Howard Lindsay Goodall CBE (born 26 May 1958) is an English composer of musicals, choral music and music for television. He also presents music-based programming for television and radio, for which he has won many awards. In May 2008 he was named as a presenter and Composer-in-Residence with the UK radio channel Classic FM, and in May 2009 he was named "Composer of the Year" at the Classical BRIT Awards.
Born in Bromley, Kent, Goodall was educated at New College School, Stowe School and Lord Williams's School and read music at Christ Church, Oxford. He is married to Val Fancourt, who is a classical music agent.
His output of musical theatre works includes The Hired Man (1984), an adaptation of the novel by Melvyn Bragg, which won an Ivor Novello award (1985) and TMA Award (2006) award for Best Musical, Girlfriends (1986), Days of Hope (1991), Silas Marner (1993), The Kissing-Dance (1998), The Dreaming (2001) (both with Charles Hart), A Winter's Tale (2005) and Two Cities (2006). Goodall worked on original music for a new production called 'King Cotton', a co-commissioned stage show by The Lowry and the Liverpool Culture Company. However, he amicably withdrew from the production weeks before the opening for reasons unknown, and "any offers for Goodall's unused music will be gratefully received", according to the 16 September 2007 Sunday Times (page 14). A Winter's Tale was presented during 2009–10 by Youth Music Theatre: UK, while 2010 saw the premiere at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester of Love Story, based on the novella by Erich Segal. The production opened in London's West End (Duchess Theatre) in November 2010, but only played for a limited run of 10 weeks. In 2010 there was also a new professional production of The Hired Man produced by The Octagon Theatre, Bolton which played from 3 June to 4 July 2010.
Goodall has composed incidental music for several popular UK comedy programmes including: Red Dwarf, Blackadder, Mr. Bean, The Thin Blue Line, The Vicar of Dibley, The Catherine Tate Show, 2point4 Children and QI, on which he has also appeared twice as a panellist. It was as an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford that he met the actor Rowan Atkinson and the writer Richard Curtis, his collaborators on several of these projects, including his first break into TV, Not The Nine O'Clock News.
Goodall has a body of choral music to his name (the process of composing one of these works is noted in the book of his Big Bangs series), including "In Memoriam Anne Frank" (2001), "O Lord God of Time and Eternity" (2003) and settings of Psalm 23 (better known as the theme tune to The Vicar of Dibley) and "Love Divine". In September 2008, his Eternal Light: A Requiem was premiered by Rambert Dance Company to choreography by Rambert Dance Company's Artistic Director: Mark Baldwin). The result of a commission from London Musici (Artistic Director: Mark Stephenson) to celebrate its 20th anniversary, Eternal Light: A Requiem was commissioned as both a choral-orchestral-dance piece and a choral orchestral work. The London premiere took place on 11 November 2008 at Sadler's Wells with Rambert Dance Company, London Musici, The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Finchley Children's Music Group and soloists, conducted by Paul Hoskins. Also in September 2008, EMI Classics released the premiere recording of Eternal Light: A Requiem, with soloists Natasha Marsh, Alfie Boe and Christopher Maltman joining London Musici, The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and conducted by Stephen Darlington.
In March 2009, Classic FM released Howard Goodall's Enchanted Voices, a modern exploration of ancient chant, scored for upper voices, cello, organ, handbells and synthesizer. The disc marks Goodall's position as Classic FM's Composer-in-Residence for 2009. A month after its UK release, it became the best-selling specialist choral CD of 2009 there. It subsequently earned a nomination for Classical Brit Album of the Year. Howard Goodall's Enchanted Voices was followed by Howard Goodall's Enchanted Carols (November 2009) and Pelican in the Wilderness (March 2010).
