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'Composers need a role within society more important to that society than organising sound which cause images.'

audio link Pastoral Dance


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It can be no surprise that I ended up the musician I am: a composer and educator. My musical family tree, a direct line from teacher to pupil, can be traced back to 1685 and includes great violinists and teachers like Tartini, Viotte, Rode, Bohm and Hellmsburger. Yet I am strangely not primarily concerned with the top of the tree.

In the last few years I have come to realize that I am already working with the most valuable part of my creative art form: the roots. As a composer and as an educator, for me it is the motivation and development of the artistic spirit in all who seek to learn music that is the most valuable.


A composer can seek to infect people with a personal vision through composition, believing that the message will enrich users' lives; yet as composers we must also realize that our visions can additionally be seen as simply analogous to people seeing images in flames;.. in other words, a natural accident.

For me the composer must inspire users to create, to make those natural accidents happen for themselves. This is why as a composer I work as an eductor, for composers (and all artists) need a role within society more important to that society than people responsible for organising sounds which cause images in others' minds.




I was born in '60s Bristol, and began work as a feelance performer/composer/educator in 1982. I have always had a strong community bias to my working life, having been a tutor and development worker of contemporary instrumental, composition and stage craft skills to young people in inner cities. On a number of occasions I have also estabished groups of musicians to provide essential music workshops in areas lacking that provision.

I have also worked in the theatre. My commissions have included the score for the British permiere production and Independent Newspaper award-winner, of The Heart of a Dog by Bulgarkov.

I work extensively as a composer in education. This has seen me sited in schools, youth clubs, colleges and community centres.


I have held day - week and up to four-year residencies as a composer in the community, working with groups of people aged two to ninety. I have established music departments in special needs education, which currently thrive as I continue to work with children who have learning difficulties and children who are emotionally and behaviourally disturbed.

Through this work I have built a new understanding about what compostion is to me and my role as a composer. Although writing works is important, its not nearly as important as the work I carry out as a composer in education where I am able to facilitate in all kinds of people the ability for them to express themselves in music.

My own compositions are strongly routed in the spirit, atmosphere and history of places and people.

See my list of selected compositions for further details


Selected Works

If I have but one aim it is that music should, and will, be for everyone

Duncan has recently completed a BA hons in music and education with the Open University, and will be starting an MA early in 2001, he is also training to be a counsellor.

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