Among the ongoing events that continue to make a profound mark on the young decade, the world of music lost one of its brightest lights. In July, composer Ennio Morricone died at the age of 91, leaving behind a vast body of work, much of it cherished by many. Such affection was clear to see in the sincere and diverse tributes to man and music that emerged in the wake of his passing, but it’s evident that his exceptional achievements still merit more than the discourse currently surrounding not only them, but film music composition generally.

There's more to Morricone than spaghetti westerns

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1. Sogno di Volare ("The Dream of Flight")
It's probably no surprise, but the main melody for Sogno di Volare is inspired by the chorales in both Saint-Saëns Organ Symphony and Sibelius' Finlandia. There's something stately and magnificent about that type of block homophonic writing, especially when sung. The Saint-Saëns has the added influence of that massive cathedral organ barreling in at the end of Sogno di Volare!

The music that inspired To Shiver the Sky


People are often fascinated when I tell them I am a professional conductor. Sometimes they do a little imitation of a band director they had back in school, or talk about the time they saw a great conductor at a concert. Once in a while, they ask what train company I work for. But when it comes down to it, the reaction is always a variation on the same theme - “what does a conductor really do?” 

What does a conductor actually do?


In exactly one month I will be 40, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to it. I don't think I've ever felt so secure in my own identity, so comfortable in my own skin. A lot of this feeling is probably just down to getting older and realising what's genuinely important in life, but a massive amount of hard work, a good dollop of luck, and a decent amount of privilege have also played their part. To be honest, the only time I think about my identity these days is when I am filling in funding applications, or taking part in school workshops...

Cheryl Frances-Hoad: music and my identity


On a cool March evening in Lucerne, I walked back to my hotel room after an exorbitantly priced pizza (certainly so for an eighteen year old yet to receive his concert fee) to find myself entranced by the distant sound of a horn call. The mellow tones that enveloped Lucerne’s old style buildings, shimmered across the lake and bounced around the mountains ignited my curiosity as to its source. My quest to find the source led to the eventual parting of yet another precious...

Evolution of the Horn: from shepherd's tool to "soul of the orchestra"