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Composition

Credit: Alice Forbess

Classical Composition

“Oliver Weeks’s Nightlight for Alice weaves together a snatch of Bellini’s Norma and an old blues number into an increasingly glowering lullaby – strange but effective.” – Andrew Clements, The Guardian.

Biography

Oliver Weeks is a British composer, guitarist, pianist and arranger working across a wide range of genres including Western classical & contemporary music, Bengali traditional music, metal, electronica and Rock ‘n’ Roll. After reading music at Clare College, Cambridge he obtained a Ph.D in composition from the Royal Academy of Music (2007).

His work has been commissioned and performed by the City of London Sinfonia, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Endymion Ensemble, the BBC Singers, Royal Academy Soloists and the Mercury Quartet. In 2011-12, Oliver was Cambridge University Musical Society’s inaugural composer-in-residence. He has written music for the theatre in both India and the UK.

Oliver started composing at the age of six, with the ambitious oratorio The Wanderings Of Odyseuss (sic). Growing up with an equal amount of Chuck Berry and Wagner, he fell in love with the latter in the early 80s through a BBC broadcast of the Boulez/Chéreau centenary Bayreuth Ring cycle. He also absorbed 50s and 60s rock’n’roll influences when, as a pyjama-ed toddler, he was brought along to his father’s gigs at various celebrated venues in the South-West of England, including Gladstone Liberal Club (Chippenham), Marden Flexiplastics Social Club (Midsomer Norton), and Timsbury British Legion.

In addition to composition he is a founding member (on piano) of London underground prog metal oufit Astrohenge, and of the band Khiyo with British-Bangladeshi vocalist Sohini Alam. Other session and live work includes work with Pixie Lott, Chrome Hoof, Indian singer-songwriter & ethnomusicologist Moushumi Bhowmik (with whom he formed the band Parapar in 2003). He is also active as a piano rep and guitarist for both opera and musical theatre. He is a prolific arranger with ten years of experience in the music publishing industry, and has created arrangements and transcriptions for numerous publishing houses, educational institutions, professional and amateur ensembles, bands and private clients.

Discography

Release Date Artist Release Title Label Instruments Format Country Catalogue No.
28 April 2015 Khiyo Khiyo ARC Music Guitars, Piano Digital UK
21 Nov 2011 Astrohenge II Eyesofsound Piano, Keyboards CD, Album UK EOSCD037
18 Oct 2010 Pixie Lott Turn it up Louder Mercury Keyboards CD, Album UK & Ireland Mercury – 2752081
11 Oct 2010 Pixie Lott Broken Arrow Mercury Keyboards CD, Single UK & Ireland Mercury – 2753191
21 Jun 2010 Astrohenge Astrohenge Eyesofsound Piano, Keyboards, Violin, Accordion, Vocals CD, Album UK EOSCD31
31 Mar 2006 Matthew Rozeik Matthew Rozeik & Ylid Split Static Caravan Violin Cdr, EP, Limited Edition, Cardboard Folder UK VAN 111

List of works

Orchestral

The white pond

Picc-2.2.2.2(II=cbsn)-4.3.3.1-timp-2perc-hp-strings
Duration: 10’30″
Commission: Cambridge University Music Society
Premiere: 3rd December 2011; West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge; Cambridge University Music Society Symphony Orchestra; Harry Ogg (cond.)

Rogue’s March

2(=picc).2.1(=Eb).bcl.1.cbsn-4.3.3.1-timp-3perc-strings
Duration: 4’30″
Commission: London Philharmonic Orchestra – Brightsparks educational concert season 2009-10
Premiere: 10th November 2009; Royal Festival Hall, London; London Philharmonic Orchestra; David Angus (cond.)

Grmožur

1(=picc).0.1.0-2.0.0.0-pno-strings
Duration: 8′
Commission: City of London Sinfonia
Premiere: 25th March 2009; St. Andrew’s Church, Holborn, London; City of London Sinfonia; Rory MacDonald (cond.)

Shikar

3(II=picc&descant rec, III=picc).3(II=descant rec, III=ca&treble rec). 3(III=bcl).3(II=treble rec, III=cbsn)-
4.4.4.1-asax.tsax-4perc-2gt(II=bgtr)-2hp-pno-fender rhodes-strings
Duration: 13′
Commission: Royal Academy of Music
Premiere: 19th May 2006; Duke’s Hall, London; Orchestra of the Royal Academy of Music; Christopher Austin (cond.)

Galliambics

Viola solo-string orchestra (4.4.2.2.1)
Duration: 10′
Commission: Royal Academy Soloists
Premiere: 29th February 2003; Duke’s Hall, London; Royal Academy Soloists; Lydia Lowndes-Northcott (vla)

Pākhi

On a text by Jibanananda Das
tenor solo-2(II=picc).2.2.2-2.0.1.0-ssax.asax-timp.3perc-hp-strings
Duration: 10′
Commission: Clare College Music Society
Premiere: November 2000; West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge; Clare College Orchestra; Martin Suckling (cond.)

Ensemble

Walking to the Sun (Incidental music)

Texts by Rabindranath Tagore & Moushumi Bhowmik
A collaboration with Moushumi Bhowmik
1 – War
2 – Dure kothay (text by Tagore)
3 – Remembering
4 – In the woods
5 – Amal’s dream
6 – The march
7 – Lullaby (Ghum aay) (text by Bhowmik)
Voice-electronics-cl(=bcl)-ssax(=asax&tsax)-trp-trb-perc-keybd-mand-accordion-vln-cello-DB
Duration: 25′
Commission: Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai
Premiere: 10th August 2010; Prithvi Theatre, Mumbai; Moushumi Bhowmik (voice), Ben Hillyard, Sukanta Majumder & Composer (electronics), various musicians

The Rich Man Being Led to Hell

1(=picc&afl).1(=ca).2(I=Eb&bcl, II=bcl).1(=cbsn)-2.1(=Bbptpt).1.0-3perc-hp-pno-1.1.1.1.1
Duration: 10′
Commission: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Premiere: 1st April 2009; Royal Festival Hall, London; London Philharmonic Orchestra; Clement Power (cond.)

