David Pickthall

Essex-born, David was an Academic Foundation Scholar of Brentwood School from 1970-77, then won an Organ Scholarship to Selwyn College, Cambridge, from where he graduated in 1981. Whilst at Cambridge he was taught composition by the late Sir Philip Ledger and Hugh Wood, and the organ by Dame Gillian Weir. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He spent the year 1981-1982 gaining his teaching qualification at London University. A teaching post back at Brentwood School followed, and in 1987 he became Director of Music. Twenty-seven years later he retired from the post of leading a department of three full-time staff and twenty peripatetic music specialists. He was presented with a Civic Award for Services to the Arts in Brentwood in 1997, in recognition of his founding/conducting of the Brentwood Philharmonic Orchestra (an orchestra to which he returns annually each February for a concert of Film and Television Music), and a series of popular jazz programmes for the local community radio station Phoenix FM. Outside of Brentwood School’s walls, he may be found in the recording studio, often in Europe, where he conducts film scores – recent work has been with the City of Prague Philharmonic (two projects for ITV, “The King’s Beard” and “Eddy and the Bear”) and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (“The Wyvern Mystery” for BBC1), whilst his original scores and arrangements have been recorded by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Central Band of the RAF and the King’s Singers, amongst many others. He is proud that he is the musical voice of the villainous penguin in the Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit “The Wrong Trousers”. Other work for the BBC includes conducting the film of the popular children’s series “The Story of Tracy Beaker” and supervising the music for Julian Fellowes’ “Most Mysterious Murders” in 2005. He has recently been working for Channel Four as musical arranger for The Paul O’Grady Show, and conducted the London Symphony Orchestra for the Australian group INXS’ orchestral sessions. David is the composer of two operas and three musicals, one of which – “Ain’t Life Good!” – written originally for Harrow School and starring a young Benedict Cumberbatch, was awarded the Barclays “Best New Musical” Prize after a South Bank performance in 1994. He is published worldwide by Samuel French Ltd. David was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2015, for “services to education and to charity” and was elected a Freeman of the Worshipful Compnay of Musicians in January 2016. Since retirement he has been busy playing the organ throughout Essex and beyond, adjudicating, conducting/arranging and returning to his earlier career - as composer for BBC projects throughout the summer of 2015 and beyond.

For more information, see www.davidpickthall.co.uk.