Updated - January 2022
December 1st-23rd - We're Going On A Bear Hunt Live in Concert - touring with The Snowman....Carrot Productions embark on a nationwide tour of 'The Snowman', with orchestral score performed live, paired at most shows with Stuart's score for 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt'. Read all about it here on Carrot's website. In all, Bear Hunt gets a magnificent 22 performances in seven cities, with the Picturehouse Orchestra conducted by Steve Magee and George Morton. The tour kicks off with Buxton on December 1st+2nd, followed by Bear Hunting in Winchester (Dec 4th), Derby (Dec 7th+8th), Chester (Dec 18th), Durham (Dec 20th), Liverpool (Dec 22nd) and Coventry (Dec 23rd). It's a magnificent achievement, especially in mostly cathedral venues and in the current climate - but, as Stuart can attest, having attended the final show at Coventry Cathedral on the 23rd, the crowds came in big numbers and thoroughly enjoyed themselves! Happy Christmas!
December 21st - New feature documentary DISORDER - Scoring begins!....Producer Debbie Gray of Genesius Pictures gets in touch to discuss music scoring for a new feature-length documentary, titled 'A Lonely Crowd', aka 'Disorder'. It's directed by the ground-breaking, BAFTA-winning Kate Blewett. The 'disorder' in question is PTSD, and the film follows the individual personal journeys of three military veterans as they try to reintegrate into society. Stuart begins scoring the poignant film, aiming for recording sessions in Feb '22. Read more about the project here on Genesius Pictures' website.
November 4th - Repeat concert performance of strings piece 'Expanse' with CWSO....The Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra programme Stuart's piece 'Expanse' once again. This time it's a performance at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Maidenhead. Captain Sarah Marinescu conducts again - and it's terrific!
October 11th - I Can See Your Voice - Christmas versions!....Pitches for Christmas ads have been well under way for weeks already, but it's a treat to re-visit the theme music for I Can See Your Voice. The hit saturday night bad-singing-guessing-gameshow enjoyed a successful first season in the spring, and now there are two specials in the pipeline: for Children In Need next month, and a one-off Christmas edition - for which the theme music needs a bit of festive sparkle! The show is slated to return for a full second series in 2022. See excerpts from the season 1 here.
September 17th - Strings piece 'Expanse' gets official premiere performance....Stuart goes along to Regent Hall on London's Oxford Street to enjoy a new performance of his strings showpiece 'Expanse'. It's part of a very well-attended lunchtime concert given by the Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra, the string musicians of the Army Household Division, and, strictly speaking, it's the piece's full public premiere (following the competition and school performances given by the Dame Alice Owen's Senior Strings back in March 2020). This is preceded, a few days before, by a very pleasurable morning visit to Woolwich Barracks to work with the orchestra on details of the piece. The performance itself, conducted splendidly by Captain Sarah Marinescu, is every bit as exhilarating as the composer intended it to be!
August 11th - KENSUKE'S KINGDOM sets sail - Scoring begins!....Way back in the mists of 2016, Stuart scored the teaser promo for a proposed major new animated feature film from Lupus Films (makers of Bear Hunt) - KENSUKE'S KINGDOM - an adaptation of the well-loved Michael Morpurgo book of the same name. 5 years on, production is finally underway, and Stuart is on board officially as composer. Now armed with the full working animatic of the film, Stuart is excited to start developing his early thematic sketches and begin scoring to picture in earnest. Thus begins a very exciting creative period for him - working closely with Lupus and directors Neil Boyle (The Last Belle) and Kirk Hendry (Dancing on Ice promos). The animatic - basically, an edit of storyboard stills (but with character voices and sound fx) - is already beautiful and poignant even before there's any animation in it! The music is set to be a full symphonic masterpiece (no pressure...!) - to be developed carefully over the next year or so, and recorded with a named orchestra sometime in late 2022. In the meantime, read all about it (and watch the 2016 promo) here.
August 2nd - Zewa/Cushelle 'Wizard'....Following on from the 'Pilots' ad from a few months ago, Stuart completes a new orchestra arrangment for Zewa Deluxe - this time featuring the clumsy Claude as a Wizard's assistant. On air in European markets soon.
June 13th - Wallace & Gromit Live In Concert....It's a real treat to travel up to The Lowry, Salford, to catch the Picturehouse Orchestra performing Wallace & Gromit Live In Concert. In the entertaining Carrot Productions show, the family audience are treated to specially created Aardman-animated clips of Wallace & Gromit, montages of their capers, a tour of the orchestra, and finally the full fabulous Oscar-winning masterpiece, 'The Wrong Trousers', with Julian Nott's orchestral score played live to the film. Strictly speaking, it's actually a research trip for Stuart, as he is set to conduct the show himself on his return trip to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, this Christmas...but it's a huge pleasure to see it all in action, and to sit in live audience for the first time in what seems like forever!
UPDATE (July/August) - Covid concerns in Taiwan have sadly led to Stuart's conducting engagement being cancelled for this year. But...in better news...Carrot will be performing Stuart's score for We're Going On A Bear Hunt Live In Concert alongside The Snowman on tour to cathedral venues across England and Wales in December. Exciting!
May 17th - Zewa/Cushelle 'Pilots'....Stuart creates an orchestral arrangement for the latest Zewa Deluxe ad for the European markets (Cushelle in the UK). Featuring, as always, the friendly big-foot Claude, the spot sees him and his young friend channeling their inner pilots.
April 28th - SKYBET....Stuart makes some ballsy orchestrations for the new Skybet adverts, fronted by the legendary Jeff Stelling. Stuart oversees recording sessions with full live strings and brass line-ups (30 players and 11 players, respectively) with FAMES in Skopje, North Macedonia, with epic results. Look out for the ads on your TV screens soon.
April 10th - I CAN SEE YOUR VOICE premieres on BBC One.... Based on a hugely successful South Korean format, the BBC's brand new music gameshow series premieres tonight at 7.20pm, BBC One. Stuart, in association with A-Mnemonic Music, has composed the theme music, bumpers, stings and all mood / incidental underscores to go with the show. It's a very entertaining format, with Paddy McGuinness at the helm, where contestants are given a series of clues to help try to guess who from the line-up is a good or a bad singer - without actually hearing them sing! They are assisted by celebrity panellists Amanda Holden, Alison Hammond and the withering put-downs of Jimmy Carr. The show has a good punchy colourful vibe to it, and it should be a strong addition to the Saturday night primetime line-up for the next eight weeks. See excerpts from the first show here.
April 9th - ROBINSONS 'Let There Be Fruit'.... It's a been a long time in the making, but the new campaign for Robinsons - with the tagline 'Let There Be Fruit' set to music by Stuart - finally makes it to UK and Irish television screens. Stuart worked on two rounds of research with the music back in the summer, but it's a demo he composed and recorded when in quarantine in his Taipei hotel room in December that has been developed into the finished soundtrack. It's an all-singing extravaganza in a flamboyant musical style, recorded with singers and musicians in London (and an Irish cast in Dublin) but filmed - remotely! - in South Africa. Feast your eyes and ears on it here on the showreel page! Whether you're epic pruning, or you've got to keep ballooning.... liven up your water with Robinsons and LET THERE BE FRUIT!
March 15th - BARCLAYS Money Mentors.... Stuart completes work on the latest commercial for Barclays. The heroine, Jess, is catapulted into her visually stunning galactic 'Moneyverse' where her Barclays Money Mentor helps her find a pathway through her finances to realise her dreams. Stuart develops the Happy Mondays' 90s classic 'Step On' into an epic spacey orchestral arrangment, crescendoing to land Jess back in reality with a thump. On your TV screens now and here on the showreel page!
March 3rd - PAMPERS.... On TV screens across the UK and Europe now is the new Pampers campaign, featuring a gentle composition from Stuart - all about the heightened sensations of a baby's world. Catch it here on the showreel page.
January 22nd - Vocal recordings for Robinsons.... It's a big busy day in the production of the new Robinsons commercial 'Let There Be Fruit!'. Stuart is in attendance at Another Studio, London, to supervise the recording of the UK cast of singers. Six adults and four kids (including the composer's niece Caitlin!) come and go - Covid-safely one by one - recording their character lines for the all-singing commercial extravaganza. Stuart records lots of stems with the kids in order to be able to build a big chorus sound for the final mix. An entirely new cast is to be recorded in Dublin in March for 'MiWadi' - the Irish incarnation of Robinsons, plus cutdowns and radio ads still to come.
November 29th to December 22nd – The Bear and Peter & The Wolf LIVE IN CONCERT – TAIWAN.... With much of the world in turmoil, Stuart finds himself jetting off to one of the few places on the planet where life and the performing arts have been back in full swing for many months. It’s a welcome return to conduct the stunning Counterpoint Ensemble at Kaohsiung’s breathtaking National Center for the Performing Arts, Weiwuying. On the menu for their family Christmas concerts this time are Howard Blake’s The Bear (1998) and Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter & The Wolf (2006), scheduled for three performances over the weekend of December 19th and 20th.
First though, is the small matter of 14 days’ quarantine. Stuart is confined to a hotel room in Taipei and keeps himself as busy as possible with ongoing commercial work (including a whole series of remote recording sessions with singers!), score preparation for the concerts, opening a daily door of his advent calendar, and all the exercise he can manage in the space he has...! There’s regular contact from the Taiwanese authorities to confirm his good health, and daily contact with home and his colleagues in Kaohsiung to keep spirits up.
Finally, Stuart walks a free man the morning of December 15th and it’s a bullet train ride south to Kaohsiung, where the fresh air and sunshine feel utterly envigorating. Reunited with the orchestra for rehearsals the following day, it’s down to work. Once again, it’s a huge pleasure to conduct these wonderful players, and such a privilege to be able to making live music at all in the current circumstances. The Bear – a less famous, but no-less-brilliant animation from the makers of the Snowman, and with a stunning score from Howard – comes together beautifully, and girl singers Amina and Audrey (supported by tenor Claude and baritone YiSheng) give the characters splendid voices. And Peter & The Wolf – Suzie Templeton’s magnificent Oscar-winning short with Prokofiev’s celebrated score – is a real thrill. Bonnie Lin once again leads the ensemble with great panache, and the concert hall is packed to the rafters for all three performances with energetic family audiences enjoying every minute.
It’s a trip not without its dramas, including a monster 6.2 earthquake whilst in quarantine (no harm done though, and no great drama for the locals!), the Moscow Ballet threatening to derail the reputation of visiting international artists by importing a slew of positive covid cases during performance week, and flights home being abruptly cancelled (when en route to the airport!) due to the increasing gravity the UK covid situation. But....after a scramble to get home in time for Christmas, it’s a trip Stuart will remember for the efficiency and charm and warm welcome of his Taiwanese hosts, and the wonderful music-making he was able to take part in. Fingers crossed for a repeat invitation for Christmas 2021!
November 7th - Promax GOLD for Dancing On Ice.... The Dancing On Ice 2020 Promo wins Gold at this year's Promax UK awards. It triumphs in the Entertainment/Reality category, and is well-deserved for ITV Creative with Aardman's beautiful animation (directed by Will Studd) and Stuart's orchestral adaptation of 'The Impossible Dream'. See the full list of winners here, and catch the award-winning work here on the showreel page.
October 17th - GONE - Welcome to the FAYZ...? Engage Productions, helmed by producers AJ Riach and Ian Hennell, have completed work on a teaser promo for the potential TV adaptation of author Michael Grant's hugely popular young adult fiction series 'Gone'. Stuart has scored the clip, directed by BAFTA Breakthrough Brit Destiny Ekaragha, working closely with Mr Grant himself. It's under wraps for now whilst Engage are busy pitching it privately to studios - but suffice to say, it's a mini-epic in itself, and promises to expand the world of Gone into a searingly brutal TV series to match the books! You won't look at a field of cabbages the same way again... Read all about the making of the promo here.
October 13th - New BBC Saturday night show.... There's a new primetime saturday night comedy music game show coming to BBC One in the new year. Called 'I Can See Your Voice', produced by Fremantle, and hosted by Paddy McGuinness, it's the UK version of a hugely successful South Korean format - and Stuart has, in association with A-Mnemonic, created the titles music, stings and underscore for the show. Currently filming - on air in early 2021! Read more about it in this BBC article.
October 1st - Charlie Banana - 'A little softness can change the world'.... In association with A-Mnemonic Music, Stuart has composed music for the new animated spot for the Charlie Banana brand - nappies with softness and eco-sustainability as their core values. Beautifully animated by Hayley Morris for NERD Productions, the music is gentle and warm with live strings, piano and guitar. See the spot here on the showreel page, and here onYouTube.
August 2nd - HIROSHIMA - 75 YEARS LATER broadcasts.... The History Channel feature-length documentary marking the anniversary of the beginning of the atomic age broadcasts in the US. It's a magnificent and moving piece of film-making from October Films, told entirely from the first-person perspective of leaders, physicists, soldiers and survivors - all accompanied and coloured by Stuart's symphonic score. Currently scoring 4.7 stars out of 5, it's now available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. See a clip here on the showreel page.
July 9th - Music+Sound Awards nomination.... The announcement comes today of the nominations for the prestigious Music+Sound Awards, and it's gratifying to be in the mix again for the TV Promo Re-record or Adaptation category (with the Dancing On Ice 2020 Promo). The 2019 promo got a nomination also, so hopefully the follow-up can bring home the bacon this time!
June 30th - Sandringham School.... Invited by good friend Mrs Karen Paul, deputy head at Sandringham School in St Albans, Stuart delivers an online talk about his composing career to some 130 students. A rewarding, if slightly surreal experience, with lots of interesting questions coming from the students.
June 13th - Return to Taiwan for film music concerts.... Stuart receives a return invitation to helm the family film music concerts this Christmas at the fabulous National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Taiwan. Last year he conducted the stunning Counterpoint Ensemble in their live performances to picture of The Snowman and Stuart's own We're Going On A Bear Hunt, and on this year's menu is The Bear and Peter & The Wolf. Contracts are agreed and signed, and all being well, Stuart will lead the performances on December 19th and 20th. See the concert info here.
June 8th-10th - Live sessions and mixing for HIROSHIMA - 75 Years Later.... With lockdown locking us all down, Stuart is fortunate to have a juicy scoring project to keep him very busy. It's a feature-length documentary for the History Channel, concerning the build-up to, dropping of and aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. Expertly directed by James Erskine, and largely constructed from archive footage and interviews, much of it previously unseen and unheard, it's a fascinating insight into the motivations, the science, the fall-out and the reverberations that are still being felt to this day. The music score is suitably epic, and with restrictions beginning to ease, Stuart is delighted to be able to return to his old Highgate basement haunt to record live string sections (socially distanced!) on the score, really upping the emotion and production value of the music. The programme will broadcast on August 6th: the 75th anniversary of this history-defining moment.
May 22nd - FRESH AIR.... Today is release day for the 'Fresh Air' double album from Air-Edel Associates, in response to the current situation, featuring previously unreleased music from Stuart and his fellow composers. The Breathe Out album closes with 'Brave' - one of the most uplifting, anthemic songs from the community project 'Snapshot Songs' that Stuart led back in 2014. Brave features the brilliant Body & Soul teen ambassadors Malunga Yese, Esther Unique Buyoya and Christiana Akintunde as soloists, alongside the magnificent Snapshot Songs Choir, led by Peter Ash and Olivia Preye Bradbury, with the support of the SHM Foundation. Check it out here on Spotify, on iTunes and on Amazon.
All proceeds from the albums are going to Breathe Arts Health Research, which, amongst other endeavours, takes music and performance into healthcare spaces with its ‘Breathing Spaces’ programme. Feels like a very good fit for 'Brave'. Please stream it, buy it and spread the word!
March 30th - Amazon 'Thank You'.... Stuart composes music for new commercial spots (TV and online) for Amazon - in which the company thanks its employees for keeping up the good work in the midst of the current chaos. Stuart's track is piano'n'strings and is appropriately sensitive and uplifting for these challenging times.
March 1st & 3rd - EXPANSE - new piece for String Orchestra.... Stuart's newest piece enjoys two performances in three days. The piece is for string orchestra, commissioned by Dame Alice Owen's School, Potters Bar, where good friend James Widden is Head of Strings. The 9-minute piece remained unnamed at the beginning of the rehearsal process, with Stuart setting the young players the challenge not only of learning the piece, but naming it! 'Expanse' was the suggestion that stuck - and feels very apt for the work in terms of range and emotional-roller-coaster-type passagework. The players are phenomenal and pull it off spectacularly, making you forget they are still school children! The first performance is at Music for Youth at Watford School of Music, and the second at Dame Alice Owen's School Edward Guinness Hall, two days later.
February 29th - Violin Concerto Performance, Cadogan Hall.... Jack Liebeck gives his first performance of Stuart's epic Violin Concerto, with the equally epic Imperial College Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Oliver Gooch. It's a thrilling ride with some edge-of-the-seat tempos at the magnificent Cadogan Hall, London, and features in a programme alongside Walton's Portsmouth Point and Mussorgsky/Ravel's Pictures at an Exhibition. Whilst it's wonderful to have a swathe of glowing reviews from the classical press over the release of Raptures (featuring the Concerto), the email Stuart gets the following morning from an audience member (and complete stranger) is somehow just as special:
"Dear Mr Hancock, although I have no musical talent I attend many concerts at the Barbican, RFH, Kings Place, St Johns, and of course Cadogan. Whenever we go we DREAD the inclusion of a world premiere or work by a modern composer. What a wonderful surprise yesterday. I have rarely enjoyed a violin concerto so much. Heartiest congratulation and I trust you will enjoy the success your work deserves. Thank you again. Rodney Moss"
February 22nd - Planet Hugill interview.... Stuart is interviewed by journalist/composer Robert Hugill for his classical music blog Planet Hugill. Robert's in-depth write-up about Stuart and his work can be read here.
February 12th - Representation with Air-Edel.... With a Spotify #1 album under his belt and a handful of juicy new projects in the offing, Stuart takes on new representation with Air-Edel Associates. Please see details on the Contact page.
February 6th - RAPTURES - Critical acclaim across the classical music press.... Raptures has received a lot of love from all corners of the classical music press. Here's a quick round-up of who's said what:
Interlude - "This is music written by someone for whom the music flows. It's tuneful, and something that even the orchestra falls in love with." [Maureen Buja]
Gramophone Magazine - "Effervescent... spacious sound and detailed annotations... much to enjoy" [Richard Whitehouse]
BBC Music Magazine - "Wide-eyed, big-hearted... a joyous hour of large, lyrical music... Liebeck’s performance is committed and engaging; he makes every note count and demand attention… The spirit of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev is apparent here and there for sure; Hancock is a worthy successor." 4**** [Michael Beek]
Musicweb international - "Variations on a Heroic Theme is a crowd-pleaser, par excellence. The Violin Concerto is a substantial, attractively memorable and superbly orchestrated work that has given me a great deal of pleasure in recent days... I really cannot praise it too highly. It is such a pleasure to be able to thoroughly enjoy a modern work, and to be able to believe that the orchestra are thoroughly enjoying themselves too." [Jim Westhead]
The Strad - "Writing on such a grand scale clearly suits him, and his gift for a sweeping, heart-rending theme makes this a thoroughly indulgent pleasure... The final work, Raptures, has some lovely soloistic moments for strings and bears Hancock's hallmark expert orchestration, in themes that are always big on appeal. Bright and crisp recorded sound all adds to the enjoyment." [Catherine Nelson]
Review Graveyard - "...while I loved his previous work for film and television, it's now very clear, thanks to the music contained on RAPTURES, that he's been holding back on us... It has the level and depth of some of the greatest composers to have lived, whilst being instantly accessible to everyone... There isn't a wasted moment here. Each track has an emotional core that shines through. Without a doubt Hancock's finest release to date." 10/10 [Darren Rea]
SheaLolin.co.uk - "The long-flowing lines are eloquent and build in intensity with attractive harmonic twists at the climactic moments... very direct emotional appeal... It would certainly be interesting to hear what a symphony by Hancock might sound like." [Shea Lolin]
Records International - "rich tonal colours, atmospheric impressions and inventive brilliance" [Dima Sobodeniouk]
February 3rd - Scoring a new animated film promo.... Lupus Films commission Stuart to score a 90-second promo/teaser for a new animated feature they are developing. It's the animated Molesworth, based on the best-selling books by Geoffrey Willans and the timeless illustrations of Ronald Searle, and the director is none other than Uli Meyer, who Stuart worked with way back in the early days of his career on the animated BBC series "The Lampies". The teaser will be launched at Cartoon Movie Forum next month. Stay tuned for developments.
