an ensemble player in ALW’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’.  Tarek is also a member of Mercury Musicals and was recommended by the wonderful Harry Waller.  Having composed music for a number of productions including "Romeo and Juliet", "Twelfth Night" and "Sleeping Beauty" (all for The Works Theatre Company), Tarek worked alongside Max Stafford Clark on Out of Joint’s ‘Macbeth’ and even took part in an improvisational programme, ‘Instant Epic’ in the Czech Republic.  This very talented man is a multi-threat, playing a wide variety of instruments including piano, violin, flute and saxophone.  You can hear a hugely entertaining excerpt from Tarek’s 10 Minute Musical at the Greenwich Playhouse under Fiona Laird’s remit here.  Terek's witty and original creation of 'Macy Dz' and 'HMS Foudroyant' in FIRST TIME quite rightfully brought down the capacity house.

 

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.