A Compositional History

I had been taking piano lessons for less than a month when my Nana told me I could have her piano 'after she'd gone'. My mum was a bit more apprehensive - the old chamber grand was my Nana's pride and joy, bought second-hand for her, and hadn't been tuned properly for many, many years. Not to mention, it was huge. In my eyes, however, I'd just been promised a massive toy, so I was more than happy to continue learning my boring scales and arpeggios if it meant one day owning a proper piano of my own.

When it (quickly) became clear that I wouldn't be able to learn piano off of  a tinny-sounding keyboard, my Nana accompanied my parents and I to a music shop to get a proper electronic upright. She studied them, told my parents not to get any that a vast array of sounds included - they would be too expensive, and I would spend all my time playing with the noises instead of practising. I was seven at the time, so of course, she was absolutely correct.

Years passed, and whilst I was getting involved in various youth theatres, I started playing the organ in two local churches. My Nana was delighted, as she used to be an organist as well. I gained an interest in film music, which often led to the two combined - the congregation would get quite used to hearing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme blasted at them at the end of the service.

Finally, my acting and music began to merge together as well - firstly in youth theatre, and then in training. Whilst at Dundee College, I was asked to compose for 'The Last Days of Yegor Bulychev', and together with other actor-musicians, I created three different soundscapes for piano, violin, clarinet and flute. At East 15, I wrote four interludes for piano for 'Three Sisters', which I have since expanded for multiple instruments, and can be listened to here. I would be asked to play live in various productions and even learned how to play the accordion for 'As You Like It'.

It was at East 15 I met Robyn Grant, and together we wrote and developed 'Buzz: A New Musical', which would go on to be Fat Rascal Theatre's inaugural and flagship show. It was biggest musical challenge I'd ever attempted, and before long, we were doing it all over again with 'Puss in Boots' - a task made all the more challenging with the extremely limited time frame in which we were working.

Since then, I have written two more musicals with Fat Rascal - 'Beauty and the Beast - A Musical Parody' and 'Vulvarine: A New Musical', and most recently have provided music for 'Dinner is Coming', the Game of Thrones-themed dining experience at the Vaults in London.

To date, all of my music is written, arranged, orchestrated and produced by me. If you want to hear more of my work, wish to collaborate on a project or even just have a chat, you can get in contact with me here.

© 2019 by James Ringer-Beck.

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