December 23rd - New concert composition for strings.... On the plane home from Taiwan, Stuart puts the finishing touches to a new concert piece. It's for string orchestra, commissioned by good friend James Widden for Dame Alice Owen's School, and will go into rehearsal with the start of the new school term in January. The players have been tasked with finding a title for the currently un-named piece! They will perform it for the first time in competition in the regional festival of Music for Youth on March 1st 2020. Looking forward to a relaxing time over Christmas and New Year before hitting the ground running in late Jan. Happy Christmas!
December 21st & 22nd - Bear Hunt and The Snowman LIVE IN CONCERT - TAIWAN... Stuart has been learning Howard Blake's timeless score to the animated classic The Snowman, as he is now off to the Far East to conduct it in a double-bill with We're Going On A Bear Hunt: The Film Live in Concert! It's a hugely exciting trip to undertake - flying to Kaohsiung City in the south of Taiwan (via Hong Kong). The 2,000-seater concert hall - at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Artis, Weiwuying - is breathtaking and the orchestra are every bit as brilliant. It's a wonderful few days of music-making and a truly exhilarating experience, with three sold-out performances. The Snowman and Bear Hunt feel like a very natural concert pairing and hopefully will perform again together in the future. Huge thanks to all at the Counterpoint Ensemble and their leader Bonnie, to Emily, Angela, Yu Pi and Alastair, and to Alex (singing 'We're Walking in the Air' so beautifully) for making this an unforgettably brilliant trip.
For details on the live Bear Hunt concert package, check out Intermusica's site here.
December 13th - New children's musical film on the way.... Stuart pitches for - and wins - the composer role on a new feature film. It's a full-blown musical based around a beloved children's TV character. Watch this space for more details in the new year!
December 12th - RAPTURES - BBC Radio 3 interview with Katie Derham.... On the airwaves again, this time live on BBC Radio 3 in conversation with national treasure Katie Derham on In Tune, marking the release of the Raptures album. It feels all too brief! But the chat is book-ended by radio plays (in full) of Variations on a Heroic Theme and the slow movement of the Violin Concerto.
December 5th - INTU, Where Christmas kicks in!.... Stuart creates a jaunty arrangement of Liza Minelli's little-known Christmas ditty 'Ding-a-ling' for INTU and their Christmas ad campaign. Featuring live brass and the brilliant vocals of Jodie Jacobs, it's sure to pull in the yuletide shoppers - Catch it on Youtube here!
November 30th - Variations on a Heroic Theme WORLD PREMIERE... In between Cardiff Bear Hunt performances, Stuart zooms back to catch the long-awaited world premiere of his concert overture Variations on a Heroic Theme. It's played with gusto by the Bridgewater Sinfonia, Berkhamsted, conducted by Steven Joyce. It has been a long time coming, as the piece was written for the Rehearsal Orchestra in 2007, and only ever, therefore, 'rehearsed'. But now, as track 1 on the Raptures album, this will hopefully the first of many performances!
November 30th to December 2nd - Bear Hunt LIVE IN CONCERT - CARDIFF... Wales is the next stop for We're Going On A Bear Hunt: The Film Live in Concert. Stuart is excited to be on the road to Cardiff to conduct the show with the Chamber Orchestra of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. The rehearsal process across two days is relaxed and productive, with the students really embracing the score and the technical team looking after everything flawlessly in the Dora Stoutzker Hall. Four superb performances take place across the weekend, with two for schools on the monday, and it's a totally lovely experience.
For details on the live Bear Hunt concert package, check out Intermusica's site here.
November 22nd - RAPTURES - Album Launch Event.... Stuart hosts a party at Lauderdale House, Highgate, to celebrate the launch of RAPTURES. Around 100 colleagues, friends and family are in attendance, and are treated to the composer on the piano playing an arrangement of "Fathom", the opening movement of the new orchestral version of "Raptures", and together with violinist Jack Liebeck delivering a lovely version of the slow movement of the Violin Concerto. Catch a clip of the performance here. The evening has a very jolly atmosphere, and Raptures gets itself a super launch into the world. It's available to purchase HERE!
November 18th - Dancing On Ice and Star Wars.... Another flying visit to Bratislava - just like this time last year - to record Stuart's tracks for the latest promo for ITV's Dancing On Ice and the new Kano Coding Kit. Dancing On Ice (new series starting in January) uses "The Impossible Dream" once again, but this time the animation is from Aardman, with a Toy Story-inspired music-box skater and spaceman enjoying a spin after dark. Visually, a stunning piece of work, and the orchestra are on fine form in Stuart's lush arrangement - on your TV screens soon and on the showreel page now.
Meanwhile, Kano has gone all Star Wars! Stuart has channelled his inner John Williams and produced a "light" and a "dark" theme to accompany the coding experience as users channel the Force for good or evil with the new Star Wars The Force Coding Kit. You can see/hear the results here.
November 15th - RAPTURES debuts at #1 on Spotify.... It's release day for RAPTURES. The fabulous full new concert works album featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra under the baton of Lev Parikian arrives with a bang on all the digital platforms, along with the physical CDs widely available. On release, Variations on a Heroic Theme lands at number 1 on Spotify's curated list of new releases, which represents a resounding endorsement of the quality of the album as a whole (being a list assembled by journalists, playlist-makers and general Spotify influencers).
And, what's more, the album gets an absolutely brilliant review from BBC Music Magazine. Reviewer Michael Beek says: "There should be nothing to fear in wide-eyed, big-hearted music that makes you feel, and it seems Stuart Hancock couldn't agree more. In this debut disc of concert works by the British composer, the BBC Concert Orchestra makes a joyous hour of large lyrical music." The review concludes: "Colour abounds on this disc and Hancock works from an immense palette. In the final five-movement Raptures there's cinematic story-telling, balletic motion, a wonderful festival atmosphere and moments of light and shade. The spirit of Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev is apparent here and there for sure; Hancock is a worthy successor and surely destined to write for the ballet stage." Feels like all the hard work is paying off!
Watch the story of how the RAPTURES album was put together here on the showreel page. Raptures is available to purchase HERE!
November 14th - RAPTURES - first radio airplay.... Variations On A Heroic Theme - track 1 from Stuart's new album RAPTURES - is unleashed on Scala Radio by Mark Forrest on his drivetime show.
November 13th - The Cutlass Crew - new and expanded version.... Stuart has been hard at work expanding his swahsbuckling pirate youth opera 'The Cutlass Crew'. Cuts from the original W11 Opera 2017 version are reinstated, plus there are three whole new scenes, amounting to about 20 minutes' worth of new material, as well as the expansion of the vocal writing to encompass full SATB parts throughout for a full family cast (dads and grandads included!). It's all for a new staging of the show by North Cambridge Family Opera, based outside Boston, US, who performed Stuart's first opera 'Rain Dance' so successfully in 2014. The shows are scheduled for the last weekend of March and first weekend of April 2020. Performance details here!
November 13th - Festive recording with Nigel Planer.... Stuart welcomes the brilliant Nigel Planer to his home studio to do some vocal recording (both singing and narration) on the demo for a planned new Christmas-themed concert work. Watch this space for developments!
October 4th and 25th - RAPTURES - singles released!.... In advance of the full album release on November 15th, Orchid Classics tease the waiting public with two singles - the curtain-raiser 'Variations on a Heroic Theme', and 'Fathom' from colourful new orchestral version of 'Raptures'. Stuart's promotional activities are beginning to ramp up, doing interviews for Interlude (Hong Kong), Meet the Artist, and a double-page profile spread in Classical Music Magazine.
October 1st - Hewlett Packard - Lighter Than Air.... Stuart supervises orchestra sessions with FAMES (Macedonia), adapting and re-recording the famous opening of Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra. It's all for a rather beautiful new commercial for the Hewlett Packard Elite Dragonfly laptop, which sees the heroine have an uplifting experience.... Have a watch online here.
September 30th - RAPTURES - Album pre-order.... With editing, mixing and mastering all done and CDs pressed, RAPTURES is now available to pre-order! Release date proper is November 15th.
July 4th - Music+Sound Awards - TWO nominations!.... News comes in that Stuart's work has been recognised in two categories at the prestigious international Music+Sound Awards. His music is a finalist in the Gaming Trailer/Promo category (for the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit) and in TV Promo Re-record or Adaptation category (for the Dancing On Ice 2019 Promo). Watch them both on the Commercials Showreel page here.
June 25th & 27th - BBC Concert Orchestra recording sessions for RAPTURES.... Stuart embarks on two days of recording with the wonderful BBC Concert Orchestra at Watford Colosseum for his forthcoming new first album of concert music. On day 1, Lev Parikian leads the players through 'Raptures' itself, Stuart's orchestration of his original 2003 quartet for flute, violin, viola and cello. In the evening, Stuart takes the baton himself to record two pieces (for future release!), and then on day 2, the orchestra is bolstered to a magnificent 68 players to record the album opener 'Variations on a Heroic Theme' and the epic Violin Concerto, with Lev Parikian back in charge.
World class violin soloist Jack Liebeck is on sparkling form and delivers a sensational rendition of the concerto. There are so many highlights of the two days - too many to mention - but huge thanks to all involved, not just the players, but Andrew Connolly and his team behind the orchestra for believing in the project and Dave Rowell and Patrick Allen for their recording expertise. On to mixing editing and mixing next! Release date is planned for November 15th on Orchid Classics.
June 11th - The National Museum of Qatar.... The breathtaking new masterpiece of architecture in Doha that is Qatar's new National Museum opened in late March. Collaborating once again with Ayn Al Shaheen's director Lyndal Davies, Stuart provides the music scoring for the fascinating hour-long 'making-of' film, exploring every facet of the construction of the building as well as the technology behind the interior design and exhibits.
April 12th - HIM & HER Short Film.... Stuart is delighted to compose the score for this beautiful new coming-of-age short. Starring Jonathan Jude and Aude des Pallieres, it's a genuine and moving exploration of the sexuality and innocence of two teenagers in a secluded hotel room. Stuart's score is suitably sensitive, employing delicate guitar and piano textures - see a clip here on the showreel page. Him & Her is set to do well on the festival circuit and build a name for its two brilliant leads and director Abigail Scollay.
February 2019 - Bear Hunt LIVE IN CONCERT first performances.... February sees the first live orchestral performances of Stuart's award-winning score for We're Going On A Bear Hunt with the film on the big screen. Three shows with two stunning orchestras in two cities to enthusiastic sell-out family audiences! Dublin hosts the first performances at the National Concert Hall on Saturday February 2nd. Stuart has the privilege of rehearsing and directing the 40-piece RTE Concert Orchestra - the loveliest, most welcoming bunch of pros one could hope to work with for the first gig. The Hall is packed to the rafters for both performances which Stuart conducts, alongside delightful presenter Emma O'Driscoll (formerly of the hugely successful pop band 'Six', and now a very familiar face on Irish children's TV).
And then it's onto the Royal Festival Hall (Southbank Centre, London) for the next performance on February 18th, as part of the brilliant Imagine Children's Festival for half-term. This time, it's a reunion with City of London Sinfonia, who made the original recording of the Bear Hunt score with Stuart at Abbey Road. Scinitillating playing from the band and a lively, energetic presentation from actress Lynne Forbes entertatin another packed house. Lots of constructive talks ongoing with other venues internationally for future performances - watch this space.
November 24th - DANCING ON ICE 2019....The promo for fast-approaching 2019 series of Dancing On Ice premieres on ITV1. It's a gorgeous follow-up to last year's polar bears - who've now had a cub! She finds herself on cracking ice performing some slick manoeuvres with a red squirrel for a partner. Brilliantly conceived by Tony Pipes at ITV Creative with genius direction from Kirk Hendry and hush-london.com, the music is Stuart's lavish arrangement of 'The Impossible Dream' recorded with the 60-piece Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. See it here on the showreel page here!
November 13th - Bear Hunt LIVE IN CONCERT announced - LONDON and DUBLIN.... RTE (Ireland) officially announce their World Premiere of the concert adaptation of 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt'. The big day is Saturday February 2nd 2019, at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, where Stuart will conduct the fantastic RTE Concert Orchestra. The two performances (at 12noon and 2pm) will feature a whistle-stop tour of the orchestra and themes from Stuart's score, followed by a screening of the full film with live orchestra accompaniment, all rounded off with a singalong to George Ezra's delightful theme song 'Me & You'. This is followed a couple of weeks later with the London premiere at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall with City of London Sinfonia. It's on Monday February 18th (the monday of half-term) at 2pm, as part of the Imagine Festival. Get your DUBLIN TICKETS HERE and your LONDON TICKETS HERE!
October 17th - Bring Your Own...Pony?.... Xfinity, the US cable/phone/broadband company, commission music from Stuart for their latest spot from San Francisco-based agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Epic orchestral music accompanies a horse-riding heroine before her bubble is burst... Produced in association with Siren - see it on their website here.
October 10th - Bratislava recordings.... A big day arrives - one of those exciting ones for Stuart, where he gets to work with a magnificent professional orchestra recording new music. He has several jobs lined up to record in the session - starting with the music for the promotional spots for the new series of ITV's 'Dancing On Ice' (more on that next month when it airs). This is followed by recording all the music live for the Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit, and the score for Martyn Pick's test film for 'Sophie and the Shadow Woods'. It's a deeply satisfying experience, as always, with conductor David Hernando Rico expertly guiding the 60 orchestral musicians.
October 4th - Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit.... Stuart has being working closely over the last couple of months with Eclectic Music and tech company Kano - whose mission is to give young people (and the young at heart) a simple fun way to make and play with technology and take control of the world around them. He's been creating music for Kano's new product - the Harry Potter Coding Kit - a programmable wand that reponds to your movements, allowing you to code and complete Harry Potter and Hogwarts-based challenges! Stuart's tracks include music for navigating around the Wizarding World, a specific music-coding challenge, and music for the Coding Kit's promotional film. Watch the promo here on the showreel page.
September 25th - Sophie and the Shadow Woods.... Stuart puts the finishing touches to a mini-epic score - the promotional test film for a TV-series adaptation of Linda Chapman's 'Sophie and the Shadow Woods' book series. Directed by Martyn Pick, it's all ready for recording with live orchestra next month.
September 19th - Carlsberg 'Specially Engineered'.... Stuart wins the pitch to score the music for a new ad for Carlsberg - one of the continued series featuring brilliant uber-cool Danish actor (and Bond villain) Mads Mikkelsen. It's a slick jazzy caper and will be on your tv screens soon.
July 3rd - Bitter Suite in Concert.... The London Phoenix Orchestra, who commissioned 'Bitter Suite' back in 2006, bring it back to the concert stage - reunited with original soloists Juice (Anna Snow, Sarah Dacey, Kerry Andrew) and conductor Lev Parikian. It's part of a concert celebrating women in music, and shares the programme with pieces by Amy Beach, Lili Boulanger and Grace Williams. Stuart's piece - a collection of colourful settings of nursery rhyme lyrics - gets an exuberant, very well-received performance. And the icing on the cake is England winning on penalties later the same night...! Hear clips from the premiere performance on the concert & theatre section of the showreel page.
June 6th - Senokot Max - constipation relief anyone?.... Stuart has composed this song and dance number for the latest Senokot Max campaign for Havas London, in association with A-Mnemonic Music. The advert celebrates "How a wonderfully regular life could be." After Stuart's song composition was approved, U.S. directors the Docter Twins were adamant the actors' performances on the shoot should sound as believable and real as possible, with minimum post syncing, preferably none. So, with a combination of in-ear monitoring and some expert sound recording on the shoot, the live takes were assembled. In the end, no post syncing required. What you hear are the actors original live takes, as they performed it. Sing along on the showreel page here!
April 18th - British Red Cross: The Power of Kindness.... Stuart composes the music for a powerful spot for the British Red Cross. See it here!
April 5th - Bear Hunt LIVE.... Stuart begins work on the live performance materials for 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt'. Recently announced by agents Intermusica, the 'Live In Concert' presentation in association with City of London Sinfonia is to include not just the film itself on the big screen, with live orchestral accompaniment (and Stuart conducting), but also a lively scripted musical introduction to Stuart's score as well as sing-alongs with George Ezra's delightful theme song 'Me & You'. All future performance enquiries should be directed to Intermusica.
March 22nd - Morrison's Savers.... The new ad campaign for Morrison's Savers range features Stuart's new arrangment of 'It's Oh So Quiet' (made famous by Bjork!). Sandi Toksvig's voice-over and Joe Auckland's trumpet stylings are the icing on the cake. Another one to watch out for in the ad breaks! (And see it here on the showreel page!)
March 11th - The Morning And The Night.... Stuart completes work on the score for short historical drama 'The Morning And The Night', from director Lo Pham. It's an ambitious and intriguing telling of the story of Father Giordano Bruno, the controversial 16th century monk, philosopher and cosmological theorist and his supposed meeting with the School of Night. Stuart reflects the tumultuous nature of the subject matter with a tense, atmospheric and theme-driven score, and enlists the vocal talents of 8-year-old niece Caitlin to sing the heart-breaking end credits music.
February 23rd - THE ICE KING in cinemas.... 'The Ice King', the feature documentary from director James Erskine, opens in cinemas today with a gala screening with Q&A at Picturehouse Central, Shaftesbury Avenue, London. The film with play at screens across the UK and Ireland throughout March and April '18. The packed Picturehouse audience are sucked into the drama of the story of John Curry and Stuart's searing adapted symphonic score, and early reviews are resoundingly positive ('A moving tribute to John Curry - a sublimely taented mand who straddled sport and art in an extraordinary way' - The Times). For show times, see the listings here.
February 19th - LEGOLAND.... Stuart completes music for this year's global advertising campaign for Legoland. The ad features some virtuoso lego-based animation (including the fabulous dragon pictured above), and the musical score is a new arrangement of Offenbach's famous 'Can-Can' which Stuart records remotely with regular collaborators the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, with David Hernando conducting. Watch out for it in the ad breaks and see it here on the showreel page.
December 9th and 10th - THE CUTLASS CREW.... After a term's worth of rehearsal and hard work with the creative team and the young stars of W11 Opera, it's curtain-up time for Stuart's new youth opera 'THE CUTLASS CREW'. The Elizabethan swashbuckling tale comes to life with some stellar performances from the 80-strong cast, most notably Theo Mackenzie as the charming pirate Digory Piper, Georgie Redhead as an imperious Queen Elizabeth, and above all, Kiana Mottahedan as leading lady Mary Killigrew, the captain of the daring Cutlass Crew. It's a slick production of a challenging and sophisticated score and shows that W11 Opera is in fine fettle. See video highlights of the show here.
September 12th - Recording session for THE ICE KING.... Documentary director James Erskine and Stuart travel to Bratislava for a spectacular day's recording with conductor David Hernando Rico and 60 of his finest musicians. The orchestra are put through their paces with Stuart's adaptations of such titans of the romantic classical repetoire as Debussy Prelude a l'Apres-midi d'un Faune, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker and Pathetique Symphony, and Ravel's glorious Piano Concerto in G (with Tom Poster on the keys). It will all come together with Stuart's original score music to form a beautiful soundtrack for James' sensitive portrayal of champion ice-skater John Curry's game-changing balletic artistry, tempestuous lifestyle and untimely death. Set for a cinema release early in 2018. See here for more about the film.
