Seahorse cinema release and TV premiere

Seahorse TV premiere

Seahorse, The Man Who Gave Birth had a UK-wide cinema release at the end of August, with many screenings accompanied by Q+A from the filmmakers. The audience reception has been incredible.

On September 10th the film was broadcast on BBC2, again with fantastic responses from viewers and many pick-of-the-days from media. It is now available to watch on player.

Cosy Nook, Made at the Red House

Made at the Red House residency with Wild Plum Arts

Cosy Nook, Made at the Red House residency

In August I spent a wonderful week staying at Cosy Nook, a lovely cottage on the outskirts of Aldeburgh built in the grounds of the Red House by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears for their housekeeper when she retired. I was here thanks to an amazing composing residency, hosted by the wonderful Wild Plum Arts, who had been asked by the Britten Foundation to run a summer of composing/writing workshops.

I took my Joan of Arc oratorio and made great progress, finalising the structure, paring down text and forming musical ideas for a couple of scenes.

There were two other composers and a composer/writer duo, and it was great to hear about their projects. We were lucky enough to have lovely weather, so every day I took a break with a run or swim, and while days were our own to work, we met together for dinner. These were provided by Wild Plum Arts’ Lucy Schaufer and Christopher Gillett, who as well as being amazing cooks were wonderful hosts and company. They invited various guests to join us on some nights, and it was great to meet Harriet Wybor from PRS, Sarah Bardwell from Britten Foundation, James Murphy from Royal Philharmonic Society and music expert/presenter/lots more Katy Hamilton.

It was such a treat to get this uninterrupted time to work on this composition and I am so grateful to Lucy and Chris for all their hard work and support.

Grand Prix for My Friend the Polish Girl at Mlodzi Film Festival

Grand Prix for My Friend the Polish Girl

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.

European premiere of Seahorse at Sheffield Documentary Festival

Seahorse European premiere

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.

Residency – Made at the Red House with Wild Plum Arts

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.

Cosy Nook, my home during the residency

New feature documentary Seahorse to premiere at Tribeca

Seahorse feature documentary by Jeanie Finlay

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.

Phyllida Barlow documentary at the Royal Academy

Phyllida in her studio

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 performs my Suite for Prepared Piano for Borough New Music

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.

Recording session for new feature documentary

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.

 

Yshani on piano

 

 

Guitarist Ned

 

Jeanie on cello

Accordion features on the score

In competition — more festival nominations for My Friend the Polish Girl

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.