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Downton Abbey composer awarded Honorary Fellowship

Tue 25 June 2019

Multi award-winning television and film composer John Lunn receives Trinity Laban’s highest honour at the Downton Abbey Live event in recognition of his contribution to music.

The British composer, who is best known for writing the iconic music for global TV phenomenon Downton Abbey, was presented with an Honorary Fellowship on 22 June by Trinity Laban Principal Anthony Bowne at an open air concert in the grounds of Highclere Castle.

Hosted by actor Jim Carter in character as the beloved Mr Carson, the concert celebrated the iconic TV series and was performed by The Chamber Orchestra of London with John at the piano. Among the orchestral musicians were three Trinity Laban Alumni: Violinists Miranda Allen and Calina De La Mare, and horn player Thomas Bettley.

Introducing the Honorary Fellowship presentation was British Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning television producer and executive Gareth Neame OBE. Gareth, who is CEO of Carnival Films and Executive Producer of Downton Abbey, is also a patron of Trinity Laban.

Gareth commented –

“Trinity Laban is one of the world’s top creative conservatoires and we are fortunate that it is based here in London. Attracting students from all round the world looking to do individual and innovative work, I am proud to be a patron of this important institution that has done so much for music and dance and developed the most extraordinary talent.”

Speaking during the citation in front of 5000 Downton Abbey fans, Trinity Laban’s Director of Music Havilland Willshire said –

“With multi-awards and a glittering CV John Lunn is not short of honours. This evening Trinity Laban, which is recognised for its artistic adventure and known as London’s Creative Conservatoire, would like to add one of its own.”

On receiving the Honorary Fellowship John Lunn commented –

“I am honoured to become an Honorary Fellow of such an innovative and forward-looking conservatoire as Trinity Laban. You don’t go to art school to learn how to paint like Picasso, you go to find your own unique voice. Music training should be the same. And that is why I am really impressed by Trinity Laban, an organisation that champions creative individuality as well as strong technical grounding. It is an ethos that I share.”

As London’s Creative Conservatoire, Trinity Laban prides itself on encouraging artistic adventure as well as providing pragmatic career solutions and the Composition Department has been extremely successful in producing professional media composers – from the established John Powell, Gavin Greenaway and John Ashton Thomas, to the up-and-coming John Chambers, Mike McLennan and Troy Banarzi.

Each year, the Conservatoire recognises accomplished professionals in the fields of the performing arts and education by awarding them the status of Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban. These individuals are an inspiration for students, as examples of people who have – through vision, dedication and hard work – achieved so much. As an Honorary Fellow John Lunn joins a glittering roster of industry-leading professionals including Gary Crosby OBE, Gillian Moore CBE, Jude Kelly CBE, Richard Alston, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, founder and Lin Hwai-min.

Image L-R: John Lunn, Anthony Bowne, Havilland Willshire (credit: Cuffe and Taylor)


About John Lunn

Classically trained yet contemporary in attitude, composer John Lunn combines a highly intelligent and sensitive approach to scoring film and television that connects directly with the emotional heart of each story.

In high-demand, John is best known for writing the iconic music for global TV phenomenon Downton Abbey, which has earned him two Primetime Emmy Awards and nominations for a BAFTA and an Ivor Novello Award. The score, highly regarded in British television history, has several soundtrack albums and was named the nation’s favourite classical TV theme by Classic FM in 2016.

Over the last three decades John’s output has also included scoring The White Queen and The White Princess for BBC/Starz, Jamestown for Sky/Carnival Films, and three critically-acclaimed adaptations of Charles Dickens classics: Bleak House (2006), Little Dorrit (2008), The Mystery Of Edwin Drood (2013).

Alongside his prolific work in film and television, South East London-based John has composed several operas for Glyndebourne and ENO, as well as a violin concerto, regularly speaks at industry and educational events including Film Music Prague, and takes an interest in the next generation of composers through delivering masterclasses at programmes such as the prestigious Hollywood Music

This year John will score the long-awaited Downton Abbey movie, due to be released on 13 September 2019 and is currently recording the soundtrack of Julian Fellowes’s new series Belgravia.