Composer Will Todd in Ditchling

With no TV to waste hours in front of, local musician Will Todd spent his young life surrounded by music and even taught himself to play piano growing up, which has since developed into a successful career as a composer.


Having recently showcased one of his pieces, ‘M’ from his Symphony of Letters, at the Blue Shed Studio Artists Open House in Ditchling, we caught up with Will to find out a little bit more about ‘one of the UK’s most sought-after and versatile composers’ (Tempo Magazine).


What started as an interest singing in the local church choir in Durham, where Will grew up, soon turned into learning to read music and started off Will’s lifelong work with choral singing.


“My mum and dad had no TV when we were growing up so we listened to loads of music in the house. A very wide range including opera, musical theatre, rock and pop, jazz, folk and early music. I’m sure this has helped me have an interest in all sorts of different types of music. I loved playing the piano and working out tunes by ear.”


Talking about his inspiration when creating news pieces, Will told us: “I always start my pieces at the piano and improvise ideas until I find something that I like. It’s always been like that for me. Sometimes I improvise ideas all day and like none of them! But I’ve learned to be patient and just keep going until something works out. I often have texts to set to music which can also be part of the inspiration.”


If listeners could only listen to one song of yours that defines who Will Todd is what would it be?

“One of the best known choral pieces of mine is a piece called My Lord Has Come which is a short Christmas carol for choir. It’s really simple but people seem to love it and it gets done all over the world. My most recent piece was a new opera commissioned by Welsh National Opera called Migrations.”


What is the best advice you’ve been given and would pass on to any budding musicians?

“Not to look sideways at what other people are doing but to focus on your own skills. Also, remember to enjoy your music making and think ‘playfully’. That way you can stay connected to the childhood part of you that is probably the reason you love music in the first place.”


To find out more about Will Todd’s collection of pieces make your way over to his website or see him performing with his jazz ensemble on November 19th at Arundel Cathedral performing a choral work of his called Passion Music.

by Callum Knowles

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