September 8th - Strong reviews for CRAZYHEAD soundtrack album.... Stuart's grungy retro Crazyhead electronica seems to have struck a chord with the soundtrack reviewers! Here's a summary of who's said what:
Jorn Tillnes of Soundtrack Geek: "pretty damn cool...the music has quite a bit of rough synth in it, very retro, and I dig that. The score isn't just about jump scares, but about building a mood that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Even the flat-out action sequences are scary and kick ass at the same time. The inspiration is clearly a bit of 80s fun as well with well placed and sounding synths that will jiggle your nostalgia bone." Geek Score: 87.2/100
Pete Simons of Synchrotones: "I've become something of a fan of Hancock's since hearing The Last Belle and We're Going On A Bear Hunt. He has a real knack for lovely, whimsical orchestral writing. Crazyhead is a far cry from that style. It's a fusion of rock and retro electronica. The high-energy grungy side of the score isn't for me, I have to say; but I do like the electronics which often tends to be more laid back and atmospheric. It's a very 'current' score, very much in line with what seems popular for television shows these days... retro synths, some high octane grunge. If you're into that, then happy daze!"
Darren Rea of Sci-Fi Online: "For those that have been following Stuart Hancock's output (I have, for one), his work on Crazyhead shows another side to his talents. This time around Hancock goes a little more electronic and dips his toe into upbeat, funky, rock-based themes. It's a score that works well for the series it was composed for, and it's also an interesting (if a little off-the-wall) soundtrack in its own right. The score contains 24 tracks (59 min) and represents a major step up from the normal horror, suspense score. Tracks like 'Bowling Alley Bust-Up' get the blood pumping, preparing an audience for a fight-or-flight response. Meanwhile, tracks like 'The Rapey Van' have intricate and well constructed memorable themes at their core. There's a lot here to digest and enjoy." Rating: 8/10
July/August - THE ICE KING.... Stuart begins work on a documentary score, working title 'The Ice King'. It's a fascinating portrayal of British 1976 Olympic champion ice-skater John Curry, directed by James Erskine (One Night In Turin, EMR), and together with composing original cues, Stuart will be adapting and re-recording the glorious classical music to which Curry choreographed his balletic routines. See here for more about the film.
July 13th - Bear Hunt in international Awards DOUBLE WHAMMY!.... Announced today: We're Going On A Bear Hunt sensationally pulls off the awards double, swooping in to claim the prestigious Music+Sound Award for Best Original Composition in a Short Film. See the full list of winners here and the trailer for Bear Hunt on the showreel page.
July 7th - Bear Hunt bags a Jerry!.... Stuart is in attendance at the 12th edition of the Jerry Goldsmith Awards as part of MOSMA (MovieScore Malaga). The Jerrys have been a happy hunting ground for Stuart, and this year he strikes gold again with We're Going On A Bear Hunt picking up the award for Best Short Film Score, against particularly strong international competition. It's a very enjoyable evening meeting old friends and new, with legendary composers Trevor Jones and David Shire in attendance and enjoying outstanding live performances from Shire and Tyler Bates as part of the wider festival. See the full list of winners here and the trailer for Bear Hunt on the showreel page.
July 28th - Double MAS nominations.... The prestigious Music+Sound Awards teased their finalist nominations via Twitter this afternoon, keeping the composer and sound designer communities on the edge of their seats... Stuart has come good with not one but two nominations: for the MUM social media campaign (Best Original Composition in Online/Viral/Ambient Advertising) and We're Going On A Bear Hunt (Best Original Composition in Short Film Score). Winners due to be announced - by Twitter! - on July 13th.
June 23rd - CRAZYHEAD album release.... With negotiations complete, MovieScore Media finally release Stuart's soundtrack to Crazyhead - the brilliant comedy-horror series from Howard Overman and Urban Myth Films. It's Stuart's 9th commercially released soundtrack, and features 25 tracks and 62 torrid minutes of brutal grunginess and is available on Amazon, Spotify and all the usual places.
June 21st - W11 Opera sing-through... On a fiercely hot evening in West London, Stuart presents his newly completed children's opera to the trustees of W11 Opera for Young People. Singers Katy Cooper, Pippa Duffy, Louisa Green and Matt Howard deliver a thrilling first chamber performance of 'The Cutlass Crew' with Stuart at the piano. The show will go into casting and rehearsal in September, with performances the second weekend of December at the POSK Theatre, Hammersmith. See W11's website for preliminary info on the new show.
May 31st - Hunting for another Jerry.... The Jerry Goldsmith Awards nominations are out today, and Stuart is delighted to once again be in the mix. We're Going On A Bear Hunt is nominated for Best Short Film Score, with the ceremony as part of MOSMA (MovieScore Malaga) on July 7th. See the full list of nominees here. Good excuse for another trip down to Spain...
April 16th - Easter repeat for Bear Hunt.... Easter Sunday morning and We're Going On A Bear Hunt gets another screening on Channel 4, having enchanted a record audience over Christmas.
March 16th - First look at KENSUKE'S KINGDOM..... Lupus Films was very much a hive of activity at the end of last year, what with Ethel & Ernest and the finishing touches going on the animation for Bear Hunt. Amidst all this, Last Belle director Neil Boyle and Kirk Hendry were quietly putting together a teaser trailer for a new animated feature they hope to make. It's Kensuke's Kingdom, adapted from the Michael Morpurgo book of the same name, and Stuart has composed new music for it. The trailer has just been 'launched' online, and the film is touted as a 2D and mixed-media production, telling the story of a boy who washes up on a tropical island overseen by a mysterious Japanese soldier named Kensuke, who lives there with a family of orangutans as his companions. Hopefully more exciting news about this soon - in the meantime, read all about it (and watch the trailer) here.
March 10th - 'Flight' - London Accordion Orchestra album release..... Today is the launch of 'Flight', the London Accordion Orchestra's brilliant new album, recorded last year at Abbey Road - featuring Stuart's commissioned competition piece Rhapsody. The launch takes the form of a gala concert at the Union Chapel, Islington, and the album is now available to buy on CD or download from the indie label Sotones, the usual places like Amazon, or on the LAO's own website.
February 24th - Accordion piece features on BBC Radio 3..... Ahead of the release next month, the London Accordion Orchestra's album 'Flight' gets a nice plug on BBC Radio 3. The recording of Stuart's 'Rhapshody' features during Essential Classics with Sarah Walker, where it is one of the choices of her guest, the artist Maggi Hambling who enjoys it as 'almost making you want to dance'!
January onwards - New opera composition gets underway..... With a first draft of Donald Sturrock's libretto complete, Stuart begins composing in earnest on his newly commissioned opera for W11 Opera for Young People. It's seven years on from his last romp with W11 - 2010's RainDance - and it's great to be back and creating new material for this most vibrant of youth opera companies. The subject matter this time is PIRATES - female Elizabethan ones, to be exact, so lots of good swashbuckling to be had. More info soon.
January 15th - Bear Hunt soundtrack makes the TOP 5 of 2016..... The renowned soundtrack-reviewing platform Synchrotones, having previously raved about Stuart's Atlantis soundtrack ("A magnificent work"), ranks the WE'RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT as the 5th best score of 2016 (sneaking into the reckoning following its release on December 23rd). Only pipped to the top spot by the likes of Hans Zimmer's Planet Earth II and the late great James Horner's The Magnificent Seven, reviewer Pete Simons says of Stuart and Bear Hunt: "playful and utterly beautiful...this man has yet to disappoint me and I hope he will soon receive the exposure and recognition he so richly deserves." See the full list here.
December 24th - Christmas Eve - the nation goes on a BEAR HUNT!..... The soundtrack having been released on Sony Classical on the 23rd, and having enjoyed a few weeks of good promotion with teaser trails on Channel 4 AND gracing the front cover of the best-selling Christmas/New Year double issue of the Radio Times.... 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' finally broadcasts to the UK at 7.30 - the perfect family Christmas Eve bedtime slot. It looks and sounds gorgeous, and consolidated ratings out a few days later show that just over 8 million Brits tuned in, making it Channel 4's most-watched show of 2016. It will hopefully become a staple of the festive period, in the way that the Snowman has, and early discussions about possible live performances are underway. Happy Christmas!
December 12th - Local radio and press for Bear Hunt score..... The Bear Hunt is generating a lot of interest all round, including at the local level. Stuart and John Tubby (who recorded the brilliant ukulele solo on towards the end of the score) are guests on BBC Three Counties Radio with Nick Coffer to talk about the work, and they also feature in a nice article on page 3 of December 20th issue of the Leighton Buzzard Observer.
December 11th - BEAR HUNT gala premiere at the Empire, Leicester Square..... The green carpet is rolled out...and 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' enjoys a fantastic gala premiere at the Empire, Leicester Square. The whole cinema complex is transformed into a Bear Hunt experience for the press, the cast, the crew and their families - with face-painting on offer, special balloon-bears, meet-and-greets with the voice cast and authors, and complementary furry bear merchandise for the kiddies.
November 28th - Bear Hunt private screening at Channel 4..... Stuart is in attendance for a private press screening at Channel 4 of 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' this morning. The cast, including Mark Williams and Pam Ferris are in attendance for a Q&A afterwards, as are author Michael Rosen, illustrator Helen Oxenbury and end-titles singer-songwriter George Ezra. The festive mince pies taste as good as the film looks and sounds!
November 22nd - Parliamentary launch for MUM campaign..... Another project that Stuart has been composing on is the heartbreaking promo for a new non-profit campaign - 'Make Mum Safer' - which supports the decriminalisation of prostitution on the grounds of safety. Directed by Meriem Adib and produced by Claire Cottrell, the film shows the loving relationship between a child and mother, with the mother forced to take risks to make ends meet. The soundtrack is a song - with words by Meriem and a soulful vocal by the brilliant Hattie Whitehead. Emotions ran high at today's campaign launch in parliament, with the film playing a crucial role in proceedings. Read more about the campaign here - and do sign the petition if you find the arguments compelling - and watch the MUM film itself here on the showreel page.
October 31st - Going BEAR HUNTING at Abbey Road!..... A very exciting day's recording at Abbey Road - studio 1 - with orchestra and choir as the score for 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' comes to life. The studio is abuzz with excitement behind the scenes with all sorts of PR for the press launch of the production itself, with authors Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury in attendance, as well as George Ezra (singer-songwriter who has penned the sweet end title song). Meanwhile, in the studio itself, Stuart conducts a very happy 4-hour session with the fabulous City of London Sinfonia. They make the lyrical score soar off the page, with particularly delightful solos from Alex Wood (violin) and Ursula Leveaux (bassoon). This is followed in the early evening by a session with fifty young members of the London Youth Choir, who add their voices to the score, most notably in the chilling snowstorm scene. The news breaks in the press a couple of days later in a big way, the trails begin on Channel 4, and suddenly everyone is looking forward to Christmas...! See the trailer here.
October 19th - CRAZYHEAD episode 1 airs on E4..... With scoring complete, the brilliant new comedy horror 'Crazyhead' is unleashed on E4. Over the next six weekly episodes, audiences will follow Amy and Raquel as they attempt to navigate their way through the choppy waters of their early twenties whilst kicking the ass of some seriously gnarly demons. It's thrilling, anarchic and utterly rude but at its core is about love, friendship and accepting who you are. Stuart's dark electronica supports the action and it stars Cara Theobold and Susan Wokoma. The critics recieve it warmly - "thank God for Crazyhead... From Howard Overman, the creator of another, tonally similar youth supernatural series, Misfits, its success lies in its genuinely funny script, and brilliant comic performances from Theobold, and particularly Wokoma. It tackles its own incredulous premise swiftly and with humour, not self-indulgent foreshadowing" (New Statesman) Take a look here.
July/August/September - Work continues on Crazyhead and the Bear Hunt..... Stuart ramps up the work on his two big TV projects, working closely on 'We're Going On A Bear Hunt' scene-by-scene with directors Robin Shaw and Joanna Harrison as their beautiful animation begins to come together. Meanwhile - in stark contrast - there's plenty of gritty demon-hunting afoot with the comedy-horror of 'Crazyhead', as Stuart's grungey electronic score takes shape for the new E4/Netflix series.
July 3rd - Abbey Road Accordions..... Fresh off the plane from Spain and success at MOSMA (Movie Score Malaga), Stuart is in attendance at the historic Abbey Road (studio 2), for the London Accordion Orchestra's album recording day. They sound on fine form as they record, with maestro Ian Watson at the helm, Stuart's 5-minute show-piece 'Rhapsody', which brought the house down in Innsbruck and helped the LAO to a brilliant silver medal at the World Championships in May. Album release date TBC.
July 1st - And the winner is..... KILLING THYME takes the honours at the Jerry Goldsmith Awards in Malaga tonight. Stuart is there at the balmy rooftop ceremony to accept the award for his score - a colourful chamber blend of live harmonica, melodica, violin, viola and cajon. It's another gong for this little gem of a film from MJ McMahon that stars Brian Cox, Charlotte Riley and Joe Reynolds, following its success at the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival in May. Catch a clip from the score here.
June 15th - THREE Jerry Goldsmith Award nominations..... This year's nominations are announced, and Stuart's work gets the nod in three categories at the July ceremony at MOSMA, Malaga:
May 17th/24th - Not one, but TWO juicy new projects..... Like buses, good news comes in twos, and Stuart is delighted to be on board to score two brilliant new TV projects. And they couldn't be more different: for E4 and Netflix, a new irreverent comedy-horror series called CRAZYHEAD from the mind of Misfits creator Howard Overman and Urban Myth Films (makers of Atlantis), and an animated family adaptation of the classic children's bedtime book WE'RE GOING ON A BEAR HUNT - slated for a Christmas Eve broadcast on Channel 4. Fun and busy creative times ahead.
May 12th - Awards for KILLING THYME..... The Capture boys and writer Natalie Malla triumph at the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival with Killing Thyme (featuring Stuart's quirky harmonica/melodica score), picking up not just 'Best Short Comedy', but also the overall 'Best in Festival' award. Congratulations to them - hopefully the beginnings of a good run of awards recognition for this brilliant short film. See a clip from the film here.
May 10th - Showcase and performance at The Forge, Camden..... With the help of A Star PR's Ian Roberts, Stuart hosts a private showcase evening with live performance at The Forge, Camden. A small but very cool and well-equipped venue (and with excellent canapes), the Forge hosts some 50+ guests for the event - a combination of friends and colleagues from Stuart's past work in both advertising and film/TV, as well as press and new acquaintances he looks forward to working with in the future. Stuart performs a live set on piano with string quartet, featuring a chamber arrangement of '@IvyBean104' (singer Eloise Secker reprising the twitter song from his British-Composer-Award-winning Snapshot Songs), followed by a medley of themes from his film and TV work (Picturehouse, The Desert Treasure, Atlantis, The Last Belle and Underground).
May 6th - Accordion premier at World Champs, Innsbruck..... Straight from the Killing Thyme premier, Stuart journeys (via Munich) to the stunning Alpine beauty of Austria and the Accordion World Championships in Innsbruck. Under competition scrutiny, the London Accordion Orchestra proudly fly the Union Jack and deliver a brilliant premier performance of Stuart's 'Rhapsody', alongside pieces from Matthew Scott and Ian Watson (also conducting!). It is rapturously received, and the composers are immediately inundated with requests for their pieces from other European accordion orchestras. With their competitive duties complete, the orchestra relax and enjoy the warm weather and breathtaking Alpine scenery - and, two days later at the final ceremony at Innsbruck's Olympic Hall, are delighted to beat off the bulk of their rivals and be awarded 2nd place in the Oberstufe (Advanced) class, no doubt being recognised not just for their skill and musicality, but for presenting a brave and repertoire-expanding programme of new British music. 2nd best in the world for a London band in a field led by the Austrians, Germans and Swiss...? Not bad...! Future London performances and Abbey Road recording sessions are planned for July 2016.
May 5th - KILLING THYME Cast and Crew premier..... Capture host a long-awaited cast-and-crew premier screening of their masterpiece short film 'Killing Thyme' at the BFI, Stephen Street, London. It's a very well-attended and jolly affair, with leading lady Charlotte Riley (and hubby Tom Hardy) in attendance. It's fantastic to finally see the film all finished and benefitting from a very sympathetic sound mix from Nigel Squibbs, which allows Stuart's score to neatly support the story and sing through where necessary. Director MJ McMahon, producer Matthews Jones and writer Natalie Malla proudly introduce proceedings before taking the film off to the Carmarthen Bay Film Festival next week. See a clip from the film here.
March - Sainsburys 'Little Twists' new seasonal spots..... Stuart's loungey jazz score for Sainsburys is synchronised to several new spots in the 'Little Twists' campaign, to tie in neatly with seasonal shopping for Mother's Day and Easter.
February 12th - Santander 2016 campaign..... Stuart completes work on a series of four spots for this year's Santander ad campaign, promoting its various products including the wildly popular 1-2-3 account. Jenson Button and Jessica Ennis continue to feature as brand ambassadors for Santander. Making clever use of the 7-note Santander musical mnemonic in the score, the first ad - 'Surprises' - is on air already, with the remaining three spots to be staggered across the year in order to cope with the reported surge in demand for the 1-2-3 account...!
February 9th - Cardiff University visiting lecturer..... Invited by the University of Cardiff Music Department, Stuart delivers two talks to the composition and Business of Music students about his music and career path, sharing anecdotes, the realities and rewards of the industry, and many musical examples from his repertoire. A very enjoyable and rewarding experience, and one which will hopefully inspire the students to at least consider a path that takes in commercial and film/TV music as well as straight classical composition.
January 15th - 'Rhapsody' for Accordion Orchestra..... Stuart completes a first full draft of a delightful concert commission: a 5-minute competition piece for the fantastic London Accordion Orchestra, the brainchild of master accordionist, conductor and good friend Ian Watson. The piece, titled simply 'Rhapsody', will form part of the ensemble's 15-minute programme when they compete at the prestigious Accordion World Championships at the World Music Festival, Innsbruck, Austria in May.
December 13th - BBC Radio interview..... Stuart is invited to join Nick Coffer live on his popular lunchtime programme on BBC Three Counties Radio to talk about both his success at the British Composer Awards, and the fresh release of his Atlantis soundtrack album. It's a lively 15 minutes of chat, and Nick complements it with airings of track 1 from the Atlantis album 'Journey to Aegina' and Snapshot Songs' uplifting Body&Soul anthem 'Brave'. Listen to the interview on catch-up here, from about 1 hr 45 mintues in, available on iPlayer in the UK until January 13th. Happy Christmas to you all, and looking forward to more exciting projects in 2016...!
December 11th - ATLANTIS ALBUM RELEASED..... As if the week hadn't been exciting enough following wednesday's British Composer Awards triumph for Snapshot Songs, Silva Screen Records finally release the long-awaited soundtrack of Stuart's epic soundtrack to Atlantis. It's a tempestuous 73-minute, 30-track feast for the ears, and is out on CD and to download from all the usual places.
Early reviews are in, and are very favourable! Pete Simons of Synchrotones writes: "Stuart Hancock's Atlantis is a magnificent work... What is impressive about Atlantis is its big cinematic feel; along with its large orchestral performance...the score sounds vibrant and exciting in a way that many similar scores don't. There is also a fine balance between exciting action cues and quietly melancholy ones. Both Hancock's action writing and his dramatic compositions are compelling; drawing the listener into the score."
