Composing and arranging

In my early TV days (see More about me) I was commissioned to do some large-scale arranging and orchestrating, which I have always enjoyed.  I was also a keen composer as a student, studying with David Spence-Lyons at Cambridge Tech. and with my Director of Studies, Richard Marlow, at Cambridge (Composition was an obligatory major part of the Cambridge Music Tripos in those days).  I also had some sessions with Professor Stanley Glasser while I was teaching at Goldsmiths’ College in the 1980s. 

Now, alas, I am too busy to compose, except for my annual one- or two-page Christmas Card offering, as my friends will know.  I am full of plans to write more, and have actually managed one movement of a double wind quintet (playable separately as two quintets, or together as a decet)  three more movements to go…

I still take great pleasure in arranging:  I orchestrated the late Andrew Worton-Steward’s powerful and moving Requiem (recorded on Decca 436 778-2, scores available from , where you can also view and listen to sample pages).  

I am a member of the British Music Writers’ Council (formerly the Arrangers, Composers and Copyists’ Section of the Musicians’ Union), and of the British Association of Composers, Arrangers and Songwriters.  I have worked as a freelance professional copyist, formerly by hand (music and text) and now using Sibelius™ software.  

I now mostly arrange for my own amusement, for chamber groups, for specific occasions (which may include a gathering of seven or more bassoons!).  One such occasion was a mini-tour with a wind octet plus a solo flute (Ben Pateman), for whom I arranged Massenet’s Mediation from Thaïs.  I have plans for a suite of lesser-known Christmas carols for wind decet… 

2 Comments on “Composing and arranging”

  1. David Simmons Says:

    Following the death of Andrew Worton-Steward’s sister, I am now in possession of a number of rand new CDs of Andy’s Requiem. I will be selling them for charitable causes. I can be contacted on 0772 505 4389. David Simmons (a long time friend of Andrew)

    • jonathanburton Says:

      Dear David,
      Thanks for letting me know — most kind of you. Sad about Andrew’s sister, whom I remember meeting.
      I was quite proud of my orchestration of the Requiem — a privilege to do it for Andrew, who was a special person (and composer).
      Good luck with the sales. Of course I have the CD but if you find yourself with unsold copies left over, please let me know.
      All best,

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