Gary Carpenter


Composition - professor of composition
Research Programmes - Professor of Composition

Composer, musical director, arranger and orchestrator working regularly with the UK’s leading ensembles and for film

Writes for a variety of mediums including writing for the stage in opera, musicals and radio drama

Gary studied composition under John Lambert at the Royal College of Music. He has lived in Holland and Germany and has written four operas, five musicals and a radio music drama–The One Alone–with Dame Iris Murdoch as well as animated and live action film scores, several ballets (mainly for Nederlands Dans Theater) and a large amount of concert music including a horn concerto for Stephen Stirling and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and Sonatinas (a concerto for alto saxophone and chamber orchestra) for Christian Forshaw and Ensemble 10:10.

He has been musical director and/or arranger-orchestrator on many films including The Wicker Man (1973) and The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. His Van Assendelft’s Vermeer for clavichord won the British Clavichord Society Composition Competition (2004) and was shortlisted for a British Composer Award (2005), whilst his Azaleas for harp, violin and cello received a Victor Salvi Award in Venice (2004) and won the British Composer Award (2006) in the chamber category. He has also won prizes in Monaco and Vienna and received bursaries and awards from the Arts Council and the Holst and Gulbenkian Foundations.

A portrait CD, Die Flimmerkiste, is released on NMC. His Songs Of Sadness And Piety for voices, saxophone, organ & percussion appears on Christian Forshaw’s CD Renouncement, and his Marking Time for basset clarinet appears on Mark Simpson’s Prism CD, also for NMC.

Recent works include The Listening Project Symphony (Radio 4, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, 2012 – nominated for Prix Europa 2013), Fred and Ginger (London Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Harding, 2011), Bassoon Concerto (Alan Pendlebury, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko, 2011), Piano Trio (Fournier Trio, Wigmore Hall 2011, Royal Philharmonic Society Prize nomination 2012) and Niederau (2011) which its commissioner, Tempest Flute Trio, have performed over 30 times both here and abroad. His SET - Concerto for Tenor Saxophone and Orchestra was premiered in Manchester with Iain Ballamy (sax), Martin France (drum kit) and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by HK Gruber (February 2014). The Food Of Love, a sequence of 12 Shakespeare songs in four books for choirs and piano commissioned by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, are being premiered to celebrate the anniversaries of the Shakespeare’s birth (1564/2014) and death (1616/2016).

In a new departure, Gary arranged and directed Satie In Blue, an evening long entertainment for big band first performed in Manchester (June 2014).


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