Adrian Sutton trained at London University Goldsmiths College. Best known for his score for the smash-hit War Horse playing in London's West End, the rest of the UK, the US, Berlin and shortly the Netherlands, he is also the composer of two other scores hit National Theatre productions, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Coram Boy. The latter ran twice at the National Theatre in London and on Broadway, while Curious Incident will shortly re-open at the Gielgud Theatre in London and on Broadway in 2014.
War Horse has become far and away the most successful show ever mounted by the National Theatre, picking up a clean sweep of five Tony awards in 2011. Adrian received a joint Drama Desk award and Olivier nomination for his work on the show – a score that draws on the British orchestral heritage of Vaughan Williams, Holst, Walton and Britten among others.
His War Horse Suite, a 20-minute symphonic poem derived from the score for the show, was given its world premiere by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in June 2010.
Adrian's other work for theatre includes Melly Still's productions of Nation and The Revenger's Tragedy, in which he also performed nightly as a violinist/violist, and Tom Morris' production of Newsnight: The Opera at London's BAC. Many years of TV, radio and film work includes Chris Morris' Jam, three series of BlueJam and the BAFTA-winning short film My Wrongs.
His recent children's concert opera The Griffin and the Grail was premiered in December 2013 at Cadogan Hall by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, choirs, soloists and narrator.
Other concert works comprise orchestral and chamber pieces.
Interview with Adrian:
How did you get into composing?
I was a member of a youth string orchestra in South Africa in the 1980s, so music for stringed instruments was a prominent feature in my musical make-up. When I was 13 I remember my first composition experiments were aimed at that medium. I also had a big interest in studio-based music making (multi tracking and overdubbing). Once I got to university, I started writing a lot more. And after leaving university, I teamed up with someone who worked a lot in music for TV, commercials etc. - so writing became a daily task. It all led from there.
What inspires you to write?
Oh, the same as most composers - a deadline! :-) But also, I guess curiosity about finding something undiscovered or surprising. I think the most interesting art is the stuff that finds new or unexpected ways of looking at otherwise familiar things.
What made you agree to being part of this project?
The appeal of restrictive resources. A solo instrument operates in a very defined universe of sound and technique, and it's more creatively liberating to explore what's possible in that narrowly-defined universe. Complete freedom to do anything you like actually leads to what you might call 'choice paralysis'.
If you had no constraints of time and money, what would you compose next, and where would you go to write it?
Probably an opera, though I also like to think there's a violin concerto in me somewhere.. maybe one day. As to where.. somewhere warm and sunny, and without distractions!
If you could meet any composer from any point in history, who would it be, where would you take them, and what would you ask them?!?
William Walton. A decadent lunch at Villa Cimbrone at Ravello. Everything.