PAUL LEWIS was born into a family of professional musicians in Brighton, England, in 1943. As a child he was fascinated by history and ancient buildings, reluctantly learning the piano from the age of nine. At twelve he saw the Shakespeare films of Laurence Olivier with Walton’s music and immediately realized he had to be a composer. He purposely avoided all formal training, choosing instead to leave school at fifteen and enter music publishing to find out how the music business worked from inside. From the age of nineteen his short orchestral pieces were recorded as production library music and found their way into the cinema newsreels of the day, and at twenty he became Assistant Musical Adviser to ABC Television, one of the larger British Independent Television companies. Within a few months he had composed his first score for a major TV drama, since when he has scored over 150 series and one-offs as well as being the subject of a half-hour ITV documentary. His TV work ranges from high drama with Orson Welles, Peter O’Toole, Christopher Lee and Celia Johnson, to international award-winning children’s comedy - (“Woof!”) - by way of Benny Hill and Monty Python! Many of his early library compositions are still sought after and can be heard in current popular series such as "Spongebob Squarepants" and "Antiques Roadshow." In 1997 Lewis was declared one of Britain's "Legends of Light Music" in Denis Norden's BBC Radio 2 series of that name, and in 2011 his music was featured twice in BBC Radio 2 and 3's "Light Fantastic - the Best of British Light Music" festival. Lewis has also produced a catalogue of over eighty published concert works ranging from concertos, orchestral overtures and string suites to chamber music and compositions for solo instruments, notably for his favourite instrument, the harp. Several harp works, flute pieces, a bassoon and piano work and his “Concerto Burlesco” for bassoon and small orchestra are included in the Associated Boards and Trinity/Guildhall Examination syllabuses. He has conducted entire concerts of his own music including world premieres of newly commissioned works in America, New Zealand and Turkey. A selection of his concert works can be found in various CD series' alongside the music of other English composers such as Arnold, Delius, Holst and Vaughan Williams, and are broadcast around the world, with regular airings on Classic FM Radio in England and Radio NZ Concert in New Zealand. Lewis has also released a CD of themes and suites from his television scores, “Three Decades of TV Themes,” conducting the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, and “Serenade and Dance,” a CD of his harmonica chamber music with soloist James Hughes, both in the Campion Cameo British Composer Series. A CD of the original soundtrack recording of his large-scale orchestral score for the 1972 HTV series "Arthur of the Britons" was issued by Silva Screen in 2013 and he is currently working on a CD of his solo harp works with the charismatic international soloist Gabriella Dall'Olio. For four years after meeting in 2007, Lewis and his wife soprano Sharon Elizabeth divided their time between England and New Zealand, and in addition to his many composing commitments in both countries, Lewis is Sharon Elizabeth’s piano accompanist in everything from operatic excerpts to very naughty cabaret! They have performed at arts festivals in New Zealand and the UK, with regular seasons in the Napier Art Deco Weekend, Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival and Brighton Fringe Festival. The soprano part in Lewis’s score for the 2009 BBC TV documentary “Napoli, City of the Damned” was written for Sharon Elizabeth, as were the vocal parts in “Legends of Rotorua” and “Jazz at the Movies”, and together they have recorded a CD of popular songs from the 1920s/30s and cabaret songs by Lewis from Sharon Elizabeth’s one-woman show “Forget-Me-Not” and another of banned and risque songs of the 20s/30s from Sharon's show "Forget-Me-Not Wears the Trousers." 2013, Lewis's 70th birthday year, saw premieres of his "Norfolk Suite" for strings at the English Music Festival in Oxfordshire and "The Sunken Ballroom", a mini-tone poem inspired by the wreck of the West Pier, Brighton, commissioned by the Sussex Symphony Orchestra, in Arundel Cathedral, as well as the recording of "Legends of Rotorua", a 45 minute work commissioned and performed in New Zealand, with soprano soloist Sharon Elizabeth and taonga puoro (Maori native instruments) virtuoso Horomona Horo, together with narrator and small ensemble, and "Pink and White Terraces" for flute and harp and taonga puoro, another NZ-inspired work, for international CD release. Lewis’s parallel life has been the study and pursuit of mediaeval and renaissance art and architecture in England and Europe. He has restored three houses of the period using ancient building methods, culminating in the fourteen-year recreation of an early Tudor courtly interior at the splendid courthouse built by Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII, at Martock in Somerset. Lewis and his wife now live in a beautiful Tudor timber-framed house near the sea in Sussex. The spectacular rediscovery of the remains of Richard III in a Leicester car park in 2012 was a cause of celebration for Lewis, who, since having been inspired to become a composer at the age of twelve by LaurenceOlivier's film of Shakespeare's "Richard III", has held a lifelong fascination with the true character of this greatly maligned king. The discovery inspired Lewis's "Fanfare for King Richard III" for brass and percussion, the premiere of which he conducted in York Guildhall on March 26th 2015 to coincide with Richard's reburial in Leicester. This in turn led to a commission for a 23-minute work, "Threnody for Violin: The Most Famous Prince of Blessed Memory" for a concert in Richard's honour in Middleham Church as part of the English Music Yorkshire Festival in September 2015.
"I have never met anyone like her, she is just extraordinary; such an entrepreneur, fantastic musician, willing friend, generous spirit and an incredible composer." Eleanor Turner 2016 Fran Barsby is a British harpist known for her passion and innovation. Beginning the harp 15 years ago, Fran has played at venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, St Johns Smith Square, Birmingham Town Hall, Chichester festival theatre and more. Her solo and ensemble career with groups such as the International Harp Ensemble, Aurumite (flute and harp duet), and various orchestras has taken her around the breadth of Europe. For the last year Fran has been Pilgrim Harps official harpists and enjoys playing in venues and showcases around the UK for the harp company. Fran has competed and won many competitions including being awarded musician of the year and scholarship in 2011 by Sussex County Music Service. "Fran is our Pilgrim Harp whirlwind! she has so much passion and enthusiasum for everything harp! She is a consummate performer and superb teacher. Everything Fran does, is done with such drive. It is going to be interesting to see where it takes her" - Pilgrim Harps Currently embarking on a mission to create more resources for not just harp students but also harp teachers, Fran is always searching for more ways to inspire harpists everywhere. April 2015 brought the release of a new set of Harp tuition books for students of all ages, parental help guides and advise for teachers. As managing director of PoppyHarp Publishing and Director of the Future Blend Project, Fran is exploring the possibilities of helping other young musicians inspire and realise their dreams through publishing their ideas. "Fran is a versatile, enthusiastic and passionate musician, and she has never failed to bring a smile to our patients." - Clare Murphy (Music coordinator Heatlands Hospital) Not only has Fran been a dedicated private and school teacher (Kings High School for Girls, Warwick Prep School and The Blue Coat School Birmingham) for the last 6 years but an active musician in the community, working in hospitals, schools and hosting art and music community projects. Most recently Kimichi School Mural Project, holding local workshops and receiving mural entries from the entire breath of England. Fran loves to encourage the creation of new music and has loved being involved in the Young Composers Project, alongside musicians and composer Kirsty Devaney. The project hopes to inspire and introduce children to write music and explore instruments they would not usually have access to. "The project brought art and music into the lives of children that did not have access to it and pulled together children from around Britain sharing their love of art!" - Sally Alexander. (Headteacher Kimichi School) Fran was awarded a scholarship at Birmingham Conservatoire. Fran's musical studies have included tuition from Catherine White, Charlotte Seale, Louisa Maria Cordell and Anne Hughes Chamberlain. Through masterclasses and courses and tuition Fran has also studied with Gabriella Dall'Olio, Imogen Barford, David Watkins, Park Stikney, Elenor Turner and Skaila Kanga. "all of Fran's work, whether performing or teaching, is characterised by 150% commitment and enthusiasm. She performs with emotional intensity and a beautiful sound, and her teaching work equally benefits from her passion for sharing the joy of music with everyone." - Catherine White
Updated biography comping soon.
Amy Turk is a harpist working throughout the south of England. She has more than a decade of experience performing at high profile concerts, events, functions and wedding ceremonies, and has toured extensively throughout the UK. With a wide range of musical interests, she can play pieces from any genre or time period to suit the special requirements of the occasion. Amy's fascination with the harp began when she was six years old, and from the age of seven she was fortunate to be taught by the charismatic Ann Hughes-Chamberlain, herself a pupil of the legendary Lily Laskine. From the very beginning, Amy won the hearts of her audiences with her passion and honesty, playing both at intimate gatherings and at large events. During her teens she became a junior scholar at the Royal Academy of Music, and won awards at numerous music festivals. Amy grew up with a love of a wide variety of music thanks to her parent's record collection, and could be found listening to Grieg or Rachmaninoff as readily as Genesis, Led Zeppelin or Dire Straits. In her teens she became enthralled by transcription, arranging, composition and music technology, and spent much time performing and recording with her brother, drummer/guitarist Ben Turk, in various projects including power metal band Sorcerer’s Spell, and their own duo project Ben & Amy, under which they released two surrealist pop albums, Science (2007) and The New Food To Eat (2009). As a graduate Amy completed a Masters degree with distinction at the Royal Academy of Music, under the tutorship of Karen Vaughan, former co-principal of the London Symphony Orchestra. Having consolidated her skills at the Academy, Amy now arranges pop, rock, film and video game music for the harp, and explores her fascination of guitar based music by writing percussive contemporary acoustic solo harp works in the style of modern acoustic guitar icons such as Andy McKee and Jon Gomm. Her work is available to view on YouTube.
Notable work and performances include:
Performed at the National Trust Petworth Prom, to an audience of 8000, 26th June 1999 (with the Hindhead Harpists).
Performed at the Royal Albert Hall, London, December 2004 (with the Surrey Harp Ensemble (Now the International Harp Ensemble). Programme included a premiere of music arranged for harps by Amy.
Performs regularly as a harpist for Woking Symphony Orchestra, since 2006. Performances with WSO as a soloist include Mozart's Flute and Harp Concerto K299, and Debussy's Danses Sacrèe et Profane.
Selected as the only UK harp finalist for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra competition 2011, performing the Handel Harp Concerto (1st mvt), and excerpts from Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky), and Verdi's La Forza del Destino.
Performed alongside well regarded folk and contemporary acoustic artists including Julie Felix, John Renbourn, Robin Williamson, Thomas Leeb, Trace Bundy, Pierre Bensusan, Jon Gomm and Chris Wood.
A video of Amy performing her transcription of Andy McKee's harp guitar piece Into The Ocean has received over 30,000 views on YouTube to date, and an endorsement from the original artist on Facebook. See the video here.
Performed as a session harpist for various projects, including a Christmas album by comedy duo Amateur Transplants; also consulted, wrote collaboratively and performed in sessions for symphonic metal band Season's End and power metal band Sorcerer's Spell.
Project Director - Fran Barsby Photography by David Rann (Fotofilia Studios) Copyright Future Blend Project 2014
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