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Debbie Wiseman OBE FRCM

Prolific film and TV composer Debbie Wiseman OBE delivers RCM Crees Lecture

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Debbie Wiseman OBE will deliver the Royal College of Music’s annual Crees Lecture on Wednesday 10 February. With a career spanning two decades, Debbie’s music for film and television includes the BBC’s Wolf Hall and Dickensian, feature films Tom’s Midnight Garden and Wilde starring Stephen Fry, and widely recognisable themes for TV including The Andrew Marr Show and Father Brown.

Debbie’s soundtrack for a 2004 adaptation of Arsène Lupin won Best Score for a Foreign Language Film at the Move Music UK Awards and was nominated for Score of the Year. Her score for BBC serial Warriors, starring Matthew Macfadyen, won Best Original Score at the RTS Awards 2000.

This year’s Crees Lecture is entitled ‘Every Note Paints a Picture’ and explores the art and techniques of composing music for film and television, the qualities needed to be a successful composer and advice for budding composers. ‘Film composers have to learn to think on their feet’ Debbie says, ‘and be able to change their score to match the changes in picture at any given moment during the scoring process.’ She adds, ‘the unwritten manual for under-scoring dialogue is don’t over-complicate.'

As well as a prolific composer, Debbie is a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Music, and in 2020, was awarded an RCM Fellowship by HRH The Prince of Wales. She brings her deep insight and clear passion for composition to this year’s lecture, discussing the nuances of the composer/director relationship and the importance of composers to be adaptable. The talk also addresses the ways young composers can hone their craft and seek out opportunities to promote their work.

‘You have to develop a thick skin’, Debbie says of facing rejection. ‘It’s not personal, it’s just that you’re not particularly either ready yet or right for that project; all sorts of different factors come into play. But if you keep going, eventually a door will open.’

The lecture is followed by a Q&A between Debbie and Professor Colin Lawson, Director of the Royal College of Music, delving deeper into her life and work, discussing her relationship with the RCM, the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and her hopes for the future of the profession.

‘I’m a huge supporter of the Royal College in every way’, says Debbie. ‘I think the teaching is world class, what you offer students in terms of, not only teaching and performance, but facilities and support and encouragement is absolutely mind-blowing.’

Professor Colin Lawson comments, ‘I am absolutely delighted that Debbie Wiseman is delivering this year’s Crees Lecture. Debbie is not only an incredibly successful composer but also a wonderful educator who will bring distinct knowledge, positivity and personality to her talk. She is a great supporter of the Royal College of Music and we are proud to count her among our community.’

The Crees Lecture will premiere on the RCM YouTube Channel at 7pm on Wednesday 10 February, then will be available on demand. Visit the What’s On section for the full event listing

The RCM’s world-leading Composition for Screen course allows students at postgraduate level to concentrate on developing the skills necessary for a fruitful career. RCM alumni enjoy global success in the profession, winning BAFTAs, Grammys, Golden Globes, Academy Awards and other accolades for their work in film, television and video games.

Find out more about studying at the RCM