NEWS: Guildhall Studio Orchestra Debut Concert with Dave Arch (Milton Court, 17 October)

The album cover for Coming Home
The debut performance by the Guildhall Studio Orchestra is
a belated album launch

A new orchestra for London will be born on Tuesday 17 October when the Guildhall Studio Orchestra will give its first ever performance. The featured composer is DAVE ARCH, with what is in effect a belated album launch for his album Coming Home. Sebastian found out more:

Considering the scale of Dave Arch’s musical activity – on most Saturday nights his music is heard by nearly 9 million people – it may seem surprising how little known his name is. Arch is Musical Director of Strictly Come Dancing, and has been continuously since 2006. In that role he is responsible for arranging about fifteen precisely timed pieces of music for each show, which implies around two hundred fresh arrangements for a 15-piece band in a typical season. As one writer claimed recently “without Dave Arch there would be no ‘Strictly’ .”

And his career is not all strictly Strictly – far from it: he has also worked as pianist with Joni Mitchell, Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Elton John and Robbie Williams. And played on the scores of over 200 films.

 He has composed TV theme tunes, hit songs, library music and  music for TV commercials. Dave Arch is originally from Berkshire. He trained as a classical pianist at Guildhall and was also in NYJO “I’ve always gigged,” he says.

Dave Arch
Photo credit: Gavin Wallace

Dave Arch’s first conversation about the project – which comes to fruition next week –  happened in February of this year, Having made the album Coming Home, he wanted to give it a “live outing” and was merely exploring the possibility of Milton Court as a venue and approached Malcolm Edmonstone, the Head of Jazz at Guildhall. “We started chatting,” he remembers. Edmonstone saw the project as a more or less ideal first venture for the Studio Orchestra, and the momentum behind this project grew from there.

The album shows something of Arch’s range: “I’ve always liked the colours in music. When I write I hear different colours.” And the live concert will go beyond re-performance of the music on the album. The event has encouraged Dave Arch to write more compositions and arrangements especially for the concert.

The idea of a studio orchestra at Guildhall School comes from the Head of Jazz Malcolm Edmonstone. But the fact that former Guildhall students include the late George Martin – and indeed Dave Arch – mean that the idea is close to the ethos of the School. The concept is an orchestra with the Dutch Metropole Orkest as its blueprint, which can give classical students in the conservatoire the invaluable direct experience of working in studio orchestra context. The orchestra on 17 October will consist of over fifty musicians – some seasoned professionals (list below) plus a cohort of current Guildhall students

Or, as the Guildhall School’s blurb for this concert states, it is 

“the launch of the Guildhall Studio Orchestra – the first of its kind in a UK conservatoire. Genre-fluid, multi-disciplinary and progressive, it places students next to the highest level of professional musicians in a side-by-side setup, with commissioned repertoire from some of the best arrangers working today.”

Professional musicians particpating in the debut concert of the Guildhall Studio Orchestra on 17 October

Laurence Cottle (bass)
Neil Wilkinson (drums)
Paul Clarvis (drums/ percussion)
Frank Ricotti (vibes and percussion)
John Parricelli (guitar)
Dave Arch, Malcolm Edmonstone, Jeff Leach (piano/ keybords)
Mark Nightingale (trombone)
Graeme Blevins (reeds)
Andy Greenwood (trumpet)
Tommy Blaize, Tori Beaumont (vocals)


– Detailed lists of compositions and a filmography are at Dave Arch’s website 
– Bookings: Guildhall Studio Orchestra with Dave Arch – 17 October at Milton Court
– Liane Carroll will be the guest for the Guildhall Studio Orchestra’s second outing

Categories: miscellaneous

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