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Daryl Runswick

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Biography of Daryl Runswick

Daryl Runswick, composer, singer, instrumentalist, broadcaster, educationalist… celebrated his 60th birthday in October 2006 with a concert given in his honour at the Almeida Theatre, London. In addition to pieces – birthday presents – by four of his ex-students, two of Daryl’s works were performed: accidental counterpoints with Sally Burgess and the Smith Quartet, and Island with Malcolm King and Muriel Bérard. Recordings of these works are due for release later this year on the Signum label, together with Flute Sonata played by Wissam Boustany and Douglas Finch. At the party after the concert Daryl performed some of his pop songs in cabaret.

Daryl is currently working on a completely new kind of music, synthesizing every strand of his talent: composing/performing, jazz improvisation, concert music and song. The first fruits of this endeavour, to be heard in his forthcoming one man show, are two extended works, Chips (2006) and Play That Weird Minor (2007). In addition to his singing (and scatting, and rapping) Daryl plays two new inventions of his, both customized bass guitars, a high-strung fretless ‘alto’ and an even higher-strung ‘piccolo’, as well as keyboards, synths, sequenced drums and electronics.

Daryl’s latest major concert work, Maybe I Can Have An Everlasting Love for voice, computer-generated electronics and orchestra, was premiered on 3rd November 2005 at Blackheath Concert Halls, London at a concert to celebrate his ten years as Head of Composition Faculty at Trinity College of Music.

Daryl began his musical life as a Cambridge chorister but quickly moved sideways into the jazz and pop world. He played bass with many international stars as well as running his own jazz groups and touring the world with John Dankworth and Cleo Laine, for whom he wrote many songs. As a composer he spent his 20s and early 30s writing pop songs and jazz instrumentals; his late 30s, 40s and 50s making contemporary concert pieces and opera. This dual speciality (classical/popular) has permeated his career, during which he has worked as a solo improvising pianist, a singer with the pioneering vocal group Electric Phoenix, a double bass player with the London Sinfonietta and the Nash Ensemble, a session musician, an arranger (especially for The King's Singers) a record producer (most recently for Keith Tippett) and has conducted his own film and TV scores; not to mention stints as a broadcaster and lecturer, and his involvement for many years in community music, leading week-long music-theatre summer schools with disabled people.

In addition to his many published works, Daryl Runswick is the author of the acclaimed textbook Rock, Jazz and Pop Arranging, which has been translated into Japanese, German and Korean.

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