Early life and education
Lunn was born in May 1956. His father was a saxophone player in a jazz band.
Lunn graduated from Glasgow University, where he studied 12-tone techniques. He has cited among his musical influences John Cage, Milton Babbit, and György Ligeti, as well as Miles Davis. Lunn was also a member of "systems music" band Man Jumping, an early 1980s "jazz-pop-worldbeat fusion ensemble", where he played bass and keyboard.".
He took a short course in computer music at MIT, and assembled his own computerised compositional system. He first used a Maselec MLA-2 tri-band compressor, with a Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel converter and an Orpheus FireWire interface, before settling on a Maselec MEA-2 analogue equaliser.
He began composing for BBC Scotland in the late 1980s, with Beatrix: The Early Life of Beatrix Potter (1990) and The Gift (1991). His work also includes music for the television series Hamish Macbeth (1995-1997), Lorna Doone (2000), North Square (2000), Hotel Babylon (2006), Little Dorrit (2008), Downton Abbey (2010-2015), Waking the Dead (2011), The White Queen (2013), Shetland (2013), Grantchester (2014), The Last Kingdom (2015), and Belgravia (2020).
He has written several operas. Two of them, Misper (1997) and Zoë (2000) (shown by Channel 4), were written for Glyndebourne. Another, Mathematics of a Kiss, was written for the English National Opera. He wrote the 2006 operetta Tangier Tattoo, with librettist Stephen Plaice, again for Glyndebourne.
- Lunn, John (19 November 2012). Downton Abbey: The Essential Collection. Decca Records. Retrieved 7 February 2021.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
- Lunn, John (13 December 2011). Downton Abbey: Original Music from the TV Series. Decca Records. Retrieved 7 February 2021.CS1 maint: date and year (link)
Lunn has won two Emmy Awards, in 2012 and 2013, both for the Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score), each for an episode of Downton Abbey. He was nominated three other times: Outstanding Music Composition For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special (Original Dramatic Score) for Little Dorrit in 2009; for Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score), for Downton Abbey, Episode 8 in 2014; and Outstanding Music Composition For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special (Original Dramatic Score) for The White Queen in 2014.
His music for Sky TV's Going Postal was winner of Best TV Score in the 2010 RTS Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA and an Ivor Novello award. The BBC adaptation of Dickens' Little Dorrit was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Outstanding Original Score.
- "Composers: John Lunn". Cool Music Limited. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- Manwaring, Kurt (10 September 2019). "10 questions with John Lunn". From The Desk. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
- Eskow, Gary (16 February 2017). "Composer John Lunn". Mixonline. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
- Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 325. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
- Donelson, Marcy (April 2020). "John Lunn : Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
- "At the intersection of Philip Glass and Coldplay: How Emmy-winning composer John Lunn created the sound of Downton Abbey". WFMT. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
- Sillitoe, Susan (11 October 2013). "Prism Sound Helps Composer John Lunn Create His Unique Sound". Mixonline. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
- "Misper". Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "Zoë". Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Archived from the original on 5 April 2012. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
- "Emmy Awards, Nominations, and Wins, John Lunn". Television Academy. 2014. Retrieved 7 February 2021.