Jocelyn Pook

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Jocelyn Pook
Born (1960-02-14) 14 February 1960 (age 63)
Birmingham, England
Occupation(s)Composer, viola player

Jocelyn Pook (/ˈɒslɪn ˈpʊk/, rhyming with "book"; born 14 February 1960)[1] is an English composer and viola player.[2] She is known for her scores for many films, including Eyes Wide Shut, The Merchant of Venice and The Wife.


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 the band 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[3] 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,[4][5] Mark Knopfler,[6] The Stranglers,[7] The Cranberries,[8] This Mortal Coil,[9] Nick Cave, Divine Comedy , Paul Weller,[10] Ryuichi Sakamoto,[11] Michael Nyman and Laurie Anderson,[12][13] and in 1991 appeared in Derek Jarman's film Edward II.[8]

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”,[14] which incorporates a fragment of an Orthodox Liturgy played backwards and lyrics sung (or chanted) in Romanian, underscored the masked ball sequence.[15][16] Pook's score for Eyes Wide Shut received a Chicago Film Award and a Golden Globe nomination.[17]

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.[18] 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[19][20] 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[21] starring Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater, which won the 2019 Music & Sound Award for Best Original Composition in a Feature Film.[22]

Pook was nominated for a BAFTA for her score for Channel 4's The Government Inspector[23] and, in April 2018, she won a BAFTA for her music for the 2017 TV film version of King Charles III (Dir: Rupert Gould).[24] She wrote the score for Netflix documentary series The Staircase directed by Jean-Xavier Lestrade.[25]

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.[26] She was commissioned to write a short opera, Ingerland,[27] 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.[28] 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.[29]

Pook won a second British Composer Award in 2012 for her soundtrack to Akram Khan's dance production DESH.[30] In June 2014 she composed music for English National Ballet's Glastonbury Festival debut on the 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.[31]

She won an Olivier Award in 2008 for the National Theatre's production of St Joan (Dir: Marianne Elliot).[32] 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.[33] 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.[34]

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.[35] 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.[36]


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.[37]

Awards and honours[edit]

  • Music and Sound Award (Best Original Composition, 2019) for the Wife
  • Bafta (Original Music, 2018) for King Charles III
  • 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
  • British Composer Award (Multi-Media, 2003) for Speaking in Tunes
  • ASCAP Award for Eyes Wide Shut


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 – Dust – For the dancework of the English National Ballet (choreographed by 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]


  1. ^ "Birth registration". FreeBMD.
  2. ^ "Untold Things". Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Home - Wise Music Classical". Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  4. ^ Phil Johnson (13 June 1999). "Eyes wide shut and ears wide open". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Jools Holland - The Best Of Jools Holland (1998, CD)". 3 September 1998. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  6. ^ Michele Kirsch (5 July 1996). "What's with all the fiddling about?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  7. ^ David Walker (20 June 1997). "Stranglers 21st anniversary concert Royal Albert Hall, London". The Independent. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  8. ^ a b Beamish, Dinah (2020). "Electra Strings". Dinah Beamish. Archived from the original on 20 November 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  9. ^ "This Mortal Coil - Blood - Albums - Reviews". 26 October 2018. Archived from the original on 28 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Interview with composer and violinist Jocelyn Pook". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  11. ^ "JOCELYN POOK | Mesto žensk". 13 October 2019. Archived from the original on 28 October 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Client Directory – Musicians Answering Service". Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Jocelyn Pook | Participants | Kosmopolis". 23 January 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Kubrick's Approval Sets Seal on Classical Crossover Success : Pook's Unique Musical Mix". The New York Times. 27 October 1999. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  15. ^ Phil Powrie; Robynn Jeananne Stilwell (25 September 2017). Changing Tunes: The Use of Pre-Existing Music in Film. Routledge. ISBN 978-1138273238.
  16. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Eyes Wide Shut". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  17. ^ "Eyes Wide Shut | Golden Globes". Archived from the original on 1 August 2019. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  18. ^ "Entertainment | Terfel leads Classical Brits nods". BBC News. 19 April 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  19. ^ "Jocelyn Pook Discography at Discogs". Discogs. Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  20. ^ "Jocelyn Pook - Caótica Ana (CD, Album) | Discogs". Discogs. Archived from the original on 25 July 2019. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  21. ^ "Jocelyn Pook: The Wife (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) - Cool Music". 22 August 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  22. ^ "Music+Sound Awards 2019 winners revealed - M Magazine". Archived from the original on 7 February 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2019.
  23. ^ "2006 Television Craft Original Television Music sponsored by Sebastian McLean International | BAFTA Awards". Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Original Music - JOCELYN POOK, King Charles III". 18 February 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Jocelyn Pook scores 'The Staircase' (Netflix) - Cool Music". 19 June 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  26. ^ "Archive | The Ivors Composer Awards". Retrieved 23 April 2020.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ John O'Mahony. "Jocelyn Pook on her football opera, Ingerland | Music". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  28. ^ O'Mahony, John. "Operas about wags? Why not, says the Royal Opera House". The Guardian, 10 June 2010.
  29. ^ [1][dead link]
  30. ^ "Archive | The Ivors Composer Awards". 3 December 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2020.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "English National Ballet - She Said - Sadler's Wells Theatre". Archived from the original on 27 April 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  32. ^ "Olivier Winners 2008". Archived from the original on 25 September 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  33. ^ "KING CHARLES III – Rehearsals begin for Wyndham's Theatre revival | | - London Theatre Tickets". 18 August 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Tales of transformation: transgender plays at Edinburgh festival | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  35. ^ "Proms 2019 Prom 49: The Lost Words - BBC Proms". BBC. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  36. ^ "Jocelyn Pook Scoring Lauren Greenfield's 'The Kingmaker'". 28 August 2019. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  37. ^ 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.
  38. ^ "Jocelyn Pook". Songlines. April–May 2013. p. 10.

External links[edit]