LA 12 PM | NY 3 PM | UK 8 PM
The Practical Arranger with Robin A. Smith, moderated by John Altman
How it is to be a practical arranger. Turning inspiration on a dime and to any genre to serve the artists and producers.
Grammy Award Nominee 2022 for best Arrangement Composer, Orchestral Arranger, Conductor and Performer. Credits include: The 2 Cellos, Enrique, Rod Stewart, Mike Oldfield, Stjepan Hauser, Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Goldie, Kanye West, Musical Director for the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony
I love arranging in styles from Classical to Dance. The idea of creating something new with the textures of an orchestra or programmed has always fascinated me. Working with Tony Visconti, Legendary producer of David Bowie; T-Rex and Roxy Music was pivotal. I first met Tony when he was producing Thin Lizzy and I was employed as a keyboard player but he quickly recognized my scope and within a short time I was recording with orchestras as the arranger. The first album for Elaine Paige was an unforgettable experience where I was given a clean slate to create arrangements with a live rhythm section. That turned out to be ‘Stages” a pivotal album for Elaine and it opened my eyes to the fact that I could use all my abilities whether with individual musicians or mass choirs and orchestras. Utterly brilliant. We worked together over the next years with Linda McCartney; Marc Levoine; The Moody Blues and so many more. Tony is an amazing man and as a producer makes everyone work with ease and at the top of their abilities. With Greg Walsh I arranged for the legendary artist, Lucio Battisti; Paul O’Duffy; Swing out Sister; Pete Walsh – Alphaville and Stevie Wonder. Producers, Don Reedman and Nick Patrick have given me a huge opportunity to utilize all my abilities as an orchestrator and programmer with projects ranging from Classic Rock to the current albums with the RPO including Elvis, Roy Orbison and most recently Johnny Cash.
I have composed for many artists across all genres from Classical to Jungle. Although I had a classical background I’ve always particularly loved Jazz and Funk. I have written for so many artists from The James Brown Band; Earth Wind and Fire; Gladys Knight; Al Jarreau; Philip Bailey and Phil Collins to pop bands like Five Star; Junior Giscombe and Alison Limerick. My passion for the classical world has allowed me the pleasure of composing for Andrea Bocelli; Lucianio Pavarotti; Robert Alagna; Michael Crawford and Jose Carreras. Most recently I have fulfilled another dream of composing for myself and my album, Le Weekend which is regularly featured on classical radio.
Musician and Conductor
I was so lucky to start fresh from the Royal College of Music to become the pianist and arranger for NYJO. I was part of the orchestra at the same time as some great musicians such as Guy Barker, Chris Hunter and Steve and Richard Sidwell. I recorded for so many from Bros to Def Leppard. I was asked by Mike Oldfield to organize the premier of Tubular Bells II at Edinburgh Castle. It was an amazing occasion and utilised all facets of the industry from musical knowledge to technical breakthroughs. Consequently we toured the world where I played and conducted at venues like The Albert Hall and Carnegie Hall. With the success of the Elvis with the RPO albums I have been conducting these concerts all over the world .
Currently I am arranging for Stjepan Hauser and also for the 2Cellos for their concerts and albums. I am performing more and more and realizing the importance of musical performance. I am very proud to be involved in a theatrical performance of Tubular Bells at the Royal Festival Hall – in August 2021. I continue to work with dance acts such as Planet Funk and Goldie to add musicality to beat based music which is truly a blast.
John Altman is a musician’s musician. Music royalty. He’s won BAFTA’s and EMMY’s. He is the proud recipient of a Gold Badge of Excellence for services to British music awarded by his peers in The British Academy of Songwriters & Composers in 2011, a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Monaco Film Festival, and in 2012 with an honorary Doctorate of Music from the University of Sussex where he was the first ever Creative Arts Fellow in the Department of Humanities. His autobiography, Hidden Man: My Many Musical Lives, was published by Equinox in February 2022 and is receiving excellent reviews. John has done lots of signings and interviews including at the renowned Hay Literary Festival.
John scored the 1928 restored silent move Shooting Stars which was premiered at London’s Odeon Leicester Square as part of the 2015 London Film Festival.
He’s jammed with Clapton, Zoot Money, Hendrix, Jimmy Page, and the late Amy Winehouse. He was Van Morrison‘s MD for years and Hot Chocolate‘s MD and sax player. He’s responsible for classics by Alison Moyet‘s ‘That Old Devil Called Love’, George Michael‘s ‘Kissing A Fool’ and Bjork‘s ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, to name but a few.
He is a highly regarded award winner for his contemporary orchestral scores, big band music, and small group ensemble work and respected critic Don Heckman in the Los Angeles Times describes him as “one of the few film composers with authentic jazz skills.” He’s a songwriter too and writes end title songs and pastiches where source music is difficult to clear.
Feature films include RKO281 (EMMY winner), Hear My Song (BAFTA winner), Miramax’s Shall We Dance, starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez; the thriller Shoot On Sight and a contemporary version of Ibsen’s The Master Builder (Crossover Productions). Funny Bones (Hollywood Pictures); wrote and produced all the period music for Titanic (20th Century Fox); Matchmaker (Working Title); King Of Texas (Hallmark); Fidel (Showtime); the classic tank chase in Goldeneye (United Artists) which remains number 2 in the all-time James Bond favourite scenes; The Lost Empire (Hallmark); Beautiful Joe (Capitol Films); the award-winning Little Voice (Scala/Miramax); Garden Of Redemption (Paramount); Beautiful Thing (World/Channel Four Films); Vendetta (Limelight/Miramax); and Boss Of Bosses (Turner). Also the films Breaking Through, starring Diane Keaton; Hope Springs (Disney), starring Colin Firth, Minnie Driver and Heather Graham; The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone (Showtime), starring Helen Mirren for which he received an EMMY Nomination; the Christmas movie Mr St. Nick starring Kelsey Grammer; and The Reagans (CBS/Showtime).
UK TV credits include ITV’s The Good Samaritan; BBC Film’s Mr. Harvey Lights A Candle starring Timothy Spall; the Channel 4 drama The Queen’s Sister, ITV’s Peak Practice, Rich Deceiver, No Bananas, The Old Devils and many more.
As an arranger John has worked with the best – Diana Ross, George Michael, Goldie, Bjork, Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Tina Turner etc etc. He’s a featured sax player in leading jazz clubs and festivals around the world and regularly records jazz albums with a jazz quartet or his big band.
|Event Date||Saturday, October 8, 2022 12:00 pm|
|Cut off date||Saturday, October 8, 2022 2:00 pm|