'I think the second movement is one of the most beautiful slow movements you can find for the piano.' Lang Lang (on the Piano Concerto)
Nigel Hess (b. 1953) read music at Cambridge University, where he was Music Director of the famous Footlights Revue Company. He has since worked extensively as a composer and conductor in television, theatre and film.
His numerous credits include A Woman of Substance, Vanity Fair, Campion, Testament (Ivor Novello Award for Best TV Theme), Summer’s Lease (Television & Radio Industries Club Award for Best TV Theme), Maigret, Classic Adventure (‘Music from the Movies’ Award for Best BBC Theme), Dangerfield, Just William, Stick With Me Kid for Disney, Wycliffe for HTV (Royal Television Society Nomination for Best TV Theme and ‘Music from the Movies’ Award for Best ITV Theme), and the BBC’s Hetty Wainthropp Investigates starring Patricia Routledge (Ivor Novello Award for Best TV Theme and Royal Television Society Nomination for Best TV Theme). His most recent feature films are Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband directed by Bill Cartlidge, and Ladies in Lavender starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Anjelica Huston and Michael Gambon (Classical Brits Nomination for Best Soundtrack Composer). The score is performed by violinist Joshua Bell with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and was released on the Sony Classical label.
From 1981-1985 Nigel Hess was Company Music Director and House Composer for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and contributed some twenty scores for RSC productions; an album of highlights from his Shakespeare scores, Food of Love, has been recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He was awarded the New York Drama Desk Award for ‘Outstanding Music in a Play’ for the productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway.
He has written extensively for wind band, with ten major works available from Faber Music. These are performed worldwide and regarded as part of the core repertoire for this genre.
Hess has also composed much concert music, particularly for symphonic wind band, including commissions from the Royal Air Force and the Band of the Coldstream Guards. These are performed worldwide and regarded as part of the core repertoire for this genre. They are all available from Faber Music.
His Concerto for Piano and Orchestra was premiered in July 2007, the result of a commission from HRH The Prince of Wales in memory of his grandmother. The soloist was internationally-renowned pianist Lang Lang who subsequently released the work on a UCJ disc. Other recent works include a ballet based on The Old Man of Lochnagar, a children’s story written by The Prince of Wales in 1980. This was premiered by the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain at Sadler’s Wells, London, in October 2007 and revived in by them in 2008. Hess’s A Christmas Overture, commissioned by John Rutter, was premiered by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in December 2007 and featured on Rutter’s A Christmas Festival disc, released in December 2008.