December 9th - SNAPSHOT SONGS WINS BRITISH COMPOSER AWARD..... A thrilling evening at the BFI Southbank, where Stuart is honoured to receive the British Composer Award for Best Community or Educational Project at the end-of-year British Composer Awards, for his zeitgeisty song-cycle Snapshot Songs. It's a huge delightful surprise, and wonderful to have the recognition of the music establishment for what was a fantastic multi-faceted collaborative project. Celebrated conductor Jessica Cottis and Atlantis Oracle actress Juliet Stephenson are on hand to present the awards, and BBC Radio 3 provides coverage of the event at the weekend. The full list of lucky winners is here, and catch up with highlights of SNAPSHOT SONGS here. Photo by Mark Allan.
December 4th - Qatar 'Sons of Falcons'..... With Qatar National Day almost upon us once again, and based on the patriotic National Day anthem, Stuart provides a rousing soundtrack for this year's TV spots, working closely with director JT Thomas of the newly formed Squire Studio of Soho.
November 23rd - Return to W11 OPERA..... Almost five years on from the resounding success of his 2010 youth opera "Rain Dance" at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, Stuart and librettist Donald Sturrock are back in talks with the trustees of W11 Opera about a new show. With initial storylines (top secret!) approved, the new opera commission is formalised and will get its premier staging with the vibrant west London company in December 2017.
November 7th - KILLING THYME premieres in York.... MJ McMahon's short film KILLING THYME premieres tonight at the celebrated Aesthetica Film Festival in York. McMahon directs A-listers Brian Cox and Charlotte Riley alongside newcomer Joe Reynolds in writer Natalie Malla's story of 8-year-old Sam, who is desperate for an allotment. When he meets Norman, a curmudgeonly old man with a neglected allotment and a death wish, Sam thinks he has the solution for both of their problems. It's a bittersweet little gem of a film, and Stuart score is a colourful chamber blend of live harmonica, melodica, violin and cajon. All set to play at the Foyle Film Festival too later in November and other festivals into 2016. Check out the Killing Thyme website and Facebook page for more info.
October 29th - BRITISH COMPOSER AWARD NOMINATION..... Stuart is excited to be nominated for a prestigious BASCA British Composer Award. SNAPSHOT SONGS is shortlisted in the Community/Educational Project category, and Stuart is looking forward to attending the ceremony with the great and the good of the music industry at the BFI Southbank on December 9th.
October - BT Mobile: giving the UK exactly what it deserves..... BT's major new ad campaign for 2015 continues with spots feature Hollywood villain Willem Dafoe on a spacecraft orbiting above the UK extolling the virtues of BT Mobile's combination of 4G and Wifi, with a grand, brooding sci-fi soundtrack from Stuart (on your TV screens now and appearing on the showreel page soon).
September 11th - Huawei 'Shark Dancing'..... In the beautiful Bahamas, Cristina Zenato is renowned as a shark whisperer, a woman who is able to connect with the sea's most feared predators through her touch. Ogilvy & Mather and director Juriaan Booij create this long-form spot for Huawei, celebrating Zenato and her 'touch made powerful', accompanied by a rousing lyrical piano-led score by Stuart. Watch the exquisite full film here.
September 9th - Fisher Price..... For a new campaign for Fisher Price, created from natural home video footage, Stuart gives Grieg's celebrated Peer Gynt 'Morning' a delicate piano-and-strings arrangement to help convey the innocence and joy of the toddlers 'learning through play'.
August 31st - Sainsburys 'Little Twists'..... Stuart continues a good run of form in the commercial arena with original music for Sainsburys' new 'Little Twists' campaign. The score features bursts of slightly random music, leading into a smokey jazz play-out as protagonists 'Martin' and 'Ashley' shelve their globe-trotting aspirations in favour of unexpected Sainsburys 'twists' to their macaroni cheeses and spag-bols. The inimitable Jarvis Cocker adds his distinctively dry narration to the piece. On the showreel page soon.
August 10th - KFC 'Sisters'..... BBH and director Michael Pearce create a touching long-form film for KFC. Entitled 'Sisters', it follows the path of two estranged sisters bonding over unfortunate circumstances. It's one of those beautiful pieces of work that looks and feels far more like a film than a commercial, and Stuart's poised and subtle piano-led score complements the story perfectly. See it on the showreel page here.
August 3rd - Flash..... Stuart completes work on an updated version of a throwback Flash commercial from 80s, featuring an arrangement of the famous 'Waltz of the Flowers' from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker to accompany the blissfully balletic mopping of a kitchen floor!
July 30th - Premiere of SIMON'S CAT..... The crowd-funded 'Off To The Vet' - the latest outing for youtube sensation Simon's Cat - is unleashed in a private premiere screening at the Soho Hotel. A first long-form outing for Simon Tofield's grumpy mog, also now in colour for the first time - and, crucially, with a music score from Stuart! He has succeeded in nailing a brilliantly catchy theme tune with the characterful bassoon as its lead, as well as concocting a subtle fitted underscore to compliment Simon and his cat's struggles to deal with a sore paw. Soon to be distributed on youtube - watch this space - and Stuart is looking forward to more fruitful collaborations with Simon in the future.
July 29th - KILLING THYME..... Stuart completes the chamber score for Hawk director M.J.McMahon's new short film 'Killing Thyme'. It's a beautifully-observed study of the relationship between a grumpy old-timer with an allotment (played by Brian Cox) and a well-meaning young lad (Joe Reynolds) keen to expand his horticultural horizons. The gorgeous Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders, Edge of Tomorrow) completes the cast. Stuart's music features a jolly mix of the folksy and the bittersweet on harmonica, melodica, cajon and violin. Watch this space for news of the premiere.
July 5th - ASCAP Scoring Assignment (2014) - The Lovely Bones..... With the ASCAP Film and TV Scoring Workshop 2015 about to begin in Hollywood, and, almost a year on from Stuart's recording session at 20th Century Fox, he has finally got his act together to revisit and remix his scoring assignment cue. He was lucky enough to be assigned a clip from Peter Jackson's 2009 eerie drama 'The Lovely Bones', starring Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, Rachel Weisz and the predatory Stanley Tucci. Originally scored by Brian Eno, Stuart applied his own subtle orchestral touch to the chilling scene - and the result is here on the showreel page now. It was this piece of work that prompted composer John Powell (Bourne trilogy, How to Train Your Dragon) to declare "You know what the f*ck you're doing" - words that Stuart is still dining out on...
June 25th - A Grand Day Out..... Now that he has a room big enough to hold one, Stuart wastes little time seeking out something he has long aspired to have - a grand piano. He attends the quarterly piano auction at Conway Hall, Holborn, and is the winning bidder on the most beautiful of the 100 or so grands up for grabs: a fully rebuilt and restored 1912 Bosendorfer. She's a glorious, curvaceous, ebonised 5'7", and makes a sweet intimate tone with a light feathery touch. Looking forward to many pleasurable hours of playing - and recording!
June 24th - SNAPSHOT SONGS CD Launch at SHM..... The SHM Foundation play host to Stuart and some 50 members of last year's London cast from the grand community project Snapshot Songs, to celebrate the experience, as well as officially launch the CD of the studio recording he has worked hard to put together over the last few months. It's a joyful and nostalgic evening remembering the show and all its shared ups and downs, and SHM screen a 5-minute commemorative film of clips from the concert performances and audience and cast interviews. Highlights compilation here.
June 1st - ALL CHANGE!..... A whirlwind week in which some major changes take place...! Not least of all - getting married. Fantastic day on May 24th at Lauderdale House, Highgate, with friends and family coming to help celebrate from all corners of the world. All over in a flash with some Kylie-Minogue-inspired musical creations on home-made whistles...(you had to be there...) And then - exactly a week later - with the honeymoon on ice, Stuart and spouse are packed up and, in a mammoth moving day, leave Archway Road in the hands of lovely tenants and make the move to their beautiful new abode. Exciting times - and looking forward to settling into a new work-space.
May 17th - Cyprus at EUROVISION..... It's Eurovision week! The Cyprus song, penned by Mike Connaris which Stuart contributed string arrangements for, is one of a handful of the Eurovision entries to be selected to begin the week with an acoustic performance at the prestigious Vienna State Opera. The chamber line-up of the Vienna Philharmonics performs Stuart's arrangement and John Karayiannis delivers a cool-headed and heart-felt performance in front of the great and the good of Vienna - doing his country's chances at the forthcoming contest no harm at all. Watch the performance in full here. 'One Thing I Should Have Done' qualifies comfortably from the semi-finals a few days later, but, despite another brilliant performance in the final the following Saturday, the song is over-shadowed by the flashy staging of many of the other songs, and sadly finishes way down the order (but still beats the UK!). Undeterred, Mike will doubtless give it another crack next year!
May 8th - Studio Upgrade..... Stuart undrgoes a major overhaul of his studio set-up, welcoming a lovely shiny new Mac Pro and a long-overdue upgrade to Logic X. Hopefully getting to grips with the new software and operating system will not be too traumatic...!
May 1st - CAPSULE..... Stuart puts the finishing touches to his orchestration of composer Hugo de Chaire's score to the new British Cold War thriller 'Capsule' in advance of recording sessions in Budapest. Capsule stars the brilliant Edmund Kingsley (son of Sir Ben), and is the debut feature film of Andrew Martin. It's a tense exploration of the human mind thrust into the unknown, told through the claustrophobic setting of a 1950s first generation malfunctioning space capsule. Watch out for a theatrical release later this year.
April 18th - SNAPSHOT SONGS Recordings completed..... The last soloists for the Snapshot Songs album are recorded, and Stuart mixes and masters the tracks. All sounding fabulous! Off to the CD plant for pressing - with a 'launch' party for the cast pencilled in for June at SHM.
March 30th - BT Mobile: giving the UK exactly what it deserves..... Stuart wins the pitch to score music for part of BT's major new ad campaign for 2015. The spots feature Hollywood villain Willem Dafoe on a spacecraft orbiting above the UK extolling the virtues of BT Mobile's combination of 4G and Wifi, with a grand, brooding sci-fi soundtrack from Stuart. With the wider campaign already airing with Ewan McGregor's spots, look out for these Dafoe films later in the summer (and on the showreel page once it has broadcast).
March 9th - Simon's Cat - Off To The Vet..... Stuart is delighted to win the pitch - via Mcasso - writing the new theme music for the latest episode of Youtube sensation Simon's Cat. The brainchild of animator Simon Tofield, Simon's Cat started out life with the one-minute short 'Cat Man Do' in 2008 which, with its sequels, has now clocked up over half a BILLION views on Youtube. Now Simon is making the crowd-funded 'Off To The Vet' in long-form (12 mins) and in colour - and over the next couple of months, Stuart will work closely with Simon on a score derived from his theme.
March 6th - The Jaguar Experience..... For his colleagues at a-Mnemonic Music Production, Stuart composes a high-octane electro-orchestral score to accompany an online-content promotional film for the 'Jaguar Experience' - the premium thrill-ride of racing your own super-car across a frozen lake in the mountains outside Gstaadt.
February 16th - EUROVISION arranging..... Another triumph for old boss Mike Connaris of Mcasso, penning the winning entry once again for his native Cyprus for the forthcoming Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Vienna in May. Mike's ballad 'Stronger Every Minute', the orchestration of which Stuart arranged and conducted at Angel Studios Islington, had flown the flag for Cyprus in 2004, scoring a brilliant 5th with Lisa Andreas in the final in Istanbul that year. This year's song is called 'One Thing I Should Have Done', and is sung by John Karayiannis. Mike commissions Stuart to produce an acoustic chamber string arrangement of the song using a line-up of players similar to George Martin's double-string-quartet arrangement of the Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby'. Mike records some great playing of the arrangement with the strings of the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra with old friend David Hernando at the helm. Stuart's 'unplugged' arrangement can be heard and downloaded on iTunes here. Wishing Mike and John the best of luck for the next couple of months leading up to the contest!
February to April - SNAPSHOT SONGS soloists' recordings..... Following the rigours of Atlantis, and a bit of down-time in late January, Stuart gets back in the saddle to begin the marathon task of organising and recording of all the original London soloists from Snapshot Songs. Building on the orchestra, drummers and ensemble choir already recorded - some 35 singers and poets come in and out of the Archway Road studios over the course of February, March and April, and gradually all the pieces of the jigsaw come together towards a fabulous finished record of a wonderful project. Pictured: Wendy McNeilly, Ro Sweeney and Elsie Lam - three of the ten original 'Speed-Daters'.
January 14th - ATLANTIS - completed!..... Happy New Year! Stuart finally downs tools on Atlantis, having put the finishing touches to the score for the brilliant 13th and final episode of series 2. It's been an intense and pretty all-consuming job (with the final four episodes' scores completed in the space of about three weeks), but the whole thing has been enormously satisfying: 500 minutes of score played by some top-notch musos to accompany a colourful mash-up of Greek myths, big battles, monsters, and one big series-long rollercoaster saga of dark emotions? Why, yes please!! Six mammoth recording sessions at the Archway Road studios, and one in Bratislava to bring it all to life... and early discussions of an album release in the new year too. Watch clips from the opening episodes now on the television showreel page.
December 14th - ALBUM REVIEWS: The Last Belle..... Stuart picks up two of those money-couldn't-buy brilliant reviews of his latest album release The Last Belle , the first courtesy of film music fan-site Movie Music Mania. "Hancock has concocted a compact work of pure, distilled charm!" screams the headline. "The performance by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra is rich and vivacious, and Hancock knows how to write music that really lives and breathes. What's more, he demonstrates a knack for detail, the minor flourishes he adds and emotional shades he is able to execute really elevating the score to an impressive level of complexity. Don't be fooled by your preconceptions of a "short film score", because Stuart Hancock once again demonstrates that good things can indeed come in the smallest of packages. Bravo!"
Next Review Graveyard's Darren Rea declares that the "incredibly intricate and beautifully emotive music...brings to mind the best of Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman and John Williams, but with that unique Hancock twist that his followers have already grown to love... From the first note to the last, this is a meticulously planned masterclass in how to grab the listener's attention" [10/10]
December 10th - ASCAP Foundation Award..... Stuart caps a wonderful year of success with one final award - one which is unexpected, but hugely gratifying. Following his participation in this summer's ASCAP Film and Television Scoring Workshop in Hollywood, Stuart is the recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Harold Arlen Film & TV Award. Arlen was the celebrated composer of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and "Stormy Weather", and Stuart is flattered to accept the award based on his "excellence, professionalism, musical ability and career potential" demonstrated during the workshop. The awards ceremony takes place today at the Lincoln Center, Broadway, NYC - and, had his Atlantis scoring not still been in full, intense swing, Stuart would have been there like a shot to accept the award in person. He hopes to justify the honour by continuing to make the similar big career steps forward in 2015.
December 2nd - NEW ALBUM RELEASE: The Last Belle..... After a long time in the pipeline, and boosted by its Gold-Medal-winning turn at the Park City Film Music Festival, Stuart's score to Neil Boyle's genius animated short film THE LAST BELLE finally has a digital release today on the MovieScore Media label. "Small films do not necessarily have small scores", reads the press release, "...The Last Belle is a rich, colourful and versatile score which gives you an emotional rollercoaster in just 14 minutes". Watch Wally's downfall - track 5 on the album! - on the showreel page and visit MovieScore Media to get download your copy
November 15th - Transmission of Episode 1 of ATLANTIS..... Stuart, along with around 3.5 million other Brits, settles down to catch the opening episode of the new series of Atlantis in its primetime slot in the BBC One saturday night schedule. It looks terrific, with a real epic swagger, with Stuart's titanic orchestral score sounding fabulous - and it's only the beginning of the wonderful 13-episode saga that will hopefully have the nation glued to their screens well into the spring. It's a tough ask to directly go up against a certain karaoke competition on the other side, but the figures hold up well, and the reviews in the morning are, on the whole, pretty favourable! Catch a clip from the opening episode on the showreel page now.
November 9th - SNAPSHOT SONGS choir recording day..... After much planning, Stuart assembles a healthy number of the original 'cast' of Snapshot songsters, together with Drumheads, at Angel Studios to record their parts in his zeitgeisty London song cycle, which premiered spectacularly at the Milton Court Concert Hall, Barbican, in April this year. It's a long and tiring day with everyone working their socks off, but it's wonderful to reunite so many of the performers and revisit the songs. The orchestra (courtesy of Bratislava in June), choir and drummers are now in the bag, which leaves the solo singers and spoken-word artists to record in the new year, once Stuart's work on Atlantis is complete.
October 25th and 26th - QATAR and ATLANTIS recordings with the BSO..... Concurrent with his composing work on Atlantis, Stuart completes his arranging/orchestrating work on the National Day songs composed by Mr Salah Al-Ali, Qatar Minister for Youth and Sport, designed to inspire the younger generation of Qataris to dream big and work hard for their future. Always appreciative of the opportunity to take recording duties to the fantastic Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, the songs come to colourful life under the baton of David Hernando, and Stuart makes the most of the trip by recording Atlantis's 4th and 5th episode scores there too.
September 18th and 19th - First recording sessions for ATLANTIS..... Work has been progressing on the epic opening two episodes of Atlantis, which see the ancient city under siege from a resurgent Pasiphae, with scintillating battle scenes a-plenty, and Jason and pals on a desperate covert quest to save the day. Stuart has worked closely with the show's producers at Urban Myth Films to nail the new, darker tone for the music score, and is very excited to welcome the orchestral musicians to his Archway Road studio to perform the score and bring it to life. Similar sessions to follow for subsequent episodes, hopefully. Catch a clip from episode 1 on the showreel page now.
August 30th - A fantastic medal haul from PARK CITY..... Seems Stuart is once again enjoying a good run of festival recognition and awards success for his work. The Park City Film Music Festival (staged in the Utah home-town of the Sundance Film Festival) selects and screens three of Stuart's scored films; and it is a wonderful honour that all three go on to receive awards for their scores. HAWK flies off with a Bronze Medal/Director's Choice for Best Impact of Music in a Short Film, whilst THE LAST BELLE picks up the Gold Medal in the same category. Rounding off a triumphant festival, THE DESERT TREASURE once again performs beyond expectations and garners the Gold Medal/Audience Choice for Best Impact of Music for a Documentary Film - the icing on the cake following its CD album release last month.
July 25th - Two Jerry Goldsmith Award wins!..... Stuart wakes up stateside to news that both his nominated works at this year's Jerry Goldsmith Awards in Cordoba have won their respective categories. Stuart's song 'Take My Hand' (from 'Unknown Heart', lyrics by director Giles Foster) wins for Best Song, and his score for the Buster Keaton silent comedy 'One Week' picks up the honours in the Free Creation category. Particularly gratifying, as both categories were decided on a combination of jury and popular votes cast. Obviously disappointed not to be able to attend this year, especially as Mr Goldmsith's widow, Carol, is there to present the awards, but being in Los Angeles is not such a bad excuse...
July 13th - August 9th - HOLLYWOOD..... Stuart is very excited to board the plane to Los Angeles, which is his home for the next four fabulous weeks. At the invitation of ASCAP, he is one of 12 talented participating composers in their annual Film and Television Scoring Workshop, led by the charismatic Richard Bellis. There are many highlights to recount: the mixture of evening talks with Richard and music editor Michael T. Ryan, tours of the Eastman scoring stage and the amazing hive of productivity that is JoAnn Kane Music Serivces; visiting Remote Control Productions (HQ of Hans Zimmer and colleagues), including a tour of the great man's own magnificent studio, and attending a talk featuring all-time hero, the legendary John Williams. A seminar with TV work-horse composers Sean Callery (24, Homeland) and Dave Porter (Breaking Bad) was especially resonant, given that Stuart's working on the first few music cues of Atlantis whilst in LA. At the end of the third week, the participants had the privilege of conducting - all-too-briefly - a top-notch 60-piece Hollywood orchestra at the 20th Century Fox scoring stage (see picture on the left of Stuart in action!), where the scoring assignments were brought to magnificent life. Watch the finished mix of Stuart's scoring assignment - The Lovely Bones - on the showreel page now. The icing on Stuart's cake came a couple of days later, when composer John Powell (Bourne trilogy, How to Train Your Dragon) passed judgment on Stuart's new recorded work, declaring "You know what the f*ck you're doing". These words were captured literally in icing with a birthday cake at ASCAP the following day. Huge thanks to ASCAP, and in particular Mike Todd, Jen Harmon and Patrick Clancy for organising the whole workshop and hosting it so brilliantly, and to a wonderful and varied group of fellow up-and-coming composers who will hopefully stay firm friends. Let's hope Hollywood will come a-calling again in the not-too-distant future...
