Harry Escott

b. 1976

British

Biography



Harry Escott, is best known for his scores to films such as Shame, Hard Candy, A Mighty Heart and Shifty. His collaborations with directors such as Michael Winterbottom, Nick Broomfield, Steve McQueen and Clio Barnard have greatly influenced his approach to composition, encouraging a focus on the capacity that musical sound has to convey meaning and emotion. This focus on the potential for music to function as storyteller is a common theme that threads through all of his work.

Born in London, his musical education began as a chorister at Westminster Cathedral and he went on to complete his studies at The Royal College of Music and Oxford University, studying composition under Robert Sherlaw Johnson and Francis Pott.

He has composed the scores for several award-winning films such as the BAFTA winning Poppy Shakespeare, Michael Winterbottom’s The Road to Guantanamo (Berlin Silver Bear), Steve McQueen’s Shame (Venice 2011 film festival winner) and Clio Barnard’s BIFA winning The Arbor. He received a coveted BIFA nomination for his scoring of Shifty in 2008 and last year completed the score to the director’s 2nd feature Welcome to The Punch. This year, Harry was delighted to work with Clio Barnard again for her second feature, The Selfish Giant, which won the Europa Cinemas Best European Film award at Cannes and is due to be released this Autumn.

Away from the world of films, 2011 saw Harry returning to his roots as a cathedral chorister with a commission from the choir of St. Brides Church, Fleet Street. The result was O Viridissma Virga, a seven movement work for choir and chamber ensemble that meditates on the Nativity from an entirely female perspective. "an instant classic, beautifully crafted… Mary’s growing sense of foreboding for the torments awaiting her infant son is achingly captured and powerfully portrayed in Escott’s pungent writing.” Stephen Pritchard The Guardian.

In 2012, Harry worked with the poet Lavinia Greenlaw on a sound installation, designed for train station forecourts, called Audio Obscura. It premiered in Manchester Piccadilly station as part of The Manchester International Festival and it won the 2012 Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

Harry is a visiting lecturer at Trinity College of Music and frequently gives talks at schools and universities across the UK. He is passionate about inspiring young composers to discover the often-inaccessible world of film scoring and was a guest speaker at the British Film Institute for an event that focused on music for the London Film Festival last year.

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