60 seconds with William Goodchild

From the group that brought you ‘Sounds For Spies and Private Eyes’ comes Cult Fiction Live! Sounds from the Small Screen – a joyous frolic through the jazz and funk-laden world of TV themes and incidental music from the 60’s to the 80’s. Award-winning composer William Goodchild will be conducting the 30-piece orchestra for this event at the Festival (17/03).

National law firm Ashfords, who are supporting the Festival, caught up with William to find out more.

You’ll be conducting a 30-piece orchestra for the ‘Cult Fiction Live!’ event. Can you tell me a little bit more about the cult classics you’ll be playing and why you think they are so popular with audiences?

It’s going to be an incredibly fun evening for the audience. We’ve got this amazing array of 20 themes which are taken from television and film music from the 60s, 70s and80s. There’s going to be music from Star Trek, Mission Impossible, The Avengers, Parkinson and The Persuaders. I think the music has remained so popular with audiences because they are such distinctive, enduring themes and they have such a strong connection with great shows. These shows were watched by millions every week and I think the theme tunes became embedded with the shows. They’ve become part of our musical DNA. At the heart of this music is jazz arrangement and performance and it’s that energy and feel that comes across with these pieces of music.

How important is the Bristol Jazz and Blues festival for Bristol’s musical profile? How has it evolved over the years?

I’ve gone along to the festival each year but in 2014, I was there as a performer conducting a show with the Kate Williams trio and Bristol Ensemble. We did a show called ‘Bill Evans and the Impressionists’. It was fantastic to be involved. One of the things that is really outstanding about the Festival is it changes our perception of jazz and blues. You tend to think of jazz as happening in the backs of bars and small clubs, but the festival has created an incredible series of events using the Colston Hall as a central point. You’ve got these wide opportunities; a variety and range of styles, and different genres – I think that’s very attractive for an audience. There is something for everyone. Great venue, great music and I think the word has got around so each year more people know about it and come along. Also, you’ve got opportunities for local players, national players and international players and that mix is so important for the musical life of the city.

You composed music for a range of films and television programmes, how different is that to conducting a live orchestra?

Composing is a writing and producing activity. Particularly if you’ve produced film music, you’re working alongside a director and editor and working through the edit. That can often be, for the large part, quite a solitary activity. Conducting is the performing element. It’s a great deal more sociable so it’s nice for me to have that combination of solitary work in terms of writing and producing, and then working with live musicians on stage.

What projects do you have lined up next?

I’m working on a series with Icon Films for Discovery at the moment which is called ‘Mighty Rivers’, with Jeremy Wade. I’m also working on an independent short film called ‘Bus stop’, which is being produced by Vanessa Bailey, and then with the Bristol Symphony Orchestra we have various concerts coming up. We have one on 24 March at St George’s which is called ‘Brief Encounter’, and then in the summer a fantastic project with Get the Blessing – jazz meets Bristol Symphony. I’m also working with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as an associate conductor and also with CoMA, – Contemporary Music For All. It’s very busy with a lot going on, but it’s great to work with such a wide range of musicians.

Cult Fiction Live! is on Saturday 17 March at 9pm at Colston Hall.



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