July 8th - NEW ALBUM RELEASE: The Desert Treasure..... Kronos Records and MovieScore Media join forces to release the an album of Stuart's music for the Qatar documentaries. Included is the complete score for 'The Desert Treasure' - which was instrumental in him winning last year's Jerry Goldsmith Award for Best Composer. Completing the album are 10-minute suites from his previous scores to 'Written in the Sand', 'Birdlife of Qatar' and 'Qatar Dream 2030'. Have a listen to a clip here and visit Kronos Records or MovieScore Media to get hold of the album.
June 25th - Jerry Goldsmith Award nominations!..... News just in from the International Film Music Festival of Cordoba: Stuart is delighted to hear that he has two nominations this year for the prestigious Jerry Goldsmith Awards. Last year 'The Desert Treasure' ('Plants of Qatar') won in the documentary category, and, together with 'Hawk', helped him achieve the Best Composer accolade. This year, Stuart's song 'Take My Hand' (from 'Unknown Heart', lyrics by director Giles Foster) has a nod for Best Song, and his recently recorded score for the Buster Keaton silent comedy 'One Week' is competing in the Free Creation category.
June 22nd & 23rd - Snapshot Songs orchestra recording..... two months on from the Barbican performances of his song cycle Snapshot Songs, Stuart takes the orchestral score to his friends at the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. In three hugely enjoyable sessions, the 50-strong orchestra record the entire 80-minute score - ready to add London's voices and drummers later in the year with a view to producing a polished studio album of the work.
June 20th - Cannes Lions triumph for Harvey Nics..... the irreverent Harvey Nichols Christmas campaign from Adam & Eve DDB (featuring Stuart's arrangement of 'Silent Night') is the big winner in Promo & Activation at Cannes. It picks up two Gold Lions and the Grand Prix. Enjoy it on the showreel page here.
June 11th - Dinner with Mrs Dahl..... plans are afoot to create a ballet for Sadler's Wells of the Roald Dahl childrens' classic 'James and the Giant Peach', and Stuart enjoys an evening talking things through with English National Ballet choreographer George Williamson, Donald Sturrock, and the utterly delightful Liccy (Felicity) Dahl, widow of the great man. Watch this space...
June 2nd - ATLANTIS..... having pitched for the role by scoring a 6-minute sequence from the opening episode, Stuart is awarded the commission of scoring the second series of the popular BBC Saturday night fantasy drama Atlantis. The show stars Jack Donnelly, Mark Addy and Robert Emms as the amiable heroes, caught up in a cornucopia of Greek myths and struggles for power (with Juliet Stevenson as the Oracle and Sarah Parish as the delightfully evil Queen Pasiphae). Stuart is looking forward to working closely with producers Urban Myth Films, and getting stuck into some gritty, colourful, orchestral scoring for the show, which looks set to take on a darker tone than the previous series.
May 22nd - Ivor Novello Awards..... Stuart joins a-mnemonic colleague Toby Jarvis for the annual ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel, where he catches up with some familiar faces and rubs shoulders with some celebrated company from all fields of the music world. And has a few drinks in the process...
May 21st - ASCAP invitation..... Stuart is delighted to receive an invitation to join the class of '14 at the annual ASCAP Film Composing Workshop, to be held over a 4-week period in Los Angeles from mid-July. Described as a 'finishing school' for emerging film composers under the tutelage of Richard Bellis, Stuart will be one of just 12 composers selected to take part from all over the world.
May 19th-21st - new Qatar song project..... at the invitation of Mr Salah Al-Ali, Minister for Youth and Sport, and Al-Rayyan Productions, Stuart is flown to Doha to discuss music plans for a new Qatar National Day project. Building on the success of the Qatar Dream 2030 Fast Train project from 2011, Stuart will be arranging and orchestrating children's songs (composed by Mr Salah with local composer Luaay Alghalebi) aiming to inspire the younger generation of Qataris to dream big and work hard for their future.
May 11th - Buster in Bratislava..... Stuart takes advantage of a little downtime in the wake of Snapshot Songs to make a quick trip to the Slovakian capital, where he records his orchestral score to the Buster Keaton genius silent comedy 'One Week' (originally written for live performance for St Paul's Sinfonia). See the whole film here.
April 13th and 14th - SNAPSHOT SONGS performances..... At last the big day arrives - the climax of Stuart's long-standing composer residency with the SHM Foundation, and the culmination of many months of composition, collaboration and rehearsal. Rehearsals have gathered pace in the last few weeks, with things coming together under the baton of music director Peter Ash, and it is gratifying to perform to two sold-out houses at the spectacular Milton Court Concert Hall.
There are too many highlights to mention: but Snapshot Songs is indisputably a huge triumph and a tour-de-force of diverse musicality - and above all, a real 'snapshot' in itself of zeitgeisty London in the form of song, rap and spoken word. The enthusiastic standing ovations confirm this success at both performances. It all feels over too soon somehow - and the next challenge is to try and build on the success and camaraderie of the new choir in particular and perhaps take Snapshot Songs forward as a 'model' into new song-writing and new collaborations and performances.
April 5th and 6th - US premiere of RAIN DANCE..... Stuart takes a brief break from his Snapshot Songs shenanigans and boards a plane to Boston to attend the second weekend of performances of North Cambridge Family Opera's production of his opera 'Rain Dance'. Originally performed by the children of W11 in 2010, NCFO put their own spin on things by getting the grown-ups involved too - and it's a real community affair in the best sense of the word, with two entire casts sharing the performances and having a ball in the process. Huge thanks to the whole company for their hard work and energy, but especially to music director David Bass for making it all happen, and to the Sandbergs for their splendid New England hospitality.
March 28th - PRS pop-up for SNAPSHOT SONGS..... choir member Clare Worley and Stuart stage a mini morning pop-up performance for Snapshot Songs in the foyer of the PRS offices on Berners Street. Clare delivers a sultry, bluesy version of 'This City' before the two of them duet on the melancholy 'Leaving London' - hopefully helping raise awareness of the fast-approaching Milton Court performances (and hopefully helping shift a few more tickets!)
March 23rd - SNAPSHOT SONGS and the LSSO..... Another milestone in the song cycle project: the first rehearsal for the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. And therefore the first chance to try out Stuart's orchestrations, and to put the Snapshot Songs choir together with the band, soloists and Drumheads. An intense and challenging day with the talented children of the orchestra (and everybody else) working their socks off - but hugely encouraging as the project begins the final rehearsal phase with only three weeks to go until the big day.
March 6th - Body & Soul pop-up performance..... Zoe and Malunga from Body & Soul, together with guitarist and leader Dom Cookson, Stuart and SHM descend upon the St Pancras piano to give an impromptu performances of 'Brave' to the commuters of London. It attracts quite a bit of attention and admiration, including that of the Transport Police....
February 10th - First formal rehearsals for SNAPSHOT SONGS..... Another pivotal day for Stuart's song cycle project. Whilst he continues composing and arranging work on many of the songs (including composing new songs with lyrics from choir member Bernadette Bentley), the choir is assembled for its first formal Monday evening rehearsal at the Barbican's Frobisher Rooms. It's an exciting and nerve-wracking couple of hours as the 50-odd singers start tackling Stuart's cycle opener 'This City' (based on Mat Lloyd's powerful poem of the same name), his choral arrangement of Body & Soul's 'Brave' anthem, and the intricacies of 'Speed Dating'. This is the first of 8 Monday evening rehearsals for the singers. Also on the same evening, the scintillating young drummers of Drumheads have their first Snapshot Songs rehearsal, where they start formulating their live versions of the hip-hop and grime beats of Only Connect's 'Next Big Thing'. Suddenly the task ahead is thrown into some sort of perspective, and it's the beginning of a very challenging but very rewarding rehearsal period for this ambitious project.
January 15th - Manners McDade..... Stuart meets up with managing director Catherine, and A&R manager Ruby and is delighted to sign up to the publishing arm of renowned composer agency Manners McDade. Looking forward to a fruitful relationship going forward.
December 9th - The SNAPSHOT SONGS Choir is born!..... SHM and the Barbican team host a pre-Christmas gathering of the newly-formed Snapshot Songs Choir on the Milton Court stage that they will be performing on five months hence. Members of Only Connect, Futureband and Body & Soul come along too. It's a really exciting evening, featuring impromtu performances of three of the work-in-progress songs (including Body & Soul's blossoming anthem 'Brave'), and with this diverse bunch of Londoners meeting each other properly for the first time. The evening culminates in a mass vocal jam on the stage, sowing the seeds for a new choir song for the cycle.
December 4th - Harvey Nichols? - sorry, I spent it on myself..... a subversive Christmas campaign from Adam&Eve DDB for Harvey Nics turns the festive giving season on its head - creating a range of budget gifts that leave more left over to spend on oneself. Stuart creates a new orchestral arrangement of 'Silent Night' that complements the sarcasm of the ad - and helps the range sell out within 3 days of the ad breaking online and in cinemas... Have a look-see on the showreel page here.
November 21st - Hollywood Music In Media Awards..... Stuart travels to LA to attend the ceremony at Hollywood's Fonda Theatre, where Picturehouse and The Last Belle are in the running for gongs. It's a glitzy affair, a real slice of Americana, and whilst Stuart ultimately comes away empty-handed, he makes the most of his short time in La-la-land with several important meetings scheduled. These include hanging out with composer James Peterson in Santa Monica, breakfast with Aussie arranger and session conductor Tim Davies (and a chance to see him at work recording at the Sony Scoring Stage for the 'Need For Speed' score), and introductory meetings with Mike Todd at ASCAP and composer agents Randy Gerston (first artists management) and Seth Kaplan (Evolution Music Partners).
November - SNAPSHOT SONGS auditions..... Stuart and the team hold informal auditions to put together a brand new choir - not something you do every day! The venue is Milton Court at the Barbican Centre, where the song cycle will ultimately have its premiere performance. Approximately 200 singers attend the group audition workshops on Nov 16th, 17th and 30th, with many familiar faces returning for more of what they enjoyed at the taster sessions over the past few weeks. A wealth of talent is on display, together with a real enthusiasm for the collaborative nature of the project, as, after all, the songs will be written for, about, and in partnership with these people - representing, as they do, a truly diverse 'snapshot' of London right now.
November 10th and 24th - Futureband Sessions..... Snapshot Songs collaborations continue with Stuart taking part in workshops with the Barbican's young composers' group Futureband, led by the inspirational Detta Danford and Natasha Zielazinski. Stuart starts by presenting the children with copies of photos taken by the Barbican Young Photographers group to get the creative juices flowing. Images of the Olympic Orbit sculpture, the city lights and busy commuters prove particularly inspiring, and over the course of the two sessions, creativity blossoms in the form of lyrics, themes and rhythms that Stuart can take away and hopefully expand into an exciting and colourful song for the cycle.
October 30th - The Next Big Thing..... last Wednesday of the month means it's an Only Connect Big Wednesday at the members' club in King's Cross. And it's an especially big one for Snapshot Songs, as ten of the talented members perform their varied responses to 'The Next Big Thing'. It's a thrilling evening of brilliantly produced song, rap and hip-hop: Stuart comes away buoyed with the excitement of it all, and hatching plans for translating a medley of three or four of the stand-out songs and giving them a symphonic/choral treatment.
October 17th - Body & Soul..... is a pioneering charity based in Angel, dedicated to transforming the lives of children, teenagers and families living with, or affected by HIV. Stuart is privileged to start his involvement with the Project Jam group of teens at Body & Soul to start busking ideas for a new song for Snapshot Songs. 'Bravery' becomes the front-runner for the theme of the song: the bravery to be courageous and not let anything or anyone stop you from shining or being yourself. An uplifting song takes shape over the coming weeks, and looks set to be a real winner in the cycle!
October - SNAPSHOT SONGS further workshops..... the Snapshot Songs project builds momentum with more vocal taster workshops held all over London at venues including the Barbican (Oct 8th), Fellows Court Community Centre, Hoxton (Oct 12th), Artizan Street Community Centre, E1 (Oct 19th) and Newham 6th Form College (Oct 31st). Many singers and spoken word enthusiasts of all styles come and join, and the process culminates with an exhilarating sing-along in the forecourt of Westfield Shopping Centre in Shepherd's Bush on Nov 3rd, led by the effervescent Luke Crookes. Hoards of unsuspecting Sunday shoppers coming together to busk Hey Jude and Bohemian Rhapsody will live long in the memory, together with the solo performances of octagenarians Martin Landau and Stanley Blum.
October 15th - UNKNOWN HEART, part 2..... The musicians assemble to record Stuart's score for the conclusion of Giles Foster's powerful TV drama. Not a dry eye in the house as affairs of the heart are played out to an emotional conclusion. Set for broadcast in Europe in April 2014. See a clip here.
October 14th - New promo for Picturehouse..... the boutique cinema chain (with production company Capture) create a second promo spot, again capturing the excitement and poetry of cinema-going. Stuart completes music for the ad, and hopes it generates as much interest as its predecessor did (a short score that many fans - one of whom even requested permission to walk his bride down the aisle to it!)
October 9th - Next stop, HOLLYWOOD!..... The final nominations for the 6th edition of the Hollywood Music In Media Awards are announced. Stuart's jaw hits the floor as he realises that two of his favourite scores have received nods: the music for the current PICTUREHOUSE ad is recognised in the Best Commercial Score category, and THE LAST BELLE is short-listed is in the highly competitive Best Indie/Short Film category. The HMMAs, to be held at the Fonda Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, LA, on November 21st, are a premiere film music industry destination prior to the traditional awards season where A-List Composers, Producers, Songwriters, Music Supervisors, Technology Companies and Music Legends are honored for their contributions in Film, TV, Video Games, Movie Trailers and other visual media. Stuart has booked his flights, and will be crossing the pond and rubbing shoulders with the greats on the red carpet next month.
September 28th - VIOLETTA D'ORO in Parma..... Stuart is overjoyed to receive the grand prize - the exquisite Violetta D'Oro (Golden Violet) - at the Parma International Music Film Festival in Italy. It's a thoroughly classy affair in the city that Verdi hails from, and THE DESERT TREASURE (Plants of Qatar) is the big winner at the dinner-gala ceremony where HAWK also garners honourable nominations for Best Film and Best Actor (the late great Philip Madoc). Huge thanks to the hospitality of festival director Eddy Lovaglio and maestro Riccardo Moretti, and for the splendid after-dinner company of trophy-designer Claudia Oddi and the Italian Head of Sony Music Publishing, Roberto Mancinelli. See the full list of award-winners here.
September 19th - UNKNOWN HEART, part 1..... Recording day with the fabulous musicians of the London Telefilmonic Orchestra on Stuart's lush score for part 1 of the sweeping romantic drama "Unknown Heart". Great performances in starring roles from Greg Wise, James Fox, and the ever-ravishing Jane Seymour. Giles Foster directs, with scoring already underway on part 2.
September 14th - SNAPSHOT SONGS First vocal workshops..... Stuart and the Barbican/SHM team hold the first of many planned vocal taster workshops for Snapshot Songs in the Fountain Room of the Barbican Centre. Delighted to be joined by around 90 enthusiastic singers from all walks of life for three invigorating two-hour vocal workouts, with the wonderful Liv Bradbury at the helm. A terrific start that shows the enormous potential of the project! Looking forward to the next sessions on Tuesday 8th Oct, 6pm (Barbican) and Saturday 12th Oct (10am, 1pm, 3.30pm) at Fellows Court Community Centre, E2. Subscribe at snapshotsongs.com to get involved!
September 2nd - THIS MORNING theme music..... The new Autumn series of ITV's staple daytime programme THIS MORNING - now in its 25th year! - kicks off today with a new-look title sequence and with the famous theme music newly arranged by Stuart. Wonderful to be part of such a high profile programme, and thanks to hosts Philip and Holly for quickly (and correctly) identifying the trumpets and French horns in the track! Have a listen here.
September 1st - SNAPSHOT SONGS goes LIVE!..... SnapshotSongs.com finally goes live - check it out! Over the next couple of months, Stuart and the Barbican/SHM team will be seeking singers (both potential soloists and choir members) for the project, and holding informal vocal 'taster' sessions and auditions at the Barbican. Subscribe on the site itself to be in the loop!
August 21st - Only Connect..... Snapshot Songs gets the collaborative ball rolling in Kings Cross with Only Connect Central - the members' club for prisoners, ex-offenders and youth at risk. A lively debate about ambition and what it means to be the 'next big thing' gets the creative juices flowing for a song as part of the Snapshots cycle.
August 10th - 3 MOBILE - Pug 123..... Pay As You Go just got interesting!! Stuart goes into trailer music mode with choir, orchestra and thumping drums to capture the epicness of 3 Mobile's New Pay-As-You-Go mascot - a pug with a SIM round his neck. All over your TV screens now and on the showreel page.
July 5th - New season of Pilchers..... The new season of the ever-popular TV movies kicks off with the classic romance "Alte Herzen". Stuart orchestrates and produces the soundtrack.
July 2nd - Carling - 'The Catch'..... Stuart composes a bombastic orchestral soundtrack for a spot in Carling's new summer campaign - 'It's good...but it's not quite Carling...'. Cricket, ice-cream, beer, nuns bottle-feeding a lamb...? It's all here on the showreel page.
June 26th - BEST COMPOSER 2013 at the JERRY GOLDSMITH AWARDS..... What a night! Stuart travels to the International Film Music Festival of Cordoba, Andalucia, to attend the 2013 Awards ceremony, where HAWK and PLANTS OF QATAR are up against stiff worldwide competition but are very much in the running for awards in the Feature Film and Documentary categories. Hawk finishes a close runner-up to Marc Timon's 'The Little Wizard' soundtrack, but PLANTS OF QATAR brings home the bacon in the documentary class. To crown a magnificent evening for Stuart, he is declared Best Composer overall and receives the year's coveted Jerry Goldsmith statuette. See all the details on the Awards website here. It is an absolute honour to receive such recognition from the jury of BSO Spirit, and also to meet Conrado Xalabarder and so many amazing fellow composers from all nations. Other highlights from the festival include the Malaga Symphony Orchestra playing an exquisite programme of film music by Elmer Bernstein and Marco Beltrami, with the latter in attendance. A wonderful festival in a beautiful part of the world. Next stop - the Parma International Film Music Festival, where, again, both HAWK and PLANTS OF QATAR are in competition.
June 18th - Snapshot Songs update..... Things continue to progress with Snapshot Songs, as Stuart presents his song compositions to SHM, collaborative plans with various groups are cemented, and the first vocal taster sessions are planned.
June 6th - Expedia - 'Travel Yourself Interesting'..... Dry sarcasm is the overriding sentiment of Ogilvy&Mather's new Expedia campaign. Stuart provides the appropriately sarcastic soundtrack to the ads, on your TV screens this summer and on the showreel page here.
May 28th - Jerry Goldsmith Awards - TWO NOMINATIONS..... Stuart is delighted to have his film music recognised with two nominations at the BSO Spirit Jerry Goldsmith Awards. Both HAWK (for Best Music in a Feature-Length Film), and PLANTS OF QATAR (for Best Music in a Documentary) have made it through to the shortlists, with the ceremony taking place in Cordoba, Spain on June 26th.
May 24th - Jerry Goldsmith Awards - Pre-Selection..... News filters through that Stuart's work has been pre-selected for consideration at the BSO Spirit Jerry Goldsmith Awards 2013, part of the Festival Internacional de Musica de Cine, in Cordoba, Spain. Delighted that of the 5 categories he submitted work for, he has been long-listed in all 5: Hawk for Best Music in a Feature-Length Film (over 30 minutes), The Last Belle for Best Music in an Animated Short, Plants of Qatar for Best Music in a Documentary, Picturehouse for Best Music in a Commercial, and Olympic Shorts for Best Music in a Promo. Short-lists are to be published early next week - watch this space! (Full pre-selections listed here.
May 22nd - Flight of the Ford Bumblebee..... Much fun is had recording a vintage-style arrangement of the Rimsky-Korsakov classic 'Flight of the Bumblebee' to accompany a new Ford commercial for rear-view camera technology. Watch it on the showreel here - and marvel at the nimble lips and fingers of the fantastic Joe Auckland (trumpet) and Sarah Crisp (violin)!
April/May - Snapshot Songs update..... Stuart's long-term concert project is beggining to take shape, especially in terms of the relationships being formed with various creative collaborative groups. Stuart and his SHM colleagues have toured the almost-finished Milton Court Concert Hall - which is fabulous - where the April 2014 premiere will take place with the LSSO, Drumheads, soloists and choir. Creative collaboration in the offing with the Barbican Young Poets, Futureband, Barbican Young Filmmakers and Only Connect. Exciting times ahead!
March 22nd - Thatchers' Somerset Cider..... Martyn Pick directs and Stuart scores Bray Leino's lovely commercial for Thatchers' "Gold" Somerset Cider. On air in the spring and summer (if winter actually decides to ever bugger off...?!)
March 8th - RAIN DANCE to get another outing - Stateside!..... Stuart is delighted to receive confirmation from across the pond today that North Cambridge Family Opera will be staging his youth opera Rain Dance next year. Three years on from W11's stunning premiere at Riverside Studios, the villainous Tau (the role created by BGT's superstar-in-the-making Jonathan Antoine) will be roaring once more in Massachusetts in April 2014. Catch a clip from W11's finale here.
January 24th - Bray-doh for Bray Leino..... Jon Elsom of ad agency Bray Leino hires Stuart to play the piano, badly! Stuart does his best Les-Dawson-esque slaying of Beethoven's 'Fur Elise' for the agency's signature blue play-doh ('Bray-doh') animated figure.
January 15th - BEST ORIGINAL SCORE for Hawk at Idyllwild, California..... It's awards season for the film industry, and 2013 gets off to a tremendous start for Stuart and the boys from Capture: HAWK wins Best Original Score in the Featurette category of the prestigious Idyllwild Cinema Festival in California, a stone's throw from Hollywood. Hawk also wins Best Cinematography. All that hard work paid off! The Hawk album remains on sale on iTunes and MovieScore Media, and you can catch a clip of the opening sequence here.
December 6th - Christmas with FERRERO ROCHER (USA)..... Stuart gets all Christmassy with some festive music for a Ferrero Rocher commercial. Not for the Ambassador's reception (remember that?), but for our American cousins. "Happy Holidays", as they say across the pond!
December 1st - Eurobest GOLD for Best Sound Design - more honours for 'Hero's Return'..... Another fabulous accolade for Camelot/National Lottery's emotional 'Hero's Return' commercial, featuring Stuart's music - GOLD for Best Sound Design at 'Eurobest' - the European Festival of Creativity, and currently the biggest and most prestigious awards for Europe's creative communications industry. It also picks up a silver for Best Direction.
November 28th - Snapshot Songs latest..... Stuart is chuffed to meet up with another talented young poet, and fellow Essex-boy - Luke Wright - with whom he hopes to collaborate on a Snapshot Song or two. Check out Luke and his work here.
November 15th - Music for PHILIPS Sensotouch 3D..... The shaver with an answer for every face... Ogilvy & Mather's spot for the the Philips Sensotouch features Stuart's piano music - a combination of Herrmann-inspired horror and a Joplin rag. Weird...but wonderful...! See it on the showreel page soon.
October/November - The Plants of Qatar..... Stuart is delighted to complete the mixes for his new score for Rock Wallaby's latest nature documentary for Qatar National Day. This year's masterpiece weaves a tale of desert life and the often surprising and beautiful plant life of the region. Plenty of scope for another lush orchestral/Arabic score from Stuart, again recorded with the magnificent Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. Clip on the showreel page here.
September 26th - THE OTHER WIFE, part 2..... The sweeping mini-series concludes. Rupert Everett gets his comeuppance, of course, but not without putting those around him through the emotional wringer. The London Telefilmonic musicians record Stuart's music with consummate brilliance once again. Set to air on European screens on Christmas Day - don't miss it!
September 20th - Stu'n'Snoop are 'Pick of the Week'..... Another Campaign "Pick", this time for the Adidas/Footlocker spot "Let's Roll", featuring Stuart and Snoop Dogg's homage to Holst... Jeremy Lee is impressed: "Retail advertising doesn't need to be boring, after all. It's easy to forget that this is simply an ad to sell shoes at Foot Locker - it just looks so much bigger than that." Read the article in full here.
September 15th - GOLD for BEST MUSIC at the Kinsale Sharks for 'Hero's Return'..... The Hero's Return spot for Camelot garners multiple awards at the prestigious Kinsale Sharks awards. The poignant ad for the National Lottery's good causes picks up four GOLD awards in the Broadcast Category: Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Cinema, and, most gratifyingly for Stuart as a composer, Best Music and Sound Design. Fantastic to get the recognition of one's peers! See The ad here on the Showreel Page.
September 13th - More honours for HAWK..... Hawk is bestowed the Award Of Excellence from the California-based, IMDB-connected Accolade Competition - a unique showcase for cinematic gems and unique voices in film, rewarding exceptional achievement in craft and creativity. Stuart is very proud to have been part of one such film.
September 12th - THE OTHER WIFE, part 1..... Stuart completes composition and orchestration on the first part of a new Giles Foster-directed mini-series. "The Other Wife", starring Rupert Everett, John Hannah, Melia Kreiling and Phyllida Law, charts the unravelling of the double-life of a man with wives and children on both sides of the Atlantic. Splendid performances from the ensemble cast, notably a juicy turn from Everett as the villain of the piece. Part 2 to follow.
September 7th - Coke Zero - "Unlock the 007 in You"..... Publicis France, in the run-up to next month's release of the new Bond film 'Skyfall', produce a stunt-filled Coke Zero TV ad, in which the average bloke unlocks his inner-Bond and gets the girl (and the Coke). Stuart relishes getting stuck into a full re-record of the seminal John Barry/Monty Norman original theme, involving recording several live brass musicians and guitarist to accompany the on-screen humming and musical sound FX (provided by Factory). See the ad here on youtube and on the showreel page soon.
September 4th - 'Let's Roll' - Stu 'n' SNOOP DOGG..... an obvious pairing, you'd think. Stuart provides the orchestra (a re-record of Holst's iconic Mars from 'The Planets') and Snoop provides da beatz for a stunning Adidas/Footlocker ad for Alex & Steffen of Creature, London. Catch it on the showreel page soon.
August 12th - THE LAST BELLE - triumph at Rhode Island..... Following last year's Best Comedy Short win for Gin & Dry, Stuart's movies continue their good form at the Rhode Island International Film Festival with The Last Belle picking up Best Animated Film. Well-deserved for Neil Boyle's comedic masterpiece; watch Wally's downfall here on the Showreel Page.
July 27th - London 2012 OPENING CEREMONY..... After months of building excitement in the run-up to the games, on a whim, Stuart splashes some of his hard-earned cash on a pair of last-minute tickets to the Opening Ceremony! Danny Boyle's spectacular is a feast for the senses, and a stunning opener to London 2012, and it feels pretty special to be there at the start of something so magnificent. It's going to be very hard to get a whole lot of work done over the next couple of months with so much wonderful sport to come on the telly...
July 20th-23rd - Concert in the Pyrenees..... Stuart travels to the picturesque town of Leran, France, nestled in the Pyrenees between Toulouse and Carcasonne. Here he plays piano for the splendid local choir, and accompanies majestic sopranos Penny Chalmers and Virginia Kerr in a delightful concert full of musical variety.
July 19th - December 14th - New season of Rosamunde Pilcher films..... Stuart once again provides orchestrations for Richard Blackford's romantic scores for the ever-popular Rosamunde Pilcher TV movies. Five scores orchestrated and recorded, airing from the autumn.
May 17th - Olympic Shorts..... Hot on the heels of their double triumph at Camarthen Bay, Stuart completes work for Capture's beautifully constructed spot for the London 2012 Festival Films - held next month at Picturehouse Cinemas. The visuals play on the 'shards' of the London 2012 branding, whilst Stuart's guitar-based music gives the whole thing an uplifting feel. See the spot here on the Showreel Page.
May 14th - Double Whammy at CARMARTHEN BAY..... Not one, but two different films featuring Stuart's music pick up gongs at the 2012 Carmarthen Bay Film Festival. Best Short Film goes to Hawk, whilst Gin & Dry lands Best Comedy - see clips of them both on the showreel page. Well done to the boys at Capture!
May 1st - SNAPSHOT SONGS Meetings..... The song cycle project in collaboration with the SHM Foundation, now officially called "Snapshot Songs", continues to progress with meetings today for Stuart with Sean Gregory at the Barbican's Creative Learning Department, and with performance poet Mat Lloyd at the Truman Brewery - the latter to discuss setting his brilliant poem "This City" to music as the possible opener to the song cycle. Read more about Mat and his work here.
April 24th - Nike "La Masia" revisited..... Stuart scores a second episode in the "La Masia/The Chance" series of ads for Nike Football - a variation of the first flamenco track, but with a big celebratory feel to it.
March 27th - Wiedersehen in Malaysia..... Stuart orchestrates another sweeping TV movie for the European market, "Wiedersehen in Malaysia" (See You In Malaysia). The usual blend of soaring romantic orchestration, together with a subtle Far-Eastern flavour.
March 24th - Jonathan Antoine's Got Talent..... Back in late 2010, Stuart met and worked with the brilliant Jonathan Antoine, who was cast as the villain in his W11 Opera - Raindance. Jonathan was 15 at the time, and wowed us all with his fully-fledged tenor vocals. Now 17, he's given Britain's Got Talent a go. And knocked Simon Cowell and the nation for six in his first audition! High hopes that he can go all the way with equally talented singing partner Charlotte Jaconelli. Listen to Jonathan in Raindance here.
March 21st - 5-4-3-2-1..... Stuart has fun producing a faithful re-record of Manfred Mann's classic for a children's clothing ad for Asda. Harmonica legend Martin Simons brings it to life! On your TV and radio now.
March 9th - Nike "La Masia"..... Stuart composes a flamenco-inspired orchestral/choral soundtrack for Nike's "The Chance" campaign, which stars FC Barcelona's manager Pep Guardiola, the club's training camp "La Masia" and its search for young football talent.
March 22nd - Another week, another "Pick"!..... "Pick of the Week" in Campaign and also in PRWeek for a 2nd time this month with Camelot "Hero's Return" and Stuart's music/sound design with Factory. Jeremy Lee says, "This spot is beautiful and moving". See the ad on the showreel page.
March 1st - Hedgehog-of-the-Week..... Stuart's recently-scored Lactofree spot for Wieden & Kennedy garners Campaign's Pick Of The Week. "What's not to like?" says Anne Cassidy! See the ad on the showreel page.
February 28th - "Lactofree" is Ad of the Week!..... Delighted to see the Lactofree hedgehogs have won over The Reel, and are awarded Ad of the Week! The Reel says: "the adorable visuals of the prickly fellas dreaming of a world where they can drink coffee and eat buttered crumpets will surely melt your heart enough to give the brand a go". See the ad on the showreel page and read the whole article here..
February 23rd - National Lottery/Camelot commercial "Hero's Return"..... Stuart produces a dark textural soundscape to accompany this beautifully-shot commercial for Camelot, showcasing one of the good causes (war veterans) supported by the National Lottery. It's on your TV screens till March 31st and is one of Campaign's Ads of the Week - see it here on the showreel page.
February 9th - Listen up hedgehogs!..... Stuart scores a lovely ad for Lactofree from Wieden & Kennedy, featuring supermarket-shopping hedgehogs (intolerant to the sugars in lactose, apparently!). See the ad on the showreel page.
February 6th - Composer-in-residency with SHM..... Fresh back in the UK, and Stuart's year-long association with the SHM Foundation officially starts. It's going to be a very interesting and challenging year, with new ways of working and composing to explore - hopefully culminating in a high-profile premier concert performance sometime in the first half of 2013. Keep on eye on this page for updates!
December 23rd - The Badge of Al-Rayyan..... No sooner has the dust settled on the Qatar Dream 2030 project than Rock Wallaby enlist Stuart to produce some music tracks for "The Badge of Al-Rayyan" - a reality TV show based around the mysterious and fascinating world of camel racing and camel trainers. Stuart records about 30 minutes' worth of new music for director Andrew Barron and producer Lyndal Davies, covering a diverse range of moods. A long Christmas/January break down under has been very well earned!
November 19th-23rd - Qatar Dream 2030..... Stuart's big project for the last couple of months has been to work once again with Mark Strickson of Rock Wallaby Productions on their latest commissions from Qatar for National Day (December 18th). This year's project is a series of fifteen 7-minute films featuring the children of Qatar, transported on the Fast Train to the Future and living out their dream future career in the year 2030. Stuart masterminds the wall-to-wall scoring of all the films, together with the orchestration of some colourful QND songs and logos - approximately two hours' worth of new music, all recorded in an intense, but ultimately very satisfying two days of recording with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra.
November 9th - Picturehouse Cinemas..... Matthew Jones (director) and MJ McMahon (producer), the Capture boys that brought you "Hawk", commission Stuart to score their cinema commercial for the Picturehouse Cinemas brand. A beautifully observed and shot piece of film - see it here on the showreel page.
November 8th - Talks with the Barbican..... Stuart attends a very positive meeting with the Barbican's Director of Creative Learning, Sean Gregory, Head of Development, Lynette Brooks, and Head of Cinema, Robert Rider, together with SHM's Anna Kydd and Henrietta Moore to discuss initial ideas for the zeitgeist-themed song cycle that SHM are commissioning from Stuart, and how the Creative Learning Unit might get involved in its creation and performance. Stuart's composer-in-residency with SHM is due to officially begin in February 2012.
October 21st - VIOLIN CONCERTO..... After a long wait since the splendid premier (June 2005), and after a false start last December, Stuart's Violin Concerto is performed once again on the concert stage. In a specially-commissioned slimline orchestration for the St Pauls Sinfonia, Andy Morley and his orchestra deliver a beautiful and sensitive performance, but the star of the show is, of course, violin soloist Paul Barrett. He was good in '05, but this time he is simply brilliant. Mary (his Mrs) and the composer sit in the stalls mesmerised, and ever-so-slightly emotional to be re-visiting what seems like a dear old friend of a piece after such a long absence.... Listen to two excerpts on the showreel page.
October 19th - December 18th - Pilchers 3, 4 and 5..... Stuart squeezes in orchestrations for the next three Rosamunde Pilcher sagas for ZDF Television.
October 12th - Cast'n'crew premier of The Last Belle..... Neil Boyle finally unleashes his exquisite animation on an excited crowd at the Srrening Room at MPC, Wardour Street. Laughs come thick and fast and Stuart's music score, recorded with the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, sounds glorious with the genius animation. There is talk of a Last Belle 2, but given how long this one took (14 years) and how many production babies were in the credits, it might be a while coming...! In the meantime, The Last Belle looks set to wow other audiences at forthcoming festivals this month (the Paris, Bradford, and BFI London Film Festivals) together with Gin & Dry (at the Austin (Texas) and Raindance (London) Film Festivals).
October 2nd and 10th - "This September" parts 3 and 4..... Two more sessions at Pinewood see the completion of the scores for the sweeping saga "This September", directed by Giles Foster, and starring the magnificent Charles Dance. Stuart's work on the scores helps chart the trials and tribulations of the stormy Aird dynasty, and will be coming to European TV screens at Christmas.
September 13th - KFC "Shrimpo"..... A swashbuckling orchestral score is required for the marauding pirates that feature in KFC's "Captain Shrimpo" advert for the Egyptian market, which Stuart has fun delivering.
August 31st - Recording The Last Belle..... A fabulous day of recording is had in Bratislava with David Hernando and his orchestra, bringing Stuart's score for The Last Belle to life. The musicians are on fine form and director Neil Boyle is looking forward to his gem of a film making a hit at the BFI London Film Festival in October.
August 29th - Pilcher number 100!..... Orchestration is completed on the season's second Rosamunde Pilcher saga for ZDF, and the 100th in the history of the long-running and successful series - "Der gestohlene Sommer" (The Stolen Summer).
August 26th - IKEA Happy To Bed - radio..... Stuart follows up the TV mnemonic with a skiffly soundtrack for the radio ads in Ikea's continuing "Happy To Bed" campaign.
August 23rd - GIN & DRY Festival Win!..... Oscar Plewes' brilliant short comedy Gin & Dry garners it first festival award - winning Best Comedy Short at the prestigious Rhode Island International Film Festival. The first of many such awards....? See the chase sequence on the Showreel Page.
August 13th - IKEA Happy To Bed - TV..... Ikea's new ad campaign for its bedroom furniture presents the idea of going "happy to bed", and Stuart creates the quirky mnemonic to accompany the nightly ad signalling to the viewers it's time to wind down. On air on Channel 4 at about 10.30pm each night.
August 4th - THE LAST BELLE..... Stuart is thrilled to complete the music score for a jaw-droppingly brilliant animated short film "The Last Belle" from director Neil Boyle (whose credits incude Roger Rabbit, Space Jam and The Jungle Book 2). Recounting the perils and pitfalls of an internet blind date, hand-drawn with brilliant detail and humour, this is animation at its old-fashioned finest. It's already been accepted into the London and Paris film festivals and plans are in motion to record the orchestral score live - more details to follow.
July 31st - New season of Rosamunde Pilcher films..... A welcome return to orchestrating the first of the season's ever-popular Pilcher TV movies. "Verlobt, verliebt, verwirrt" (Engaged, In Love, Confused) continues the long-running series, to be aired in the autumn.
July 25th - Soooo Money Supermarket!..... Not normally known for his lead-guitar skills, Stuart dazzles with an 80s-tastic anthem that wouldn't have been out of place on the Top Gun soundtrack, for a 30-second radio spot in Money Supermarket's new campaign. Narrated by Patrick Stewart, it's on your radios nationwide already!
July 21st - Cordonui ident..... Stuart draws on all of his Spanish heritage to compose music for a Cordonui sponsorship logo for the European market, complete with flamenco guitars and castanets....
July 11th - The Pimms Summer Party continues!..... A new arrangement of the Liberty Bell march, produced by Stuart, accompanies a second version of the new Pimms campaign. Bish bash bosh...!
June 20th - W11 Opera Anniversary Party..... The Louise T Blouin Centre in W11 plays host to a colourful gathering of around 500, all of whom have played a part in the phenomenal W11 Opera over the course of its forty years. The evening culminates with a semi-staged performance of the final scene of their most recent production - Stuart's "Rain Dance" (listen to a clip here!) - with about three quarters of the original cast of 85 in attendance and taking part with the composer at the piano. It's a thrilling and happy performance, with the enthusiastic crowd demanding (and getting) an encore! W11 is in rude health and is sure to go from strength to strength as it enters its 5th decade.
June 3rd - Talks with SHM Foundation..... Stuart meets with Anna Kydd and Henrietta Moore at the SHM Foundation's Holborn offices, to hatch plans for a new concert commission. Very exciting ideas thrown in for discussion - watch this space for more developments!
May 31st - Qatar and UNESCO..... Stuart assists Mark Strickson and the Rock Wallaby team on the music for Qatar's pitch for candidature to UNESCO's World Heritage committee.
