Michael Nyman

Press Coverage

Nyman makes LA Time's Christmas list - Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times Music Critic

The British Minimalist Michael Nyman is the subject of an illuminating documentary that is part of a two-DVD Arthaus-Musik set. The second disc contains a terrific live concert by the Michael Nyman band recorded in Halle, Germany, Handel’s hometown. Come December, the month of “The Messiah,” you may be in need of a strong Handel antidote. If so, Professor Nyman’s got the cure. His concert includes the German premiere of his raucous Handel tribute, “The Musicologist Scores.”

Michael Nyman Motion Trio CD review

Audiophile Audition | November 19, 2010

Many people are familiar with the music of Michael Nyman - and its characteristic loud, fast, chugging style - through his film scores. Most American listeners, myself included, first became aware of Nyman through the fascinating, if not somewhat bizarre, films of British art house producer Peter Greenaway, for whom Nyman was his composer of choice.

I admit, I am a big fan. Those films and – of course – his quite different sumptuous score to Jane Campion’s “The Piano” got me to listen to more of Michael Nyman and to appreciate his very unique, quirky, energetic and, occasionally beautiful style. The problem, as I see it, with this set by the Motion Trio is that it should not be one’s first exposure to Nyman’s sound world. The Motion Trio, headed by Janusz Wojtarowicz, is three acoustic accordion players from Poland. They play very well and in a tight ensemble fashion that certainly lends itself to Nyman’s music. On these pieces, they are supported by Nyman’s own piano and the brass playing of Nyman Band regular, Nigel Barr.

All the Nyman “best of” are present including the well known “In Re Don Giovanni” (a sort of Mozart tribute), the “Chasing Sheep is Best Left to Shepherds” and even one of the more poignant set pieces from “The Piano”, “The Heart Asks Pleasure First”. All of the selections are carefully selected by Nyman and are well-played. The package notes indicate that Wojtarowicz approached Nyman about using some of his music for the 7th Kinoteka Polish Film Festival in 2009. Nyman has travelled in Poland and is of Polish descent, providing more cultural and emotional connections for the performers, I suspect. It actually works and sounds well. I just think that the original scoring; with Nyman’s beefy brass playing and kinetic strings is more attention getting, more bold sounding.  With Nyman’s help, the Trio found these pieces that might work best on three accordions.

I do like this album, as I do all Nyman. However, I do believe this disc appeals most to the cognoscenti who are already well acquainted with Nyman. I am not so sure that people who buy this disc as their first ever exposure to Michael Nyman, a very talented man, would become an instant fan. There is nothing to dislike here, I do not believe; just not enough to really get blown away by. So, I do give this particular disc a “conditional” recommendation and do recommend that people should go try one of his better known originals, like “The Draughtman’s Contract” or even (by all means) “The Piano”. As Janusz Wojtarowicz says in the package notes (in “quoting a detractor”), “Michael Nyman’s music is so wonderful it even sounds good on the accordion.”

—Daniel Coombs

Nyman music used in BBC series The Trip

The Trip is a six-part comedy series on BBC Two featuring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and directed by Michael Winterbottom. The series features music from the MN Records release “The Piano Sings.” For more information or to purchase go to mnrecords.com

Nyman to premiere 'Dido. Prologue' in February

It looks like Russia and Britain are building a sort of an “opera bridge”. On one end, Alexander Raskatov has just premiered his opera “A Dog’s Heart” in London, and on the other end, Michael Nyman is rehearsing “Dido. Prologue” in Russia’s Perm city.

“A Dog’s Heart” is based on Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel of the same name. Written in 1925, it was barred from publication until the late 1980s when it finally made its way to theater stages and TV screens. And now its characters have broken into singing. The opera begins as a buffonade and ends as a tragedy, composer Alexander Raskatov said in an interview.

“I sought to convey the horror of the Sharikovs and the like who want to destroy the entire human culture and intellect, that’s why, unlike Bulgakov’s novel, the opera has an unhappy end.”

