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Nigel Hess


Nigel Hess studied music at Cambridge University where he was Music Director of the famous Footlights Revue Company. He has since worked extensively as a composer and conductor in television, theatre and film.

Nigel has composed numerous scores for both American and British television productions, including A Woman of Substance, Vanity Fair, Campion, Testament (Ivor Novello Award for Best TV Theme), Summer’s Lease (Television & Radio Industries Club Award for Best TV Theme), Maigret, Dangerfield, Just William, Wycliffe (Royal Television Society Nomination for Best TV Theme), Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (Ivor Novello Award for Best TV Theme and Royal Television Society Nomination for Best TV Theme), Ballykissangel and New Tricks. His score for the feature film Ladies in Lavender, starring Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, received a Classical Brits Nomination for Best Soundtrack Composer, and was performed by violinist Joshua Bell with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Ladies in Lavender was recently voted number 9 in a Classic FM poll of all-time favourite movie scores, and has been in their Hall of Fame since its release.

While Nigel was House Composer for the Royal Shakespeare Company he contributed twenty scores for RSC productions, and highlights from his Shakespeare scores have been recorded and performed by the RPO in concert as The Food of Love, hosted by Dame Judi Dench and Patrick Stewart. Nigel was awarded the New York Drama Desk Award for ‘Outstanding Music in a Play’ for the productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway. His most recent theatre scores have been for Shakespeare’s Globe, London, and have included The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Julietand Henry VIII.

Nigel has also composed much concert music, particularly for symphonic wind band, including commissions from the Royal Air Force and the Band of the Coldstream Guards. Other notable works include the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Classical Brits Nomination for Composer of the Year), commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales in memory of his grandmother, and premièred and recorded by internationally-renowned pianist Lang Lang. Recent commissions include a new ballet based on The Old Man of Lochnagar, a children’s story written by the Prince of Wales in 1980, commissioned and premièred by the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain; A Christmas Overture, commissioned by John Rutter and premièred by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall; and an orchestral version of his choral work Jubilate Deo commissioned by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Current projects include a major feature film, a new stage musical, and a second CD of music for symphonic wind band recorded by the Central Band of the RAF on the Chandos label.

For full credits and details of CD recordings visit