May 26th - Dynamo Power-Active!..... Stuart composes music for a new Dynamo/Ariel commercial (for Kuala Lumpur music house Wasp), featuring a string quartet and one of the lead violins of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. On Asian TV screens soon!
May 9th - "HAWK" soundtrack scores 4.5...out of 4...! ..... Atlanta-based shakefire.com marks the Hawk soundtrack album with a grade of A+ and a score of 4.5 out of 4... doesn't get much better than that! Reveiwer AJ Garcia says "...you can truly appreciate Hancock's genius here... Hancock supplies a massively large scale sound that could go toe to toe with many of the more familiar names in the business. I highly suggest checking it out. Enjoy." Read the full article here.
May 4th - Join the Pimms summer party!..... Campaign reports the launch of Mother's new Pimms TV ad, featuring a 'campaign bus', affectionate snapshots of the British and their summer antics, and music produced by Stuart (an arrangement for Siren/Factory of Sousa's Liberty Bell march - the Monty Python one!). Read the article here and enjoy The ad on the showreel page here.
April 25th - "HAWK" is "Suite of the Week"..... Following hot on the heels of several great reviews for Stuart's Hawk soundtrack, it proudly becomes the featured "suite" of the week on Scorenotes.com, a site run by well-respected film music journalist and member of the International Film Music Critics Association, Tom Hoover.April 10th - More money-couldn't-buy "HAWK" soundtrack reviews.....
"It's a major stylistic leap up for British composer Stuart Hancock, who last impressed on Movie Score Media with his hard-edged martial arts music for UNDERGROUND and BODYGUARD: A NEW BEGINNING. Now Hancock enters far more delicate mystical lands previously traveled by Howard Shore, yet conjures a similar feeling of enchantment with his own stylistic voice. It's a pretty rare feat for a 38-minute project to get the kind of lavish music that conjures volumes-worth of ancient make-believe history, its melodic dimensions impressively depicted by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra and a choir called Serendipity. If anything, the only regret of HAWK is that there wasn't more of it for Hancock to score" [April Soundtrack Picks, Daniel Schweiger, Film Music Magazine, April 2011]
"Stuart Hancock's score for Hawk is a thing of pure beauty...There are powerful, beautiful themes as well as a number of eerie, atmospheric tracks, and as a whole this is destined to become a classic score... In essence, this soundtrack neatly encapsulates everything that got me interested in soundtracks in the first place. Hancock is a bloody genius...and I'm enjoying listening to him blossom. 10/10" [Darren Rea, SciFi Online, April 2011]
"This score...is at once gripping and beautiful, even haunting in places. It is the sort of score that would fit well with a space opera like Star Wars, in a sword-and-sandals epic, in a fantasy world fitting of Tolkien, or even in a horror movie. Warm, rich undertones of strings and low brass lay the foundation for a tale of mystery and of possible menace, while intricate vocal lines convey different emotions throughout the score. Violins and woodwinds weave their magic to illustrate a land that is awe inspiring and frightening... I had every expectation met with this soundtrack, and more. It is a delight to listen to. 5/5" [Caleb Leland, Shadowlocked, April 7th 2011]
April 7th - Great "HAWK" soundtrack reviews begin to materialise..... A brief google search unearths three very positive reviews of Stuart's recent album release already, all from across the pond:
"Stuart Hancock has delivered a fine piece of work here with Hawk....There is a nice, soothing flow to Hancock's score; an enjoyable listen which, despite being very single-minded in tempo and excitement, succeeds in transferring its emotion positively towards the listener....Hawk is a moody piece of work; something of which Hancock should be proud, and film score fans should investigate." [George Pacheco, Boston Examiner, April 7th 2011]
"Its gorgeous orchestral and choral score brings to mind the music from well-known feature films like the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings franchises and holds its own very well in comparison to such giants....lush orchestrations, very dramatic, and tending often towards the dark side of fantasy....you will enjoy this short gem of a soundtrack. Hancock has done a wonderful job with it" [Ann Wells, Fandomania, April 6th 2011]
"You would never expect to hear the sound and production quality of this score in a short film, but that's exactly what you get. You get a score with feature film qualities, grand orchestration and lots of atmosphere....The score has moments of beauty with great choral work....This is a score I would never have come across so I'm really happy I got to experience it. It's truly wonderful to see a short film's score getting a decent release like this. Especially since the quality is so superb, which is rare. This is definitely a score worth walking into blindly. The journey is worth it just to experience the reveal of the "The Rising Soul (End Credits)". That is one beautiful track." [Kaya Savas, Film Music Media, April 5th 2011]
April 6th - "HAWK" soundtrack released..... Stuart is delighted to announce MovieScore Media's release of his fourth motion picture soundtrack album. Mikael Carlsson describes the Hawk score's "dark and mesmerizing themes...beautiful harmonic language and great, colourful orchestrations" that give Hawk "a very serious sense of magic", brought to life by a starry line-up of musicians that includes the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, Welsh choir Serendipity and former Royal Harpist Catrin Finch. It's out on iTunes to download now, or pre-order your CDs, complete with beautiful album artwork, credits, choir lyrics and Q-and-A with the composer via MovieScore Media.
April 5th - Film Score Monthly interview published..... On the eve of the release of Stuart's fourth soundtrack album (Hawk), read Johny Menjivar's interview with Stuart here, published online today, in which Stuart relives the trials and tribulations of composing the score to "Underground" - his first album!
April 1st - Launch of BBC Radio 4 Extra..... Stuart completes work on a major re-branding campaign for the BBC - Radio 7 re-launching as Radio 4 Extra, with a new musical identity of logos and musical beds. Stuart joins his Mcasso colleagues at a launch party at the BBC Council, with "the switch" scheduled for 6am the following morning. Tune into Radio 4 Extra on your DABs for an entertaining blend of drama and comedy.
March 26th - Roundhouse world premiere of Stuart's "Folksong Suite"..... With the Voices Now Festival at the Roundhouse already in full swing, the splendid Holst Singers, conducted by Stephen Layton take to the Main Space stage presenting a folk-inspired programme that includes the first performance of Stuart's new "Folksong Suite". The suite is brilliantly-performed and well-received, consisting of unaccompanied SATB arrangements of three English folk tunes - (1) the romantically lyrical "Young and Single Sailor", (2) the haunting "Lover's Ghost" and (3) a galumphing and rumbustious (and slightly rude) version of "The Devil and The Farmer's Wife". Nicola Wookey is brilliant on the soprano solo in the 2nd song. Enjoy the performance of the 3rd song here, thanks to the recording made by the Roundhouse team.
March 25th - HAWK at 20th Century Fox..... The mini-epic gets another outing at 20th Century Fox, Soho Square, London; in attendance are musicians who contributed to Stuart's score, including soprano soloist Anna Snow and Serendipity's Sylvia Strand. A soundtrack release is planned for early April.
March 2nd - Voices Now - The Ambassador's Reception..... Stuart is delighted to attend a drinks reception hosted by the Latvian Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Eduards Stiprais, along with members of the Holst Singers, the Roundhouse organisers and other representative participants in the Voices Now Festival, to mark the launch of the choral festival set to open later in the month. Stephen Layton and the Holst Singers will premiere Stuart's "Folksong Suite" at the Roundhouse on March 26th alongside pieces by Holst, Vaughan Williams and Baltic composers Tormis, Esenvalds and Miskinis.
March 1st - HAWK premieres at BAFTA..... After what seems like an eternity of post-production, and something like eight years since Stuart signed up for scoring duties, Capture's epic short "Hawk" receives its hotly-anticipated world premiere screening at the home of British film, BAFTA. It's an exciting glitzy event with director MJ McMahon and producer Matthew Jones on good form, and with the entire cast (including Jaz the hawk) and many of the crew in attendance, and an invited audience of about 400. The movie looks stunning and sounds large and magnificent, benefitting from an expert dub by Nigel Squibbs, with Stuart's score coming across in all its symphonic glory. Discussions have begun with MovieScore Media for a possible soundtrack release - watch this space! Watch the movie's trailer here, and catch up with Capture and the progress of Hawk on its Facebook Page. A further screening is planned at 20th Century Fox for March 26th, and a Welsh premiere at Glyndwr University on March 31st.
February 28th - Roundhouse choir piece completed..... Stuart puts the finishing touches to the final movement and delivers his "Folksong Suite", comissioned by Making Music for the Voices Now Festival at the Roundhouse in late March. The Holst Singers, conducted by the celebrated Stephen Layton, have already started rehearsing the first two songs, and the composer looks forward to hearing them in rehearsal in the coming weeks!
February 21st - The Karrilon Trio in Epping..... Sue FitzGerald, Alex Birchall and Marcus Andrews continue their concert series with a performance at Epping Music Society, with their signature piece, Stuart's "Flight Paths", as the finale.February 4th - "Upgrade" with the Daily Mail..... Campaign describes it as the launch of the Daily Mail's biggest advertising campaign in 10 years, and the opening ad of the series features Stuart's newly composed music (signed off today). Set to air on our TV screens from Sunday Feb 6th, see the ad on the showreel page.
January 21st - Twitter!..... Stuart now tweets! Follow him here - @StuartHancock1.
January 21st - A another review of "Rain Dance"..... Stuart's W11 Opera picks up another review, this time from John Allison in "Opera", who talks of "tapping into the African subject matter while avoiding any Lion King-style cliches" mentioning "an especially good chorus about the baobab...everything matched well with the libretto by Donald Sturrock...the performance came to catchy life"; but, best of all is to hear that Mr Allison's "research assistant (and five-year-old son) was still singing the songs several days later, suggesting that Rain Dance has enough appeal to deserve further outings".
January 17th - Roundhouse choir project..... Stuart meets up at the Camden Roundhouse with Matthew Swann, festival producer of Voices Now, a week-long celebration of all things vocal at the stunning venue in late March. Plans are discussed for a suite of choral arrangements of English folksongs to be performed by the fantastic Holst Singers (conducted by Stephen Layton) on the saturday of the festival (March 26th). Stuart's suite will share the program with Holst, Vaughan Williams and Baltic composers Veljo Tormis and Eriks Esenvalds. Get your tickets online, or by calling the box office on 0844 482 8008.
January 16th - "Rain Dance" DVD screening..... Freshly back from a well-earned break in Jamaica with Danny and the guys from Bad Like Yaz (including a beach party with Mr Usain Bolt), Stuart heads back to Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, this time to the cinema, which hosts a joyous reunion of the cast and crew of W11 to view the film made of his opera "Rain Dance". Fond memories flood back, and the cast do a good amount of singing and dancing along in aisles.
December 17th - Violin Concerto (almost) gets its second performance!..... Following a great rehearsal on the 15th with Paul Barrett (violin) and St Pauls Sinfonia (Andy Morley conducting), everything's in place for a repeat performance of Stuart's epic Violin Concerto in Deptford, this time with an orchestration reduced from the enormous forces employed for the 2005 Southbank Sinfonia premiere. Unfortunately, Paul comes down with flu and can barely move, let alone tackle a monster concerto, so sadly the performance is postponed - hopefully to be rescheduled sometime in the ochestra's 2011/12 season. Listen to clips of the premiere performance on the Showreel Page. And thus draws to a close a stupidly busy few months, and the start of a well-earned Christmas break.
December 10th - Pilchers 4 and 5..... Stuart completes orchestrations on the final Rosamunde Picher movies of the season - "Herzenfragen" and "Sonntagskinder" - set to be broadcast on ZDF in January.
December 3rd-5th - "Rain Dance" WORLD PREMIERE..... Curtain up on W11's "Rain Dance" at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. The costumes and set and lighting look tremendous, and every one of the 82-strong cast give it their all to the five exhausting performances in three days. The whole show is a runaway success - Susan Elkin (of The Stage) being "blown away" (read her full review here.) After a long but hugely enjoyable term of rehearsals and putting it all together, the following monday is thoroughly depressing without it....
November 28th - "Rain Dance" band call and sitzprobe..... With a fraught week of orchestration (including on the plane to and from Bratislava!), Stuart completes the band score for his opera "Rain Dance". The brilliant 10-piece band assemble and bring to colourful life, later joined by the assembled young cast to sing it all through. Next stop, Riverside Studios for performance week!
November 21st - "The Birdlife of Qatar" score recording..... Having completed composition of the score for the Qatar National Day documentaries, Stuart flies out to Slovakia to record the music with the brilliant Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. The soaring strings match the soaring birds on-screen, with a lush and colourful western/Arabic fusion soundtrack. Feel the scorching heat of summer in Doha on the Showreel Page.
November 2nd - "This September", part 2..... Stuart oversees the recording of the emotional score he has worked on for part 2 of "This September". Music highlights include fights, a tumultuous storm and a tearful reunion scene played beautifully by lead actors Charles Dance and Eleonore Weisberger. Hopefully things are in place to work on music for parts 3 and 4 in the summer of 2011.
October 21st - "Gin & Dry" cinema premiere..... Mac and Matt of Capture (formerly 11:22 Entertainment), together with writer/director Oscar Plewes present their wonderful short film "Gin & Dry" to the world at 20th Century Fox, London, featuring Stuart's score music. See the chase sequence on the Showreel Page., but in the meantime follow the fortunes of the film on its Facebook page and its beautifully designed website.
October 20th - "No Boundaries" for HSBC..... Stuart has his music signed off for one of HSBC's latest television adverts, for JWT and Ridley Scott Associates. Soon to appear on your
TV screens and on the Showreel Page.
October 15th - "This September", part 1..... Back to Pinewood to work with the London Telefilmonic Orchestra, this time recording the score to part one of the Giles Foster-directed romantic saga "This September", which Stuart has been working on. The movie, depicting the trials and tribulations of the Aird family, is set in the spectacular Scottish Highlands and features a star-studded cast that includes the magnificent Charles Dance, Eileen Atkins, Rebecca Night and Michael Brandon (of Dempsey & Makepeace fame).
October 6th - Next Pilcher..... Stuart orchestrates and records musicians for the third Rosamunde Pilcher of the season "Flugel der Liebe".
October 2nd-5th - Off to Doha..... Stuart flees the dust of building work for the dusty (and hot!) Qatar capital, Doha, where he meets Lyndal Davies and her team from RockWallaby Productions. Lyndal is directing some films for Qatar National Day this year, including a documentary on the birdlife of Qatar, which Stuart will be providing music for. He also spends some quality time immersing himself in Arabic music with music supervisor for National Day, charming pianist and composer Hisham Niaz. Fine cuts of the films to be delivered in early November for Stuart to begin work on.
September 20th - Demolition..... Building work starts. Not good, especially when it coincides neatly with Stuart's busiest ever period of work. Kitchen and bathroom are destroyed to treat dry rot. Working kitchen and bathroom ultimately not reinstated at Hancock Towers until December 9th!
September 8th - Auditions for W11..... Big excitement at St James' Church, London W11, as auditions get underway for Stuart's youth opera "Rain Dance". Lots of good vocal talent on show, including the splendid tenor Jonathan Antoine who is ultimately cast is the villainous lion Tau. Elizabeth Banes, Miranda Ostler and Alexa Tamsett take on Roli, Mandisa and Koni respectively. The start of a wonderful creative term to culminate in the December performances! See the W11 Opera website for more details.
August 23rd - New season of Rosamunde Pilchers..... Stuart orchestrates and records on the first two movies ("Wenn das Herz zerbricht" and "Lords lugen nicht") of the new season of the ever-popular Rosamunde Pilcher series for ZDF television.
August 21st - Bad Like Yaz..... Danny, Sapna, Viv, Tariq, Clemens.... together they are the awesome band Bad Like Yaz, who started life in Stuart's basement studio and are now playing a scintillating gig tonight at the packed-out Miller, London Bridge. Check 'em out on Facebook.
August 2nd - 1916 at Abbey Road..... Stuart is at Abbey Road assisting on the mix of the 1916 "concept album" songs. Engineer Jonathan Allen helms proceedings. Check out the 1916 website or Facebook page for more details.
July 24th/25th - WOMAD..... Off to Charlton Park, Wiltshire, to soak up some good weather and world music at this year's WOMAD. Great chilled atmosphere, and some wonderful performances - memorable highlights being La Brassbanda from Bavaria, the living legend that is Rolf Harris, and the rather unnerving but rather fantastic Inuit throat-singing of Tanya Tagaq - see her on Youtube.
July 19th - Studio upgrade..... Yellow Technology's Antony Conner is here for the day, performing a major upgrade of the studio. Including a new all-singing-dancing Intel Mac and Logic 9 to play with.
July 14th - 1916 gets the clap..... Stuart spends a riotous morning recording singers in the studio for his "Clap Song" for 1916 The Musical. Vocal coach Jamie Anderson oversees the filthy vocal stylings of Fiona Thompson and Lucy Allenby; see the musical's website for updates on the progress of the show.June 11th - One Night In Turin soundtrack review: "This is wall to wall, grade A quality material."..... He shoots.... he scores....! A perfect 10/10. On the inaugural day of this year's World Cup, Stuart is delighted to notch up a fantastic review for the recently released soundtrack to football documentary "One Night In Turin". Darren Rea writes, "There's something about this score that captures, for me, everything that's great about movie soundtracks. This is an emotional score that should be listened to as loud as you think you can get away with without annoying the neighbours....this soundtrack captures, for me, a modern age of Hollywood music which is very sadly missing in a lot of today's compositions." Review Graveyard
The movie is out on DVD, and the soundtrack is available from MovieScore Media featuring a tremendous performance from the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra and a scintillating new rendition of the immortal Nessun Dorma by tenor Sean Ruane.
May 30th - Cathy Fox recital in Fulham..... Violinist Cathy Fox puts on a splendid and varied recital with Stuart at the keys. Highlights include a breathtaking "Lark Ascending" and the completely riotous "Variations on Yankee Doodle" as a finale.
May 20th - Juice bring "Rain Dance" to life..... The trustees and crew of W11 Opera assemble at the company manager's house to hear, for the first time, a sung-through performance of the first full draft of Stuart's new children's opera "Rain Dance". Anna, Sarah and Kerry (the ladies of Juice) sing all the parts magnificently with the composer at the piano, all met with a very enthusiastic response from the audience, including stage director Ben Occhipinti and newly-hired music director Philip Sunderland.
May 11th - "One Night In Turin" unleashed..... Stuart attends the theatrical premier of "One Night In Turin" at a packed Empire Leicester Square, followed by live Q&A from Newcastle. This and subsequent screenings sell well, so the Empire extend the film's run into a second and third week. The DVD and soundtrack (courtesy of MovieScore Media) are released at the end of the month.
May 9th - The Karrilon Trio in Chiswick..... The trio continue their concert series as part of the "Blenheim Concerts" once again performing Stuart's "Flight Paths" as their finale.
April 3rd - Recording "ONE NIGHT IN TURIN" score in Slovakia..... Director James Erskine and New Black Films bring Stuart on board to create a dramatic orchestral soundtrack for something pretty unique - a live World Cup football match! "One Night In Turin", narrated by Gary Oldman, tells the emotional story of the redemption of disgraced English football through the heroic exploits of Bobby Robson, Gazza, Lineker et al, culminating with the dramatic semi-final defeat to Beckenbauer's West Germany at the 1990 World Cup. Stuart has the privilege once again to work with David Hernando and the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra to record the score, including a new recording of Puccini's famous aria "Nessun Dorma" with a powerful vocal from tenor Sean Ruane. The movie is set to enjoy a cinema release prior to this year's World Cup, opening at the Empire Leicester Square on May 11th and at selected cinemas up and down the country. See the movie's website for more information about the film and where to see it.
March - Germany and football!..... Work continues on the Rosamunde Pilcher series with "Love on the Horizon" for ZDF, and Stuart begins composing on "One Night In Turin" (see more above!)
