Composing contemporary music

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Four Southampton alumni are making waves in the music industry with their mix of pop-inspired song writing and contemporary classical composition.

Frontman and composer, Tom Wilson (BA Music, 2004; MMus Composition, 2011) says of his time at Southampton: “I have extremely fond memories of my time at Southampton, and if I could sum it up in one word it would be ‘discovery’. The enthusiasm of the staff and my fellow students, the broad syllabus, the ambitious programme at Turner Sims Southampton; all this blew my musical horizons wide open!”

After graduating Tom formed a four-piece band to perform his compositions, which mix pop song writing with a range of other influences, from contemporary classical composition, to modern jazz.

The band features three other University of Southampton alumni – James Ashdown (BA Music, 2009; MA Music, 2011) on drums, Steve Haynes (MSc Environmental Engineering, 2011, PhD Civil Engineering, 2016) on bass guitar, and Steve Troughton (BA Music, 2011) on keyboard. Together, they have been building up a notable reputation as a live act, with recent highlights including a session for BBC Radio 3, and a headline show at Café Oto in London.

Aside from his work with the band, Tom has been active composing for many other clients, including Flam Productions, the Ben See Band, and, most recently, the University’s own Professor Michael Finnissy. Tom’s academic interest in music continues too: he has just submitted a PhD thesis on Composition at Royal Holloway College, University of London, where he has been working for the past three years as a visiting composition lecturer.

Photography by Owen Llewellyn

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