Raskatov’s “unhappy end” echoes the new project of his British colleague Michael Nyman, the author of soundtracks for Peter Greenaway’s films. His opera “Dido. Prologue” to be premiered at a music festival in Perm in February is an invented story of how a prologue to the first British opera “Dido and Aeneas” by the 17th-century Baroque composer Henry Purcell, which was thought to have been lost, has been found and also about how Henry Purcell was rehearsing his opera about the Trojan war hero Aeneas with students of a boarding school for young ladies in Chelsea and only one professional singer invited to sing the part of Aeneas.

Starring as the Chelsea girls in Nyman’s production are girls from Perm’s Mlada choir. For Aeneas, he invited Peter Nalich, an iconic pop signer who represented Russia at this year’s Eurovision song contest.

Nyman to mentor Berlin's Score Competition

Nyman to mentor Berlin’s Score Competition
Winner will fly to Hollywood for tour of sound studios


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British composer Michael Nyman has been tapped to mentor the Score Competition for composers and sound designers during the 61st Berlin Film Festival’s Berlinale Talent Campus in February.
Nyman composed the scores for “Wonderland,” “Gattaca,” “The Piano” and several Peter Greenaway films including “The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover” and “Prospero’s Books.”

Competish will give three composers and/or sound designers the opportunity to create scores for film excerpts and record them with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg. Winner will travel to Los Angeles for a Dolby-sponsored tour of sound studios.

The ninth Berlinale Talent Campus, an academy and networking platform for 350 selected participants, takes place Feb. 12-17 during the Berlinale, which runs Feb. 10-20.

Composer Michael Nyman to mentor the Score Competitio

Nearly 4000 applications from 141 countries for the Berlinale Talent Campus #9
Composer Michael Nyman to mentor the Score Competition

Composer Michael Nyman, mentor of the Score Competition 2011. © Sheila Rock
“Framespotting – Filmmakers Positioning Themselves” is the name of the game when the doors to the theatre “Hebbel am Ufer” open for young, international filmmakers on February 12, 2011, during the 61st Berlin International Film Festival. Enthusiasm for the Berlinale Talent Campus is going strong, even after 9 years of existence: 3967 up and coming filmmakers from 141 countries applied, with first-time applications from Belize, the Comoros, Brunei, Mali and Mauritania. During the six event days, the Talent Campus offers 350 selected participants an opportunity to learn from prominent Berlinale guests and notable experts, to strengthen their own skills, and to clearly define their creative and strategic filmmaking goals. On top of this, Talents can participate in numerous hands-on training programmes, like the Doc & Script Station, the Talent Project Market, the Editing Studio or the Post-Production Studio, to work with experienced mentors on new film projects and make contacts for the future in an informal networking environment.

Composer Michael Nyman to mentor the Score Competition
The multiple award-winning British composer Michael Nyman will mentor the Score Competition, the Berlinale Talent Campus’ competition for composers and sound designers. Nyman became widely known as a film score composer mainly for his work in many of Peter Greenaway’s films (A Zed & Two Noughts, The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover, Prospero’s Books), as well as for his scores for Wonderland, Gattaca and The Piano, his greatest commercial success thus far. Nyman is considered one of the most innovative and versatile contemporary composers. In addition to scoring films, he has also composed and premiered numerous operas, had musical stints in the games and fashion industries, and made a name for himself as a conductor, critic and director, most recently with his video project NYman with a Movie Camera. “I feel honoured to support the Talent Campus as a mentor, even more so as I still consider myself to be a Talent” says Michael Nyman (*1944). The Score Competition offers three young composers and/or sound designers the chance to create new scores for selected film excerpts and record them with the German Film Orchestra Babelsberg, with final mixing at the Film and Television Academy (HFF) “Konrad Wolf”. The scores will have their world premiere during the Campus. The best score will be selected by a jury, and its composer wins a Dolby-sponsored tour of the most renowned sound studios in Los Angeles.

The Berlinale Talent Campus is an initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival, a business division of the Kulturveranstaltungen des Bundes in Berlin GmbH, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media upon a decision of the German Bundestag, in co-operation with MEDIA - Training programme of the European Union and Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

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