Great news from Poland! My Friend the Polish Girl has received the Grand Prix at this Film Festival for debut films. A massive and deserved well done to directors Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek who were there to pick up their award, and also to Michal Dymek who picked up best cinematography. Next stop for the film is a UK release from July 19th.
Seahorse had full and enthusiastic audiences for its European premiere screenings at Sheffield Documentary Festival last week. It was great to travel up to watch the film — including q+a with director Jeanie Finlay and film’s subject Freddie McConnell — where I enjoyed a few days watching documentaries and attending talks. Other highlights included American Factory and audience award winner For Sama, as well as a talk with the legendary Werner Herzog. Seahorse is currently showing in New Zealand, and will screen in London on July 16th.
I’m delighted to have been selected by Wild Plum Arts for their Made at the Red House residency in Aldeburgh this summer. The Britten Pears Foundation invited Wild Plum Arts to host the residencies for composers and writers at their four cottages and Red House.
I will be staying in Cosy Nook – the cottage built by Britten and Pears for their housekeeper – and working on my oratorio about Joan of Arc. We are provided breakfast and lunch to eat in our cottages, and in the evening we all meet to share an evening meal. The peaceful surroundings and simple structure without distractions will give a wonderful chance to concentrate on my piece, which I am basing on the transcripts from Joan of Arc’s trials.
What a treat! I can’t wait to get stuck into the project and I’m very grateful to Wild Plum Arts for the opportunity.
Exciting news that the documentary feature I scored, Seahorse, is to receive its world premiere in competition at Tribeca. Directed by Jeanie Finlay and produced by Andrea Cornwell for BBC Storyville it is “one trans man’s pioneering quest to fulfil an age-old desire: to start his own family. This is the story of the dad who gave birth.”
It was a great pleasure to work with Jeanie on this documentary, which I scored for strings, piano, accordion, guitar and electronics.
Editor Alice Powell, executive producers Charlie Phillips at Guardian and Orlando von Einsiedel at Grain Media, Sound Designer Pip Norton.
I have just completed music for Cosima’s lovely and informative short film Phyllida, about the artist and her work.
The film coincides with Barlow’s fantastic new exhibition Cul-de-Sac at the Royal Academy and will be screened every Friday evening for the duration of the show.
Beautiful playing by Richard Curran and Jack Tait Westwell and music mixing by Rich Aitken. Also thanks to Sonica Studios for when I asked if I could prepare and record their piano responding with “sure, we’re always up for this kind of madness!”
Kamilla Arku premiered my Suite for Prepared Piano, volume 1 as part of her repertoire of new music on February 5th. The concert, which also included music by Lainie Fefferman, George Walker, Tania Leon, Virginia Seay and Lowell Liebermann, was part of the Borough New Music series, and also raised money for Music for Liberia. It was a wonderful concert and Kamilla played beautifully.
Fantastic recording session yesterday at Sonica Studios with pianist Yshani Perinpanayagam and guitarist Ned Roberts for several tracks I’ve composed for Jeanie Finlay’s new feature documentary, The Seahorse. Jeanie was so rock n’ roll she flew in and out of Nottingham to lay down some beautiful cello parts. Thanks to Mat and Paul for great engineering.
I’ve really enjoyed working with Jeanie and editor Alice Powell on this excellent film, for Grain Media and BBC.
More good news for My Friend the Polish Girl. It was recently nominated for the Michael Powell award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where it also had its UK premiere. I joined the directors Eva and Mateusz and actors Aneta, Emma and Darren for the festival and great fun was had by all. Sadly my short stay meant I didn’t get to see many films but my highlight was the powerful documentary Island of the Hungry Ghosts.
Following on from Edinburgh, My Friend the Polish Girl has been entered into the international competition of New Horizons Festival, Wroclaw, Poland, which takes place at the end of this month, and now the “Certain Regard’ competition at Gydnia Film Festival in September.
I have recently completed my Suite for Prepared Piano, which I’d started during a weekend in composing isolation at The Tractor Shed before Christmas. The preparation for these pieces is fairly light — brass bolts are inserted between 14 strings, creating bell-like tones; blue tack is laid on several others, giving a plucked, stopped sound; most other notes sound as normal. The nine movements come to around 15 minutes, each one lasting between 45 seconds and several minutes.
I was lucky enough to have the wonderful pianist Kamilla Arku record the suite on a lovely Bluthner at Alice’s Loft studio. Engineering at this beautiful space were owner Denise Mangiardi, engineer Joe Wensley and assistant Antonio, who not only did a fantastic job but made the whole experience relaxed and enjoyable.
Kamilla will be performing this Suite next February in a concert series in London, so watch this space….
Last week I finished the last bit of music for My Friend the Polish Girl, a first feature film by Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek. Tonight it premieres at Rotterdam Film Festival, in the Bright Future Competition. I enjoyed creating an electronic, minimalist score for this film. Best of luck and sorry I couldn't join you in Rotterdam Ewa and Mateusz!