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Michael J McEvoy

Photo by Peter Saunders

Michael J McEvoy (born August 29, 1961, in Camden County, New Jersey) is an American screen composer, orchestrator and multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, bass, viola).[1][2] He began studying music as a child and his music education developed quickly after his family relocated to London, England in 1973. McEvoy attended the William Ellis Boys Grammar School in London and was a member of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra, attending the Centre for Young Musicians Saturday music school studying Viola and Piano. McEvoy went to the Leeds College of Music but eventually left to perform with saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith, in his band Big Chief.

His most recent film score is Richard Loncraine's Finding Your Feet starring Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall released in February 2018.

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1980sEdit

He worked as an apprentice studio engineer at Matrix Studio in London where he met legendary African percussionist, Reebop Kwaku Baah (Jimmy Cliff, Traffic, Can) who became a musical mentor. He became an experienced session musician, writer and arranger, working with producer Adam Kidron on a range of projects including albums by Delta 5, Orange Juice, Scritti Politti, and Ian Dury. In 1988 he met the No.1 Pop group Curiosity Killed The Cat and joined the group for their second album Getahead as a co-writer and keyboard player. In 1989 he scored his first feature film, Vroom, (directed by Beeban Kidron starring Clive Owen and David Thewlis, 1989) followed by Bearskin in 1990 featuring Tom Waits.

1990sEdit

He was signed to Sony Music Publishing as a songwriter from 1990–1994 during which time he wrote songs with Soul II Soul for their album Volume II: 1990 New Decade and soul diva Teena Marie ("Since Day One" on Ivory). He was Musical Director on tours with Soul II Soul and Steve Winwood, playing keyboards, Hammond organ and guitar. During this period he recorded extensively in the studio, arranging strings on several Soul II Soul tracks, co-producing the James Taylor Quartet album Supernatural Feeling and playing keyboards and guitar on the hit record by Mark Morrison, "Return of the Mack" (1995). His involvement with Steve Winwood began in 1994 when Winwood decided to reform Traffic. The group embarked on an 88-date tour of the US and Europe including performing at Woodstock '94. One of the original musicians in the group, bass player Rosko Gee, recommended McEvoy who he had worked with previously.

Film and TV workEdit

Throughout the 90s McEvoy scored a number of documentaries for channels in US and UK: PBS, A&E, C4, ITN and Discovery. Many of McEvoy's long form documentary work has been with director Gary Johnstone, including Channel 4's BAFTA-winning Huw Wheldon Best Arts Programme, Without Walls: J'accuse, ITN Factual's Battle of Hood and Bismarck and Einstein's Big Idea for the PBS Nova series. Other notable documentaries include BBC's Storyville: French Beauty directed by Pascale Lamche. During this period he was nominated for regional Emmys in the US for 'The Ryman: Mother Church of Country Music' and 'Tennessee Yearbook' winning the latter in 2002.[3]

In 2003, McEvoy attended The Royal College of Music where he was the PRS Sir Arthur Bliss Memorial Scholar[4] and gained a MMus in Composition for Screen. On graduating in July 2005 he was awarded the Joseph Horovitz Prize for Screen Composition, the first time it had been awarded since 2001. McEvoy then took on the role of Area Leader for the Screen Composition at The Royal College of Music, a post he held from September 2005 until August 2008.

In 2007 he worked closely as an orchestrator and co-writer with DJ and producer Paul Oakenfold on the score for an award-winning Japanese anime feature Vexille, directed by Fumihiko Sori and the following year Overture Pictures' Nothing Like the Holidays directed by Alfredo De Villa. In 2008 McEvoy worked with filmmaker Richard Linklater on Me and Orson Welles. McEvoy wrote original music, coached Zac Efron in ukulele[citation needed] and had an acting role playing Orson Welles' musical director.

In 2010 McEvoy scored two Independent UK features, Forget Me Not and Just Inès. Other film music credits include a jazz track (under the pseudonym 'The Freddie Carleone Quartet') used in feature Wild Target, a song co-written with Mary Leay 'Take me as I Could Be') in the film The Decoy Bride and additional music for the movie Wild Card.

Recent film work includes string arrangements on music cues and songs for the film and album project David Brent: Life on the Road, and the score for Finding Your Feet directed by Richard Loncraine for Entertainment One, released worldwide in February 2018.

Television work has included the title music for Series 3 of the British music TV series Live From Abbey Road, the score for a 20 part Nickleodeon TV series Summer in Transylvania, series 4 and 5 of the UK BAFTA-nominated BBC series Dani's House and Series 5 'Young Dracula' on CBBC. He also scored the music for the documentary series for National Geographic titled Alien Deep. In 2016 McEvoy composed the music on 2 part ITV/PBS/Masterpiece Theatre drama Dark Angel, about the life of Victorian serial killer Mary Ann Cotton.

2018 documentaries included The Jazz Ambassadors, a BBC4/PBS/Arte/ZDF co-production, The Queen's Coronation in Colour and Queen of the World for ITV/Oxford Films and HBO. McEvoy also composed the original score to Churchill and the Movie Mogul, premiered at BFI in January 2019.

Solo recordingsEdit

His third album The Long Way Home, was released in March 2014 on his Rezzonator Music label.

Previous albums include Terra Cognita and Night Sea Journey.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Michael J. McEvoy, multi-instrumentalist and composer: Something Else! Interview". 2015-10-23.
  2. ^ "Michael J McEvoy - MusicBrainz".
  3. ^ https://emmynashville.org/files/2013/05/Emmy-Winners-1-31.pdf
  4. ^ Sir Arthur Bliss Memorial Scholar

External linksEdit