Nicholas Scott-Burt composes music which ranges from commercial jingles to substantial chamber and symphonic scores for the concert hall, engaging a full spectrum of style from jazz and pop at the one extreme to the most intellectually challenging of 21st century art music at the other. Much of his best-known music was composed for lower grade piano exam repertoire, and includes both original pieces and arrangements. He is also well-known as a composer of choral and church music.
Born in Bristol in 1962, he began composing at the piano at a very early age. As a child he had lessons on the piano and trombone, later singing in church choirs and and taking up the organ, which became his main instrumental study.
His first "serious" work, the Sonata for Organ was composed in 1980 when he was 17. He was a student at Bristol University from 1981 until 1987, where his teachers included Professor Raymond Warren, the late Dr Derek Bourgeois, Dr Adrian Beaumont and Dr Robert Saxton. Music from this period included a Chamber Symphony and a part-song cycle Gallantries. During these years he was also active as a choral and orchestral conductor and as a church organist.
From 1987-2002 he was Director of Music at Bilton Grange Preparatory School near Rugby, and compositionally turned his attention to music for children, principally sacred music for the school chapel including the 8-movement Magnificat, and theatre music including an electronic score for The Tempest and the stage musical Androcles and the Lion.
In 2002 he left full time teaching to devote more time to composing and conducting, and becoming Organist and Director of Music at St. Andrew's Parish Church, Rugby, a post he held until 2015. Simultaneously he returned to academic study at his old university, gaining a PhD in composition in 2012. His music, which to this point had stemmed from neo-classical roots sometimes incorporating elements of jazz and rock, began to assume a range of post-modernist elements, in particular his use of extended tonalities, and highly rigorous constructional techniques which led to his Minimalis pieces started in 2016.
He now describes himself as an "Après-Postmodernist" (tongue slightly in cheek here!) and is strong in his conviction that today's modern music inevitably and necessarily contains the music of all previous ages - which includes everything back to the dawn of notation, but also the music of the last 70 years. How we composers mix and combine these elements is what sets us apart from each other stylistically - but in an age in which all music is ubiquitously ever-present the effect of any new piece is entirely dependent on our familiarity with what we already know. We can choose either to embrace this or to reject it - but we cannot ignore it!
Nicholas Scott-Burt is the Conductor and Musical Director of Charnwood Voices; he is the pianist in the Scott-Burt Piano Trio (with his violinist wife Cathy and cellist son Harry). He is on the visiting music staff of Uppingham School and Bablake School, Coventry, and is an examiner (classical and jazz) for ABRSM. He plays the organ and piano at Rugby United Reformed Church, and is also a poet and a writer.