Dr Brian Morrell

Deputy Head of School of Music and Education

Brian Morrell (1)


Job title: Deputy Head of School of Music and Education

Specialisms: Film music, composition, orchestration, music theory, music context, industry and culture.

Brian (Dip, CertEd, MA, PhD) is a self-taught piano player and has played from the age of four. Brian learned trombone and taught himself how to read music as a teenager before entering Leeds Conservatoire to study arranging and orchestration. He played trombone in various Jazz Orchestras with whom he performed regularly at the Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Nice Jazz Festival and Montreaux Jazz Festival.

As an arranger and orchestrator Brian has participated at the highest level within the music industry. After studying on the Jazz & Light Music course in the early 1980s, one of Brian’s first roles was as staff arranger and musician on the Cruise Liner QE2, after which he worked widely in Europe scoring for a multitude of shows, venues and artists.

He worked as Musical Director and staff arranger at the top London venue The Talk of London, where he provided arrangements for many international artists. In addition Brian has provided arrangements/worked as a session player for numerous artists, including Julie Rogers, Kate Bush, Eurythmics, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Natalie Cole, Dickie Henderson, Sting and many others. He was involved in the musicals Chess, Aspects of Love and Phantom of the Opera. Brian provided arrangements for the BBC’s ‘Noel Edmunds Late Late Breakfast Show’ and ‘Anything Goes’. He travels to New York to supervise the orchestration of musicals.

As a composer Brian’s music has featured in television, radio, film and theatre. He was a major contributor to many terrestrial, cable and satellite channels in the late 1990s and has composed documentary music for Sky, BBC, Channel 4 and other broadcasters (shows/channels include World In Action, Panorama, Dispatches, National Geographic, Discovery). He recently wrote music for a show at the Edinburgh Festival called ‘Everyone should own a Gun’ and composed music for two films (It’s All Happening’ and ‘The Appointment’). Recently Brian worked as Musical Director / conductor for an Indian film recorded in Manchester.

Brian received a distinction for his Master's degree in Composition and Production several years ago and has recently finished the third volume of a series of books entitled ‘How Film and TV Music Communicate’. To date the books have been downloaded 40,000 times and have been read across the world. He is now embarking on a new book entitled ‘How Pop Music Communicates’, which will examine the composition, harmony, arrangement and structure of popular song. His specialist areas are film music, composition, orchestration, music theory, music context, industry and culture. Brian recently completed a PhD on the subject of how music communicates meaning.

See Brian's website for lots of useful film music resources.

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