As part of the Visiting Artist Series arranged by the Division of Culture and Creativity (DCC), the Music Programme was honoured to be able to invite Mr Paul Archibald of the London Mozart Players to give a talk at UIC. Mr Archibald’s talk, entitled ‘Elmer Bernstein to Dario Marianelli - A Personal Reflection of Performing Music for Film’, was presented on 27 September in the Music Recital Hall (CC-105).

archibald 3Mr Paul Archibald of the London Mozart Players

Mr Archibald gave a fascinating insight into his extensive experiences as a professional musician recording music for many Hollywood movies including Harry Potter, James Bond, Pirates of the Caribbean, Notting Hill and Gladiator. Mr Archibald is a world-class trumpeter who has been a principal player in the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London Sinfonietta, and the BBC National Orchestra Wales. He is currently principal trumpet and Chairman of the London Mozart Players and principal trumpet of the Britten Sinfonia and Orchestra of St John's.

The Programme Director of Music, Dr David John Walters, welcomed everyone before providing a short introduction for Mr Archibald. The lecture began with Musical Arts Teaching Assistant, Ms Zhang Xinxin (Cindy) and Mr Archibald performing ‘Andante et Scherzo’ by Henri Busser. Mr Archibald played the trumpet and Ms Zhang played the piano.


archibald 1

Ms Zhang Xinxin (Cindy) and Mr Archibald performing ‘Andante et Scherzo’ by Henri Busser

After the opening performance, Mr Archibald introduced himself and his extensive background, and then discussed how his career began. The theme song for John Sturges' ‘The Magnificent Seven’, composed by Elmer Bernstein, was played and Mr Archibald explained how he had met the composer early in his career. Mr Archibald discussed how many composers influence each other and noted that Bernstein, in particular, was especially influential. He talked about how Bernstein had a distinctive style in his compositional approach and highlighted how times have changed with regard to working practices compared to today. Mr Archibald also noted how American jazz trombonist, Nat Peck, who played with the famous Glenn Miller, booked him to perform by chance after hearing him in a concert. This led to him then playing a piece of music from the 1980s classic movie ‘An American Werewolf in London’, the first film on which Mr Archibald performed.

archibald 2

Other musical works were played throughout the lecture including ‘Yesterday’ by Paul McCartney in the film ‘Give My Regards to Broad Street’ (in which Mr Archibald makes a brief appearance on camera) as well as a track from the original ‘Batman’ film, composed by Danny Elfman. Mr Archibald also discussed how he worked with the composer John Williams on the second Harry Potter film, ‘The Chamber of Secrets’, which required him to record music without the commonly-used device of a click track. He also mentioned how John Williams, who composed music for ‘Star Wars’, ‘E.T.’ and ‘Indiana Jones’, insists that his musicians should be focused and highly controlled in their playing approach.

archibald 4Ms Xian Yan (Stella), Mr Paul Archibald, Dr David Walters and Ms Zhang Xinxin (Cindy)

The composer Harry Gregson-Williams invited Mr Archibald to play music for the 2000 stop-motion animated comedy film ‘Chicken Run’. The piece he performed was heavily influenced by Elmer Bernstein’s piece for ‘The Great Escape’. Mr Archibald also described his experiences of recording music by James Horner, Jerry Goldsmith and Craig Shepherd and offered helpful advice to any potential film composers in the audience.The talk ended with a Q&A session where Mr Archibald was asked “who inspired you most to play the trumpet?” His response was Maurice Murphy, a British musician who was principal trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1977 to 2007. In response to a question about western classical music, Mr Archibald explained how training to be a musician had helped to give him greater discipline, improved his presentation skills and taught him how to focus. The issue of commercialism in the film music industry was raised and Mr Archibald observed how this is reflected in the ability of large studios to record orchestral music compared to the use of sampled sounds in smaller independent studios. Mr Archibald’s inside knowledge of the movie industry and his wealth of experience in recording and performing were extremely valued by the large audience and his kind offer to come to UIC was greatly appreciated by students and staff alike.

Reporter: Samuel Burgess
Photographer: Samantha Burns
Editors: Deen He, Samantha Burns
(from MPRO)