Philip Lawson (composer and arranger)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Philip Lawson (born February 19, 1957) is a Grammy award-winning British composer and arranger, mostly of a cappella and sacred music. For 18 years he was a baritone with the King's Singers and the group's principal arranger for the last fifteen years of that period.[1] In 2009 the group's album "Simple Gifts", on which Lawson arranged 10 out of 15 tracks, won the Grammy award for "Best Classical Crossover Album".[2] In February 2012, he left the King's Singers to concentrate on his writing career.

Background[edit]

Philip Lawson was born in Crawley, West Sussex, England, and attended Hazelwick Comprehensive School. He was not from a musical family but a chance meeting introduced him to the boys' choir of Worth Church which sparked his interest in music. He went on to study Music at York University under Wilfrid Mellers[3] and to sing counter-tenor in York Minster choir, under Francis Jackson.[4]

Singing career[edit]

Lawson switched from counter-tenor to baritone in 1978 at the age of 21. He moved to London upon graduating and worked for 3 years as a soloist and with choirs including The BBC Singers, The Taverner Choir, Opera Rara and the choirs of St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Southwark Cathedral.[5]

From 1982 to 1993, Lawson was a Lay Clerk in Salisbury Cathedral Choir under Richard Seal and from 1989 was Director of Music of Chafyn Grove Preparatory School. During this time he also performed many times with The Sixteen, the English Concert and CM90, and worked as pianist and arranger for a local dance band.

In June 1993, Lawson successfully auditioned for the part of second baritone with The King's Singers, replacing founder-member Simon Carrington. In 1996 he volunteered to fill the vacancy for first baritone, and continued to sing this part until his departure in February 2012.[6]

Composing and arranging[edit]

Lawson contributed over 50 arrangements to the repertoire of The King's Singers.[7] He has 10 arrangements on the group's Grammy winning album "Simple Gifts", recorded in 2008 at the studio of Status Quo lead guitarist Francis Rossi.[8] The album won the Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album at the Grammy Award Ceremony held in Los Angeles in February 2009.

Lawson also wrote the lyrics to "Born on a New Day", the highly successful Christmas version of the King's Singers best-selling hit arrangement of "You are the New Day".

Lawson is also a composer of choral music in his own right with more than a hundred and fifty published works, and has a busy schedule of commissions from choirs and a cappella groups. Most of his works are in print with Hal Leonard Corporation in the USA, but he also has works published by Schott, Boosey and Hawkes, Walton Music, Peters Edition, The Lorenz Corporation, Morningstar Music, Pavane Publications, Alliance Music, Banks Music, Encore Publications and Schoolplay Productions.

Teaching[edit]

Philip Lawson teaches choral singing, composing and arranging, working with choirs and a Capella groups in Europe and the USA, and on an individual basis with young composers and arrangers.[citation needed] He is on the staff of the Vocal Departments of Wells Cathedral specialist music school and the University of Bristol. In 2014 and 2016, he was one of two lecturers at the European Seminar For Young Composers held in Aosta, Italy, sponsored by the Italian national choral foundation Feniarco, and by Europa Cantat. He has been described by Choir & Organ magazine as a "choral polymath"[9]

Discography[edit]

Philip Lawson appears on all King's Singers recordings from 1993 to 2012:[10]

As Second Baritone[edit]

  • English Renaissance
  • Sermons and Devotions
  • Ligeti Nonsense Madrigals (part of the Sony Complete Ligeti collection)
  • Spirit Voices (includes guest artists Bruce Johnston, Mike Love, Midge Ure, Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and James Warren)

As First baritone[edit]

CDs

DVDs

  • A workshop video
  • From Byrd to the Beatles (live at Cadogan Hall)
  • Live at the BBC Proms – Midem award 2010 – Best Concert DVD
  • Joy to the world

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official website biography
  2. ^ http://www.grammy.com. List of winners 2008
  3. ^ University of York List of Graduands, 1979
  4. ^ Official website CV
  5. ^ Official website CV
  6. ^ King's Singers Official Website. Former singers section.
  7. ^ King's Singers Official Website. Former singers section.
  8. ^ King's Singers Official Website."The Inside Story"
  9. ^ Choir & Organ, July/August 2013, Rhinegold Publishing.
  10. ^ King's Singers Official Website.CDs/DVDs