February 25th - 1916 The Musical..... Stuart is delighted to be taken on board as a co-composer for the ambitious new musical "1916" - a dramatic account of the Irish Republican uprising of the same year. Stuart looks forward to working with David Christmas, librettist Simon Humphreys and creative producer Sean Ferris on this exciting musical journey. Check out the show's website for more details.
February 14th - A second outing for "Choir Straits"..... Following its exhilarating premiere at the Wigmore Hall, Bath Camerata deliver a truly brilliant second performance of Stuart and Kit Hesketh-Harvey's cantata "Choir Straits". The singing is sublime under Nigel Perrin's baton, and the laughs come thick and fast in the splendidly refurbished Rook Lane Chapel in Frome, Somerset.
January 22nd - W11 Opera dates confirmed.....See the W11 Opera website for more details...... It is now confirmed that Stuart's opera (composition of which is now well underway!) is to be staged at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, on December 4th and 5th 2010, with a community performance on December 3rd. The opera bears a working title of "Rain Dance" and a top-notch libretto by Donald Sturrock and will be an entertaining take on some African folk tales. Meanwhile, Stuart continues his ZDF orchestration work with "Wherever you go" and the Latin-influenced Lindstrohm story "Midsummer Tango".
December 17th - Choir Straits WORLD PREMIERE..... The day of Stuart's Wigmore Hall "debut" finally arrives! Kit and the Widow are on blistering form in their Christmas concert, matched by a truly splendid first performance of Stuart's cantata "Choir Straits" (to Kit's lyrics) given by the Bath Camerata with Simon Trist at the helm, singing to a sell-out crowd. Gratifyingly, plans are afoot for a repeat performance in Somerset on February 14th 2010, at Rook Lane Chapel, Frome.
November 23rd - Slovakia and Qatar..... Stuart has the great pleasure of working again with EMR director James
Erskine, this time on "Written in the Sand", one of a series of documentaries for Serious Pictures for Qatar
National Day, following world-famous milliner Pip Hackett on a whirlwind tour of Qatari fashion and tradition.
The score involves a return trip for Stuart to record with the wonderful Bratislava Symphony Orchestra in the
Slovakian capital, whilst incorporating authentic recordings of Qatari instrumentalists. Clips of the colourful
epic score can be heard on the BSO
website, on the showreel page
November - More ZDF Orchestration..... Stuart's TV movie orchestration work continues with "My False Fiancé" and "A Love in Doubt" for ZDF.
October - A new version of "Bitter Suite"..... The Kingston Philharmonia, who performed Stuart's Lucky Star Suite
in March, commission a reduced orchestration of his Bitter Suite to be performed once again with the vocal
talents of the Juice Vocal Ensemble at their children's concert on December 5th. Hear clips from the LPhO's 2006
premiere on the Showreel Page.
September 16th - A Wigmore Hall WORLD PREMIERE announced - December 17th..... Kit & The Widow confirm that Stuart's choir cantata (to Kit's words) will receive its world premiere at London's famous Wigmore Hall, no less. Fight to get tickets - they're selling out fast! December 17th!
September - More ZDF orchestration..... "Return to Rose Abbey", "Summer of Emotions" and "Let There Be Love" continue the perennially popular Rosamunde Pilcher and Inga Lindstrohm series for ZDF.
August - "The Four Seasons", parts 3 and 4..... The sweeping saga, starring Tom Conti, Michael York, Frank Finlay
et al, concludes in fine style with "Winter" and "Spring". Stuart completes the final two epic scores for the
Giles Foster-directed four-parter, with some more scintillating recordings at Pinewood with the London
Telefilmonic Orchestra. See a clip on the Showreel Page.
July - Gin & Dry..... Stuart begins work on a gem of a short film - "Gin & Dry" - for talented writer/director Oscar Plewes. A bittersweet story of subversive care-home residents, Plewes is a real find for 11:22 Entertainment (the boys who'll be bringing you "Hawk".....)
June 26th - "BODYGUARD: A NEW BEGINNING" SOUNDTRACK RELEASED....
"With Bodyguard, Hancock proves that his work is up there with the best that Hollywood has to offer. Expect great things from him in the future. 9/10" Review Graveyard
Following hot on the heels of the Underground soundtrack release comes Stuart's equally powerful score to Chee Keong Cheung's action epic Bodyguard: A New Beginning. The soundtrack is available from MovieScore Media and iTunes, and the movie is out on DVD.
June 9th - "UNDERGROUND" SOUNDTRACK RELEASED.....
MovieScore Media unleash Stuart's searing score to "Underground" on CD and download, to coincide with the movie's release on DVD. The soundtrack garners some fantastic reviews:
"It's fabulous, largely because of its powerful, driving main theme, which dominates the score. It's so rare to
find a really memorable main theme in films these days, so when you find one like this, it's precious indeed." -
Available from, amongst others, MovieScore Media and iTunes.
June 4th/5th - Norfolk..... Stuart escapes the big smoke and heads to Norfolk with the dog, meeting up with Kit Hesketh-Harvey to get their creative juices flowing. Enjoyable brain-storming with Kit for their choral collaboration (for a possible December premiere), and exhilarating rabbit-catching outings for Sid ensue....
April 22nd - Operation Smile..... For RAPP UK, Stuart completes music for an emotive new campaign for charitable
organisation "Operation Smile" - raising awareness and funds for children born with cleft lips. See the ad on the
April 1st - Pin Sharp Music Ltd..... Stuart incorporates himself! Pin Sharp - his new limited company - begins trading.
March 14th - Lucky Star in Kingston..... Maestro Lev Parikian once again gives the Symphonic Suite from Lucky Star a fine performance, this time with the Kingston Philharmonia. The composer finds himself programmed as the concert finale to some illustrious names from the world of film music (Danny Elfman, Leonard Bernstein and Max Steiner)
February 12th - A new arrival..... The studio bids a warm welcome to Sidney! Sid is a rescue dog from the Dogs' Trust - he's a handsome 18-month-old lurcher (greyhound cross) and is wonderful company for those epic (otherwise solitary) composing spells... Also a fearsome guard-dog if provoked (not!)
January/February - More ZDF orchestration..... Work is completed on the new feature films "Love in Autumn", "September in Eriksberg", and "The Legacy of Granlunda", honing the scores' lyrical orchestral style in collaboration with Richard Blackford. Stuart also does some preparatory work on source music cues for the imminent third instalment of the sweeping epic "The Four Seasons".
January 26th - W11 plans..... Music director of W11 Opera for Young People Philip Colman meets up with Stuart on the Southbank to discuss the finer details of his proposed opera. Everything is in place for work to commence on writing the show with librettist Donald Sturrock, sheduled for a London premiere at Riverside Studios in December 2010. Watch this space for updates....!
January 13th - Commission for the Bath Camerata with Kit Hesketh-Harvey..... Stuart meets up with Gerry Mattock and Beryl Calver-Jones once again, erstwhile commissioners of his "Insomniac" for solo cello, premiered last March, to cement plans for a new exciting choral commission for the Bath Camerata. Also in attendance are Nigel Perrin of the Camerata, and fantastic lyricist Kit Hesketh-Harvey (of Kit & The Widow fame). Plans are hatched for brainstorming creative Norfolk weekends with Kit in March/April and for a potential London premiere for December 2009 at the prestigious Cadogan Hall.
December 6th - King Arthur Suite..... After nearly ten years of gathering dust on the shelf, Stuart's first ever concert commission gets its second performance! Originally written for Redbridge Music School in 1998/9, the Bloomsbury Woodwind Ensemble rise magnificently to the challenge of Stuart's picturesque "King Arthur Suite" at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, giving a thrilling performance under the direction of Shea Lolin.
November 28th - "Hanna's Fest"..... Stuart oversees the recordings for his score to this bittersweet Lindstroem feature that will have audiences reaching for their hankies....
November 6th - "The Four Seasons", Part 2..... Stuart completes work on the score for Autumn in the continuing epic "The Four Seasons" and is back at Pinewood conducting the London Telefilmonic Orchestra in the recording. The saga is directed by Giles Foster and parts 1 and 2 are set to hit European TV screens on Boxing Day.
October 1st - Bond Scratchcards..... With "Quantum of Solace" on the horizon and James Bond fever gripping the nation once again, Stuart gets in on a little of the action, providing music for the Lotto 007 scratchcard commercials.
August 31st - Britain's favourite choir!.....The gentlemen of Serendipity (see entry for July 17th 2007), a.k.a. "Only Men Aloud!" sensationally win the BBC's Last Choir Standing show and officially become Britain's favourite choir (and land a 7-figure recording contract with Universal). Congrats to Tim, Andy and the boys - Stuart feels glad to have got his recording in with them before they got dead famous, and wonders whether they'll charge as little as they did for the Hawk recording next time round....?!
August/September - New ZDF movies..... Stuart completes orchestration on the latest ZDF movie "Melodie der Liebe", a touching Rosamunde Pilcher classic, and begins work on "Herzen im Wind" and the charming Lindstrohm take on Romeo and Juliet - "Rasmus and Johanna". He also begins work on part 1 (Summer) of the sweeping adaptation of the Pilcher family saga "The Four Seasons", starring the British screen legends Michael York, Juliet Mills, Frank Finlay and Tom Conti.
July 11th - Daisy Mutronix..... a further Clarks' Yotoys commercial is scored by Stuart for Population Music.
June 29th - "The World Unseen"..... Stuart completes work assisting Richard Blackford on the score to the beautiful multi-award-winning South African feature film "The World Unseen", directed by Shamim Sarif and starring Bollywood beauties Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth.
May 18th - Cotswold Children's Choir..... with a final hurrah at the BBC Radio 3 youth choir competition in Cardiff, Stuart bids a very fond farewell to the Cotswold Children's Choir, stepping down as their accompanist after a fantastic year and a half of working with them.
May 3rd and 4th - Orchestration in New York City..... Stuart crossed the pond for the bank holiday weekend, catching up with some old friends and attending Scott Smalley's film orchestration seminar.
April 25th-30th - Completion of "Bodyguard" score..... With a year's experience in the bag since "Underground", Stuart launches into the Archway Road studio recording of musicians for the approved "Bodyguard: A New Beginning" score. 19 musicians come and go, contributing to an epic score - a relentless 75 minutes' worth of full-throttle music - a touch of personal family breavement in the middle of it all makes it a rather overwhelming few days.
April 17th - W11 Opera for Young People..... Together with librettist and partner-in-crime Donald Sturrock, Stuart makes a presentation to the committee of renowned children's opera company W11, aiming to become their next commissioned composer. After their two weeks of deliberation, Stuart wins the commission! ...so he will be following in the footsteps of composers as illustrious as George Fenton, Cecilia McDowall, Karl Jenkins and the late great film composer Michael Kamen with a new children's opera set to be staged in December 2010.
April 10th - Weetos - Mission Impossible!..... Stuart's music is chosen for the Aardman animation Weetos commercial that is set to blaze onto your TV screen in the coming weeks (and onto the showreel page!)
March 16th - The Brno Philharmonic..... Stuart travels to the beautiful Czech city of Brno to assist in the production of Richard Blackford's score to the National Theatre production of Tony Harrison's new play "Fram". The centre-piece is music for a solo ballet, to be performed by celebrated ballerina Viviana Durante.
March 13th - Another Scottish premiere..... work continues on the epic "Bodyguard", interrupted by a flying day-trip to Glasgow to attend the premiere of cello commission "Insomniac", given by Robert Irvine at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
March 6th - "Two Boldly Blow"..... Stuart completes the recordings for the CD to accompany Caroline Franklyn's woodwind duet tutor book Two Boldly Blow. In all good music shops soon!
February 27th - "Bodyguard" gets underway..... after attending a rough-cut screening, Stuart embarks on scoring a second all-guns-blazing continent-spanning action movie for director Chee Keong Cheung, "Bodyguard: A New Beginning", starring, amongst others, the legendary Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa. Many a sleepless night lies ahead, one suspects....
February 26th - Clarks Yotoys..... Stuart wins the pitch (for Population Music) for Clarks' shoes cute new Yotoy commercials, Daisy and Zoom. Zooming on the showreel page now!
February 24th - Pinewood.... work completes on Richard Blackford's score to the ravishing Indian-set period feature "Wer liebe verspricht" with a full-orchestra recording at Phoenix Sound, Pinewood Studios.
January 27th - "Wedding in Hardingsholm"..... Stuart creates the music score for this new feature-length Lindstrohm drama, recording with the customary line-up of strings, flute, soprano sax and clarinet.
November/December - More Orchestration..... Stuart orchestrates the feature length ZDF movies "Wind Across the Lake" (Rosamunde Pilcher), "Summer of Decision" (Inga Linstrohm) and "The Charm of Sandbergen" (Inga Lindstrohm)
October 29th - Insomniac..... after spending most of October down under, Stuart begins work on "Insomniac" - a commission for solo cello from Gerry Mattock and Beryl Claver-Jones, to be premiered by Robert Irvine in 2008.
September 25th - Hawk score completed..... the final pieces of the marathon that has been the music score to "Hawk" are in place - vocal solos from treble John Hallinan and soprano Anna Snow complete the production. Now over to Mac to complete the film.....!
September 20th - The collaboration continues..... Stuart orchestrates and records the musicians in a second film for Richard Blackford and ZDF - picturesque Swedish drama "Weekend in Soderholm".
September 5th - Catrin Finch..... A second field trip to Cardiff, this time to record the world class harpist Catrin Finch, with husband Hywel Wigley again on the faders. Catrin breezes brilliantly through the Hawk harp part in next to no time - see the Hawk website for the full story (www.hawkthemovie.com). Stuart enjoys his first full day of seeing without specs or lenses, thanks to laser surgery the day before!
August 24th - Further Hawk recordings..... The Hawk score takes further shape with recordings at Stuart's Archway Road studio of flute and piccolo (courtesy of Sue FitzGerald), cor anglais (Ilid Jones), clarinet and bass clarinet (Mary Bowater) and trombones (Neill Hadden).
August..... A very busy month! Stuart begins his collaboration with Richard Blackford by working on the score for "A Risk Worth Taking", a feature-length TV movie starring James Wilby, Tim Dutton and Olivia Hallinan. This culminates with a brilliant recording session on August 18th with the London Telefilmonic Orchestra at Phoenix, Pinewood Studios. Richard thankfully decides I was indeed a risk worth taking....
July 18th - Song for Peter..... Stuart begins composing Peter Niven's 50th birthday commission piece, for an SATB choral line-up with piano accompaniment. Nina and Matthew Swann get the performers together in Camberwell to record the piece, with splendid results - including a very happy Peter!
July 17th - Serendipity..... The next step in realising the Hawk score comes in Cardiff, recording the world-class choir Serendipity, with Tim Rhys-Evans at the helm. They master the medieval Welsh lyrics (courtesy of Taliesin with some assistance from Marc Evans) and deliver a magical sound for the Hawk music. Many thanks to Tim and Andy Mulligan for putting it all togther, to Kirsten and Sylvia for their brilliant solos, and to Hywel Wigley for his engineering.
July 12th - Bratislava..... Along with Mac (director), Matt (producer) and James (editor), Stuart heads to Slovakia for a fantastic day's recording with David Hernando and the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. The Hawk score suddenly comes to life! See the trip beautifully documented on Hawk's website - www.hawkthemovie.com
May 21st - Orchestra and choir for "Hawk"..... Plans are afoot to record in June with the excellent Bratislava Symphony Orchestra, and the score production receives a further boost in welcoming on board the fabulous Cardiff-based Serendipity Choir to record in July. Winners of the prestigious Cor Cymru, Serendipity are a brilliant new young choir that will be sure to give the film score some Welsh magic!
April 3rd - Littlewoods..... Stuart supervises and conducts (for Mushka Music) the 35-piece orchestra recording at Angel Studios for the hilarious forthcoming ad campaign for Littlewoods, featuring Trinny and Susannah. Look out for it on your TV screens soon!
March 20th - Flight Paths..... The Karrilon Trio - Susan FitzGerald (flute), Alice Pullen (oboe) and Marcus Andrews (piano) give a brilliant premiere performance of Stuart's new piece "Flight Paths" at Radlett Music Club. A second performance is pencilled for September, with a studio recording also in the offing.
March - Hawk takes off..... Stuart finishes a first complete draft of the score for MJ McMahon's beautiful short
film "Hawk". See the trailer on the Showreel Page.
February 22nd - Lucky Star..... The Tempus Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Lev Parikian and the leadership of Sarah Crisp give a breathtaking performance of Stuart's score to the silent film Lucky Star at the Kenneth More Theatre. Juice also sparkle once again in Bitter Suite, and the synchronisation to picture in the film is awesome. The event's generous sponsors and an appreciative audience ensure that St Francis Hospice receives a four-figure sum from the evening.
February 9th - "Underground" wraps..... The finishing touches are applied to Stuart's scorching score for Underground. 86 mins of full-on orchestral music, and two recording days with fifteen musicians make this a very "Intense" production indeed...! Watch this space for news of the film's premiere and release, and for excerpts on the Showreel Page.
February 6th - Carling Piano Octet..... Stuart arranges, records and "stars" as Hand No.1 (of 8!) in a commercial for Carling. His 8-hands-on-one-piano version of the NutRocker will hit our TV screens soon - and appears now on the Showreel Page.
January..... Stuart completes a commercial for Astra (with a fabulous live orchestra at Angel Studios), idents for the True network (UBC Thailand), and for the new BBC quiz-show "Perfect Strangers", hosted by Adrian Chiles, which hits our screens this month.
December 23rd - "Underground"..... Stuart wins a hotly-contested pitch to score Intense Productions'
much-anticipated feature-length fight-movie "Underground", directed by Chee Keong Chueng. January just got very busy...!
December 5th - Collaboration with Richard Blackford..... After a successful meeting with renowned film and
television composer Richard Blackford, Stuart is taken on as orchestrator for various projects to commence in the
November 26th - Premiere of "Endeavour"..... Caroline Franklyn and the Palace Band give Stuart's "Dances from the
Voyages of Captain Cook" a tremendous premiere performance to a sell-out crowd in Highgate. Big thanks to
Caroline and the band for all their hard work in rising to the challenge!
November 8th - Plans in motion for Lucky Star in 2007..... Stuart meets with Vivyan Ellacott at the Kenneth More
Theatre to discuss plans to stage a performance of the score to Lucky Star with symphony orchestra and a
projection of the film. The date is set as Thursday 22nd February 2007. Excerpts from the Tempus recording of the
score are included on the Showreel Page.
November 1st - "Bitter Suite" on BBC Radio 3..... Producers Brian Jackson and Edward Blakeman of Performance On 3
contact Stuart at 7pm, saying that the recording of Bitter Suite (performed by Juice and the London Phoenix
Orchestra) is scheduled to be broadcast. After a (slightly shaky!) live telephone interview with presenter Petroc
Trelawny, Bitter Suite airs just after 9pm, sounds tremendous and is very well received, being highly commended
by Richard Morrison of The Times. Listen to excerpts from Bitter Suite on the Showreel
October 18th - www.stuarthancock.com goes live!..... The website is finished and goes live.
October 17th - "The Father" opens in London's West End..... First performance of the Borealis Production of
Strindberg's The Father at the Courtyard Theatre, Covent Garden, featuring Stuart's atmospheric cello-based
score. The lead actors, Llewellyn St David and Clara Andersson, deliver searing performances in this intense
drama. Runs until Sunday November 12th - catch it if you can! Hear cellist Danny Keane's performance of the
Overture on the Showreel Page.
October 14th - Cotswold Childrens Choir..... Stuart begins work as the official piano accompanist to the
fantastic Cotswold Childrens Choir, under the direction of Jacki Pattenden in Burford, Oxfordshire. Rehearsals
are well underway for their Christmas Concert on 9th December.
October 9th - The Karrillon Trio..... The trio (Sue FitzGerald - flute, Alice Pullen - oboe, Marcus Andrews -
piano) confirm their commission for a new work from Stuart for their concert in March 2007.