Drumhead Mass

1.0.1.1-0.1.1.0-1perc-pno-1.0.0.1.1
Duration: 4′
Commission: ‘Fresh: Young Musicians Platform’ series
Premiere: 9th June 2005; Purcell Room, London; Kreisler Ensemble; Matilda Hoffman (cond.)

Nightlight for Alice

afl.bcl-trb-pno-1.0.1.1.0
Duration: 9′
Commission: ‘Maxwell Davies, a Musician of our Time’ festival, 2005
Premiere: 20th April 2005; Purcell Room, London; Endymion Ensemble; Patrick Bailey (cond.)

Headless Butterfly

bcl(=cl).bsn-hrn-pno-1.1.1.0.0
Duration: 7′
Commission: Philharmonia Orchestra ‘Music of Today’ project, 2005
Premiere: 17th June 2004; Royal Festival Hall, London; player from the Philharmonia Orchestra; Clark Rundell (cond.)

Cracking Up

1(=picc).1.1(=bcl).1-1.1.1.0-1perc-hp-pno/cel-1.1.1.1.1
Duration: 5’30″
Commission: Commissioned for and released on the CD ‘9’, a sampler of Royal Academy of Music student composers.
Premiere: 7th March 2003; Duke’s Hall, London; Manson Ensemble; Simon Bainbridge (cond.)

Chamber

Piano Trio No. 2

(Work in Progress)

Iele

cl(=Bbcl+Acl+Ebcl+Bcl)-vln-vc-pno
Duration: 15′
Commission: Mercury Quartet for “Radar VII: focus on Romania”
Premiere: 24th September 2013; The Forge, Camden, London; The Mercury Quartet; Vlad Maistorovici (violin), Christian Elliot (cello), Antoine Françoise (piano), Harry Cameron-Penny (clarinets)

The Javelin Quodlibet

String Quartet
Duration: 10′
Commission: London Chamber Orchestra
Premiere cancelled – as yet unperformed

Piano Trio no. 1 (On the Move)

Piano Trio
Duration: 7′
Commission: Omaggio: Luciano Berio Festival, 2004
Premiere: 24rd April 2004; Duke’s Hall, London; Jan Rautio (piano), Mio Kobayashi (violin), Ken Ichinose (cello)

A Rainy Day on Bethnal Green

Horn Trio
Duration: 4’30″
Commission: A Royal Academy of Music workshop with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.
Premiere: 6th February 2002; David Josefowitz Recital Hall, London; Richard Stroud (horn), Emily Steinitz (violin), Matthew Rickard (piano)

Solo Piano

Nightlight

Duration: 2’30″
Commission: The 2004 UK ‘postcard project’ – a call for works for solo piano, designed to fit onto a postcard
Premiere: September 2005; EPTA International Conference, Manchester; Kate Dixon (piano)

The Panther

Duration: 15′
Commission: Cheltenham Music Festival 2005
Premiere: 7th July 2005; St. Andrew’s Church, Cheltenham; Helen Reid (Piano)

Vocal Music

Duhovnicească

On a text by Tudor Arghezi
(Large Orchestra & 3 Contralto soloists – Work in Progress)

During Wind and Rain

On a text by Thomas Hardy
Voice and Piano
Duration: 5’45″
Completed 1st August 2013
(Awaiting Performance)

Sufletul Metalic al Oraşului

On a text by Nichita Stănescu
Countertenor solo-1(=picc.).0.1.1(=cbsn)-1.1.1.0-3perc
Duration: 7′
Commission: Cambridge University Music Society
Premiere: 6th March 2012; West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge; Stephen Craigen (cond.), Oliver El-Holiby (Countertenor)

Look!

On a text by Stevie Smith
Mixed Choir
Duration: 10′
Premiere: March 2003; Marylebone Parish Church, London; BBC Singers

Days

On a text by Philip Larkin
Soprano-guitar-piano-string quartet
Duration: 5′
(Unperformed)

Jibon Jokhon Shukhaye Jay

On a text by Rabindranath Tagore
Mixed choir
Duration: 7′
Premiere: May 2001; Robinson College Chapel, Cambridge; Robinson College Chapel Choir; Composer (cond.)

Nilīma

On a text by Jibanananda Das
Alto solo-soprano sax-temple bells-vln-vla-vc
Duration: 5′
Premiere: 29th February 2000; Clare College Chapel, Cambridge; Composer (cond.), Vanessa Huntley (alto)

Wind Orchestra

The Call of Cthulhu

Picc-4.2.Ebcl.4.bcl.2.cbsn-4.3.4.2euph.1-2asx.1tsax.1bsax-pno-7pc-DB
Duration: 12′
Commission: Cambridge University Music Society – educational concert season 2011-12
Premiere: 12th March 2012; West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge; Cambridge University Wind Orchestra; William Cole (cond.)

Arrangements

Jealous Guy (orchestral arrangements)

Jealous Guy (John Lennon)
Your Cheating Heart (Hank Williams)
Rinse it Out (Sam Swallow)
Voice-piano-1(=picc).2(II=ca).2(I=ebcl II=bcl).1-1.1.1.0-asax-2perc-hp-3.3.3.3.1
Duration: 12′
Premiere: 25th March 2011; LSO St. Luke’s, London; Aurora Orchestra; Nicholas Collon (cond.), Sam Swallow (voice/piano)