Jocelyn Pook

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Jocelyn Pook
Born (1960-02-14) 14 February 1960 (age 60)
Birmingham, England
OccupationComposer, pianist, viola player
Spouse(s)Dragan Aleksic

Jocelyn Pook (/ˈɒslɪn pʊk/; born 14 February 1960) is an English composer, pianist and violist.[1]


Pook graduated in 1983 from London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she studied the viola with David Takeno and piano with Carola Grindea.


Pook took part in ABC's Lexicon Of Love World Tour and appeared in the Julian Temple/ABC movie Mantrap, continuing with a period of recording and performing with artists including Massive Attack, PJ Harvey, Peter Gabriel and as a member of The Communards for their three year life. She also performed in this period as musician/actor with experimental theatre companies Impact Theatre Co-operative and Lumiere & Son, as well as in several productions with The National Theatre.

As a composer her early works were mainly for dance and she wrote scores for DV8 Physical Theatre, O Vertigo Danse, Wayne MacGregor, Phoenix Dance Company, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance[2] and more recently Akram Khan Company and English National Ballet. She worked on several DV8 Physical Theatre shows including Strange Fish which won a Prix Italia Award for Music.

Pook was a member of composer Jeremy Peyton Jones’s post systems music ensemble Regular Music, and recorded their albums for Rough Trade and Century XXI. She co-founded neoclassical chamber quartet Electra Strings alongside Australian violinist Sonia Slany. The Electra Quartet recorded, arranged and performed with many artists including Jools Holland[3] [4], Mark Knopfler[5], The Stranglers[6], The Cranberries, This Mortal Coil[7], Nick Cave, Divine Comedy , Paul Weller[8], Ryuichi Sakamoto[9] , Michael Nyman and Laurie Anderson[10][11], and in 1991 appeared in Derek Jarman’s film Edward II.

As a solo recording artist, Pook released several albums, including Deluge (Virgin Records 1997), Flood (Virgin Records 1999) and Untold Things (RealWorld Records 2001 - 2013). These also featured several singers she works regularly with, notably Melanie Pappenheim with whom she has collaborated with on many projects.

Her career as a film composer took off when Stanley Kubrick heard her album Deluge and asked her to score his film Eyes Wide Shut. The piece Masked Ball,[12] which incorporates a fragment of an Orthodox Liturgy played backwards and lyrics sung (or chanted) in Romanian, underscored the masked ball sequence.[[13][14] Pook's score for Eyes Wide Shut received a Chicago Film Award and a Golden Globe nomination.[15]

Pook's score to Michael Radford's film The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino featured countertenor Andreas Scholl and was nominated for a Classical Brit Award.[16] Other notable film scores include Brick Lane (Dir: Sarah Gavron), Heidi (Dir: Paul Marcus), Time Out (L’Emploi Du Temps, Dir: Laurent Cantet), Julio Medem’s Caótica Ana[17][18] and Room in Rome, and a piece for the soundtrack to Gangs of New York directed by Martin Scorsese.

In 2018, she composed the soundtrack for The Wife[19] starring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater, which won the 2019 Music & Sound Award for Best Original Composition in a Feature Film.[20]

Pook was nominated for a BAFTA for her score for Channel 4’s The Government Inspector (Dir: Peter Kosminsky)[21]., and in April 2018 she won a BAFTA for her music for the 2017 TV film version of King Charles III (Dir: Rupert Gould).[22] She wrote the score for Netflix documentary series The Staircase directed by Jean-Xavier Lestrade.. [23]

Pook wrote several concert, music theatre and opera pieces as well as touring with "The Jocelyn Pook Ensemble".

In 2002 she was commissioned by The Proms to write a piece for The King's Singers, Mobile, in collaboration with Andrew Motion. In 2003 she won a British Composer Award (Currently named the Ivors Composer Awards) for her music-theatre piece Speaking in Tunes [24]. She was commissioned to write a short opera, Ingerland,[25] for ROH2 (the contemporary producing arm of London's Royal Opera House) which was performed in the Royal Opera House's Linbury Studio Theatre in June 2010.[26] In December 2012 her symphonic song cycle "Hearing Voices", exploring experiences of mental illness, featuring Melanie Pappenheim with Charles Hazlewood conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra was premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.[27]

