Quills and Queues:

Joby Talbot was born in London in 1971. He studied composition privately with Brian Elias and at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, before completing a Master of Music (Composition) at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama under Simon Bainbridge.

Talbot’s critically acclaimed first opera, “Everest,” was given its premiere in 2015 by The Dallas Opera. In the same year, he was awarded the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse for “The Winter’s Tale.” Future works include a concerto for the acclaimed guitarist Miloš Karadaglić(summer 2018), a Cantata commissioned by Independent Opera for Britten Sinfonia and Britten Sinfonia Voices, a second opera for Dallas Opera, and a third narrative ballet with Christopher Wheeldon.

Talbot is a recent transplant to Ashland and is scoring a piece for the Ashland Independent Film Festival. His composition for the Royal Ballet’s “The Winter’s Tale” will be featured in the film itself, which is playing in Ashland in the new LondonliveinAshland.org screening series at the Varsity Theatre this coming weekend. Talbot will be attending the film this Sunday at the Varsity at 10 a.m., after which he will host a meet and greet at the Black Sheep to talk with any audience members about the show and his music.

JG: Joby, tell us about your musical history?

JT: I started out playing oboe and piano as a kid in London then began to get seriously into composing when I was about 15. I studied at the Guildhall School of Music (also in London) and by this time was playing keyboards in a rock band, touring around Europe while trying to write my classical pieces at the back of the dressing room. I’ve written orchestral pieces, including four commissions for the BBC Proms, an opera for Dallas Opera, two full-length ballets for The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and choir, an hour long a cappella choral piece, “Path of Miracles,” I’ve also written 13 movie scores including, most recently, “Sing,” the animated feature from Illumination Entertainment starring Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johannson and Seth Macfarlane.
JG: What is your involvement in the Ashland Independent Film Festival?

JT: As part of festival’s homage to Milestone Films, we will be playing a live accompaniment to the great Russian silent movie director Evgeni Bauer’s “The Dying Swan” on Saturday, April 24, at 8:15 p.m. at SOU Recital Hall, alongside a trilogy of short films by featured artist Stacey Steers, with new scores by Tessa Brinkmann and Terry Longshore. It’s going to be a memorable occasion. “The Dying Swan” was made in 1916 and is a beautiful and revolutionary piece of cinema. I wrote my score for it back in 2001 as a commission from the British Film Institute and it will be great to revisit it from the piano with Jessica Lambert on violin and Michal Palzewicz on cello.

JG: What upcoming projects would you like to tell us about?

JT: I’m currently working on a new silent film score for LA Opera, composing new music for Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1931 horror masterpiece “Vampyr.” The piece will premiere on Halloween at the Ace Theatre in downtown L.A. After that I start work on a set of love songs for choir, orchestra and soloists for a concert at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London next spring, a new opera for Dallas Opera, and a third full-length ballet for the Royal Ballet. Plus there’s talk of a sequel to “Sing” so it’s going to be a busy few years!
— Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at gillespie.jeffrey@gmail.com.

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