I grew up in the English countryside, far away from the nearest town. As a child, the only source of entertainment was my great-grandmother’s Steinway piano which sat in the corner of our dining room. I took lessons with a local teacher when I was 6, and learnt from her how to read music. Playing the piano every day, I was studying Chopin Nocturnes at 8, and Rachmaninoff Preludes at 12. I loved the music, the technical challenges, the variety, and played everything I could lay my hands on. Meanwhile, this obsession was landing me scholarships to private schools and, when I reached 15, I was recommended to a specialist music school – Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.
Chetham’s is one of the most respected schools for young musicians in Europe, and I found myself surrounded by people who loved music as much as I did. There I could discuss Lyapunov Etudes with other teenagers, study with people who could trace their tutor-lineage back to Liszt, and listen to world-renowned musicians who would visit the school to give concerts. It was magical. When I was 16 I wrote and orchestrated a piano concerto in the style of Rachmaninoff and performed it with the school orchestra. One student jokingly called it “Rach 2 and a half”. (Incidentally, I submitted it for my A-level Music composition component and got 100% – I guess it’s not often a student submits a fully orchestrated piano concerto for a public exam).
My education culminated in being accepted into Oxford where I read Music at Christ Church on an academic scholarship from 2009-2012. At Oxford, I met people who were just as passionate about what they did as I was about music, and I thrived there. Friends introduced me to a variety of things including the Classics (Homer, Plato, Thucydides, etc.) and I ended up writing a piece inspired by the Delphic Hymns of Ancient Greece. It wasn’t all studying, of course, and the parties were just as inspirational. Events in which tailcoat-clad late teens got hammered on champagne whilst riding a Ferris wheel in the grounds of a Neo-Venetian palace were commonplace.
Post-Oxford, I did a course in film music in Scotland and learned about music production. Then I sailed around the world on a cruise ship, first as a cocktail pianist, then as a Classical pianist. I saved money doing this, and invested it in expensive microphones, preamps, samples, computers, etc. with a mind to writing and recording my own music. In 2017, I started a YouTube channel for my compositions (https://www.you…) and it grew surprisingly fast for an unknown piano composer uploading roughly once in a month. By 2018 I’d become a YouTube Official Artist and gained over 10,000 subscribers.
My style has mellowed substantially since my teenage years, and my compositions tend towards the New Age “Peaceful piano” genre – one of my life aims is to have tracks featured on the Spotify-curated “Peaceful piano” playlist. I have experimented with all sorts of mic techniques and piano manipulations to create an ethereal, soft, and dream-like soundworld, and my latest works all feature this. By summer 2019, I hope to have completed my first album in this soft, nostalgic, peaceful, and slightly melancholic style and intend to disseminate it across all online platforms (YouTube, Spotify, Amazon, Apple, etc.) Watch this space!