Pook won a second British Composer Award in 2012 for her soundtrack to Akram Khan’s dance production DESH [28]. In June 2014 she composed music for English National Ballet’s Glastonbury debut on the iconic Pyramid Stage performing Akram Khan's First World War-themed Dust, broadcast on BBC2. Her most recent ballet for English National Ballet, M-Dao choreographed by Yabin Wang, premiered in 2016 at Sadler’s Wells.[29]

She won an Olivier Award in 2008 for the National Theatre’s production of St Joan (Dir: Marianne Elliot)[30] Other theatre work includes the 2014 play King Charles III by Mike Bartlett which premiered at Almeida Theatre, transferred to West End’s Wyndham’s Theatre and then to Broadway, New York.[31] Pook wrote the score for National Theatre of Scotland’s award-winning Adam which premiered at Edinburgh International Festival in 2017 and featured a 120-strong, international digitally connected trans choir.[32]

In 2019, Pook was commissioned by The Proms to write a new piece for Prom 49: The Lost Words. "You Need To Listen To Us" sets words from speeches by environmental activist Greta Thunberg to music [33]. She also composed the soundtrack for The Kingmaker, a documentary about the controversial political career of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, directed by Lauren Greenfield.[34]


In November 2019, along with other public figures, Pook signed a letter supporting Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn describing him as "a beacon of hope in the struggle against emergent far-right nationalism, xenophobia and racism in much of the democratic world" and endorsed him in the 2019 UK general election.[35]


Studio albums[edit]

  • 1997 – Deluge
  • 1999 – Flood
  • 2001 – Untold Things


  • 1997 – "Blow The Wind" – Virgin Records
  • 2003 – "Sacrum" (12-inch) – Additive

Albums with ensembles[edit]

Live theatre and Dance[edit]

  • 2018 – Memorial – For Chris Drummond, the director of 'Memorial'
  • 2017 - Adam- For National Theatre of Scotland
  • 2016 - Macbeth - For Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • 2014 - King Charles III- For Almeida Theatre
  • 2014 - Lest We Forget (Dust)- For the dancework of the group Akram Khan
  • 2013 - Itmoi - For the dancework of the group Akram Khan
  • 2013 - Bench - For MODERNE MEISJES
  • 2011 – Desh – For the dancework of the group Akram Khan
  • 2006 - King John - For the Royal Shakespeare Company

Soundtracks (film and TV)[edit]

Various collaborations[edit]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Music and Sound Award (Best Original Composition, 2019) for the Wife
  • Bafta (Original Music, 2018) for King Charles III
  • British Composer Award nomination (Stage Works, 2012) for DESH
  • Special Mention of the Jury, Karlovy Vary Film Festival (Best Music, 2011) for Room 304
  • Olivier Award (Best Music and Sound Design, 2008) for St Joan
  • ASCAP Award for Brick Lane
  • BAFTA TV Award nomination (Best Original TV Music, 2006) for The Government Inspector
  • Classical BRIT Award nomination (Soundtrack Composer, 2005) for The Merchant of Venice
  • British Composer Award (Multi-Media, 2003) for Speaking in Tunes
  • ASCAP Award for Eyes Wide Shut
  • CFCA Award nomination (Best Original Score, 2000) for Eyes Wide Shut
  • Golden Globe nomination (Best Original Score – Motion Picture, 2000) for Eyes Wide Shut
  • OFCS Award nomination (Best Original Score, 2000) for Eyes Wide Shut


  1. ^ Untold Things
  2. ^ Jocelyn Pook's homepage at Chester Music
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  8. ^,3605,448636,00.html
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  12. ^ Kubrick’s Approval Sets Seal on Classical Crossover Success: Pook's Unique Musical Mix – International Herald Tribune
  13. ^ Changing Tunes: The Use of Pre-Existing Music in Film by Phil Powrie, Robynn Jeananne Stilwell
  14. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Eyes Wide Shut". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  15. ^
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  17. ^ Albums of Pook
  18. ^ Caótica Ana.
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  25. ^ Jocelyn Pook on her football opera, Ingerland
  26. ^ O'Mahony, John. "Operas about wags? Why not, says the Royal Opera House". The Guardian, 10 June 2010.
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  35. ^ Neale, Matthew (16 November 2019). "Exclusive: New letter supporting Jeremy Corbyn signed by Roger Waters, Robert Del Naja and more". NME. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  36. ^ "Jocelyn Pook". Songlines. April–May 2013. p. 10.

External links[edit]