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GEORGE FENTON

George Fenton

Birth name George Richard Ian Howe
Born 19 October 1950
London, England

George Fenton (born George Richard Ian Howe; 19 October 1950) is an English composer best known for his work writing film scores and music for television such as for the BBC series The Blue Planet and Planet Earth.

Fenton was born in London and attended St Edward’s School in Oxford where “he learnt his music” from Peter Whitehouse. He has no further formal training in music. Fenton’s involvement with St Edward’s continued as an adult and he has been a governor of the school since 1998.

Initially Fenton worked as an actor, getting an early break in 1968 with a part in Alan Bennett’s first West End play Forty Years On. He had some success as an actor in the early 1970s appearing in the film Private Road, in Alan Bennett’s first television play A Day Out directed by Stephen Frears, and in the soap opera Emmerdale Farm.

In 1969 Fenton tried his hand as a recording artist with a cover of The Beatles song Maxwell’s Silver Hammer and recorded piano for the folk group The Peelers on their Polydor LP “Banished Misfortune”. In 1973 he dabbled in band management helping to get the folk-rock band Hunter Muskett a recording contract with Bradley’s Records.

While working as an actor Fenton was frequently asked by directors to play an instrument and he decided on a career switch to composing music.

In 1974 Fenton received his first major commission, as composer and musical director for Peter Gill’s theatre production of Twelfth Night by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Throughout the rest of the 1970s and early 1980s Fenton worked frequently as a composer for theatre productions. He continued to collaborate regularly with Peter Gill. Between 1974 and 1981 Fenton composed for 9 of Gill’s productions; 4 of these were at the Riverside Studios theatre where Gill was appointed artistic director in 1976, while the following 3 were at the National Theatre after Gill became Associate Director in 1980.

During this period Fenton also worked regularly at the Belgrade Theatre, composing for 3 of their productions in 1976 and another 3 in 1978, and in 1981 he collaborated with Adrian Noble on 3 productions at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.

Fenton has composed for a number of notable wildlife television programmes, often collaborating with the wildlife broadcaster David Attenborough and nature documentary filmmaker Alastair Fothergill. He started on the BBC’s long-running series Wildlife on One and Natural World, and continued with specials such as Polar Bear.

He has spoken of how much he likes composing for wildlife programmes. In 2012 he said with reference to The Blue Planet: “The minute I heard the title I was sold. I just thought it was so great that I turned down the offer of doing another film in the States and flew straight back home.”

Since 1990 he has written the music for a number of acclaimed big budget wildlife series.

The Trials of Life (1990)
Life in the Freezer (1993)
The Blue Planet (2001)
Deep Blue (2003) (feature-length version of The Blue Planet)
Planet Earth (2006)
Earth (2007) (feature-length version of Planet Earth)
Frozen Planet (2011)
His track record in this genre has placed him firmly as the BBC’s composer of choice for its flagship wildlife programmes

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

1983 Nominated Best Original Score for: Gandhi
1988 Nominated Best Original Score and Best Original Song both for: Cry Freedom
1989 Nominated Best Original Score for: Dangerous Liaisons
1992 Nominated Best Original Score for: The Fisher King
BAFTA Awards[edit]
1981 Nominated BAFTA TV Award Best Original Television Music for: Shoestring (Also for: Bloody Kids, Fox)
1982 Won BAFTA TV Award Best Original Television Music for: Bergerac (Also for: The History Man, Going Gently, the BBC news theme)
1983 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Score for: Gandhi
1985 Nominated BAFTA TV Award Best Original Television Music for: The Jewel in the Crown
1987 Won BAFTA TV Award Best Original Television Music for: The Monocled Mutineer
1988 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Score for: Cry Freedom
1989 Nominated BAFTA TV Award Best Original Television Music for: Talking Heads
1990 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Original Film Score for: Dangerous Liaisons
1991 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Original Film Score for: Memphis Belle
1991 Nominated BAFTA TV Award Best Original Television Music for: The Trials of Life
1994 Nominated BAFTA TV Award Best Original Television Music for: Life in the Freezer
1996 Nominated Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music for: The Madness of King George
2002 Won BAFTA TV Award Best Original Television Music for: The Blue Planet
2006 Nominated Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music for: Mrs Henderson Presents

Emmy Awards

2002 Won Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for a Series for: The Blue Planet -Seas of Life: Ocean World
2005 Nominated Primetime Emmy Outstanding Music Composition for: Pride
2007 Won Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition for: Planet Earth – From Pole to Pole

Golden Globes

1988 Nominated Golden Globe Best Original Score – Motion Picture for: Cry Freedom
2000 Nominated Golden Globe Best Original Score – Motion Picture for: Anna and the King
2000 Nominated Golden Globe Best Original Song – Motion Picture for: Anna and the King

Grammy Awards

1984 Nominated Grammy Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special for: Gandhi
1989 Nominated Grammy Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television for: Cry Freedom

Ivor Novello Awards

Nominated Best Film Score for: Anna and the King
Nominated Best Film Score for: Ever After
Won Best Film Score for: Shadowlands
Nominated Best Film Score for: Final Analysis
Won Best Film Score for: Cry Freedom
Nominated Best Film Score for: The Company of Wolves
Won Best Film Score for: Gandhi
Nominated Best Original TV Music for: The Blue Planet
Won Best Original TV Music for: The Monocled Mutineer
Won Best Original TV Music for: The Jewel in the Crown
Nominated Best Original TV Music for: No Country for Old Men
Nominated Best Original TV Music for: Omnibus
Nominated Best Original TV Music for: Fox
Nominated Best Original TV Music for: Shoestring

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia