Born: August 4, 1937 in London, England
Died: October 1, 2011
David Bedford was born in London in 1937 of a musical family, (his grandmother was the composer Liza Lehmann, and his mother, Lesley Duff, was a member of the English Opera Group just after the war and was thus involved in several Britten premieres).
He began composing at the age of seven and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Lennox Berkeley. A grant awarded by the RAM in 1961 enabled him to study with Luigi Nono in Venice.
In the late 60s he played keyboards with Kevin Ayers' cult band 'The Whole World', which led to numerous collaborations with musicians from the rock world, most notably in arrangements for Mike Oldfield, Elvis Costello, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Roy Harper, Propaganda, China Crisis, Enya, Billy Bragg and many more.
He has also done orchestrations for the films 'The Killing Fields', 'Supergrass', 'Absolute Beginners', 'Meeting Venus', 'Orlando', and was Choral Coordinator for 'The Mission'. He has written original music for several of the Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense TV series.
Another aspect of Bedford's work is composing for educational purposes - he was appointed Youth Music Director of the English Sinfonia in 1986, and Composer in Association in 1994. His music in this genre ranges from small pieces for pupils with little or no musical knowledge, to 7 school operas. He is in frequent demand for creative workshops and composition projects throughout the U.K. and overseas. His innovative approach has led to such works as 'Seascapes' (1986) and 'Frameworks' (1989), in which students are encouraged to create their own music in the context of a public concert with a professional orchestra - these two pieces have so far involved over 4000 students. His largest major educational piece is 'Stories from the Dreamtime', (1991) for 40 deaf children and symphony orchestra.
For over 30 years he has received commissions from major orchestras, festivals, ensembles and soloists, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, English Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, John Alldis Choir, Singcircle, Electric Phoenix, Endymion Ensemble, Sir Peter Pears, Jane's Minstrels, BASBWE, The Composers Ensemble, The Aldeburgh Festival, Harrogate Festival, Spitalfields Festival, Chelmsford Festival, Huddersfield Festival, Kings Lynn Festival, Norfolk and Norwich Festival and many BBC commissions including 4 for the Proms.
His projects over the last few years have included:
A big project for 2005, 'Over the Wine-Dark Sea', a commission from 'Sounds New' for young adults with special needs from the Orpheus centre, a group of deaf children and chamber orchestra was performed in October 2005 at the Canterbury Festival.
His commission from 'Making Music' 'The Soft Stars that Shine at Night', for a large choral/orchestral work, co-commissioned in 2006 by a large number of choral societies, was performed in 2007 as part of his 70th birthday year celebrations.
His next project for 2007 was the first ever commission for an orchestra of Deaf children 'Gods, Goddesses and magical Creatures, commissioned by Paul Whittaker and Music and the Deaf.
Following that he completed a commission from the Aldeburgh Festival 'Old Joe on the Beach' for a large outdoor community piece in celebration of the festival's 60th anniversary, which was performed in June 2007.
In April 2008 at the Barbican is the first performance of his '8 Beach Boys Songs' for chorus and orchestra, the last 4 of which, and the orchestrations, were commissioned by David Temple for the Hertfordshire Chorus.
In August 2008 is the first performance of a large choral and orchestral work commissioned by Gavin Henderson for the 60th anniversary of the Dartington International Summer School.
David lives in Bristol with his wife and the youngest three of his seven children, aged 13, 11 and 7. His interests include: cricket; science fiction, murder mysteries, films in general and especially horror films, browsing in bookshops, astronomy, ancient history and playing tennis.