After the chapel at Tonbridge School burnt down in the 1980s, the then Headmaster, Christopher Everett commissioned Goodall to write a piece of music to commemorate the chapel. The idea was that it would be performed in the restored chapel. For this, Goodall wrote the music to Psalm 122. Unfortunately, the chapel was not built in time so instead the entire school performed Goodall's Psalm 122 in Rochester Cathedral. It was not until 2010 that the piece was performed by the entire school in its intended place - the beautifully restored Tonbridge School Chapel, along with the choir from Benenden School.
Goodall was recently commissioned by Truro Cathedral to write a new work for all four of the Cathedral's choirs: Truro Cathedral Choir (boys and men), St Mary's Singers (mixed adults), Cornwall Youth Choir and Cornwall Junior Choir. The piece, entitled A New Heart, A New Spirit, sets a text from Wisdom and Ezekiel in four languages (English, Latin, French and Cornish). It was first performed in the Cathedral on 18 June 2011, along with several of Goodall's other choral compositions.
The 45-minute oratorio, Every Purpose Under the Heaven (The King James Bible Oratorio), was premiered in Westminster Abbey in November 2012 (conducted by the composer). It was commissioned as a gift to the United Church Schools Trust and United Learning Trust from Sir Ewan and Lady Harper, to mark the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. It will be released on a commercial CD in 2012.
As well as presenting the BBC's Choir of the Year, Young Musician of the Year, among many programmes, he has presented six award-winning series of television programmes on musical theory & history, filmed by Tiger Aspect and broadcast on Channel 4:
- Howard Goodall's Organworks (1996) – history of the organ
- Howard Goodall's Choirworks (1998) – history of choral music
- Howard Goodall's Big Bangs (2000) – pivotal events in the history of music (also a book, published by Vintage in 2001, ISBN 0-09-928354-9
- Howard Goodall's Great Dates (2002) – important dates in the history of music
- Howard Goodall's 20th Century Greats (2004) – exploring the divergence between classical and popular music in the 20th century
- Howard Goodall's How Music Works (2006) – analysing the fundamental components of music itself.
- The Truth About Christmas Carols (2008) – a documentary examining the surprising, and often secret, history of the traditional Christmas carol
- Hallelujah! The Story of Handel's Messiah (2010) – celebrates Handel's "Messiah" and looks at its origins and modern arrangements
- Howard Goodall's The Story of Music (2013) – traces the story of music from the ancient world to the modern day.
Goodall has been awarded honorary Doctorates of Music from Bishop Grosseteste University College in Lincoln, and the University of Bolton. The British Academy of Composers & Songwriters gave him its Gold Badge Award for exceptional work in support of his fellow British composers. In 2007, he received the Making Music/Sir Charles Groves Prize for Outstanding Contribution to British Music and was appointed by the UK Government as England's first ever National Ambassador for Singing, leading a 4-year programme (Sing Up) to improve the provision of group singing for all primary-age children.
In April 2009, Goodall was nominated for The Classical BRITs "Composer of the Year" award for Eternal Light: A Requiem, which he won in May 2009, and in July 2009 he was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category "Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special (Dramatic Score)" for his work on the Winston Churchill biopic Into the Storm; which he then went on to win on 12 September at a ceremony in Los Angeles.
He is a member of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA),
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- Gardner, Lyn (28 March 2011). "The Kissing Dance – review". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
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- A New Heart, A New Spirit
- "How Music Works with Howard Goodall". Channel 4.
- Department for Education and Skills
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- "2009 Emmy scorecard". The Los Angeles Times. July 2009. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
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- The London Gazette: . 31 December 2010. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- Founder of UBR (18 May 2009). "British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors". The Unsigned band review. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
- Howard Goodall's official website
- Howard Goodall at the Internet Movie Database
- Howard Goodall, Esq, CBE at Debrett's People of Today
- Youth Music Theatre UK's Homepage
- London revival of Days of Hope
- Howard's page at Faber Music Ltd, his publisher
- Eternal Light: A Requiem – official page
- Howard's page at Classic FM
- Webpage of New College School, Oxford
- How Music Works on YouTube (via Brainpickings)