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Howard Goodall

NB The following profile has been written using information at Howard Goodall's website http://www.howardgoodall.co.uk and from other sources such a Wikipedia. The information has been presented in the context of a concert which includes works by Howard Goodall'.

Prolific Composer in Touch with People

Howard Goodall CBE was born in Bromley, Kent in May 1958. He was educated at New College School, Stowe School and Lord Williams's School and read music at Christ Church, Oxford. He is a prolific composer, having written a large body of work: choral works, stage musicals, and scores for film and TV. He is also a well-established and distinguished broadcaster, having presented programmes on music for BBC2, Channel 4 Television and Classic FM. He is married to Val Fancourt, a classical music agent. They have worked together on music projects, notably at the time of the composition of his famous 'Eternal Light: a Requiem' when she approached him, as an agent, suggesting that the choir of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford sing at the first performance of his work. Howard Goodall composes in the classical mode, but is very ready to see the value of modern popular music. He is a modern classical composer who has adapted and responded splendidly to the musical needs and interests of all people in the late 20th Century and early 21st Century. Goodall was musical commentator for the V and A exhibition 'David Bowie is' in March 2013 and for the exhibition 'Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes' in September 2010.

Where Howard engages directly with students, he gives thorough and honest answers to their (invited) questions. An example is given on his website, where he discusses how, when composing his 'Eternal Light: a Requiem', he set about working with other artists and musical directors in the choral and dance disciplines, and how he finally formed his view of what a requiem should be, namely a work giving solace to the bereaved. (He was not happy with some of the harsher and more judgemental text from earlier Requiems.)

Howard Goodall was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for his services to music education

Music for TV

Howard Goodall composed the theme and 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', Two point four Children and QI. (He has appeared twice as a panellist on QI.) When he was an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford, he met the actor Rowan Atkinson and the writer Richard Curtis, and this association led to collaboration on several TV projects.

The London Olympics Year

For the Regatta celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, Howard was commissioned to write a contribution to a suite of music being composed by a group of the UK's leading composers. It is a 21st century tribute to Handel's Water Music.
At the Olypics event, Howard 's Arrangement of 'Chariots Of Fire' was played by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, and for this event the orchestra included Rowan Atkinson as a 'Mr Bean like' character, who seemed to have only one note to play. His behaviour and apparent boredom with his part caused the world to laugh.

Commemoration of the Start of the First World War

Howard Goodall contributed two choral items for the August 4th commemoration of the beginning of the First World War at St Symphorien Military Cemetery near Mons, Belgium which was broadcast live on BBC2 in 2014..


Howard Goodall has been commissioned by a wide range of organisations to write music for special events and commemorations. For example:-

Awards and Recognition

In addition to his CBE for services to Education, quoted above, Howard has received many awards and recognition as follows:-

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