John Metcalfe, the composer, producer, arranger, violist, and guitarist who has worked with the likes of Blur, Coldplay, and Peter Gabriel, is taking his solo work out on the road.
The live shows, which include a 29 May 2016 date at the Royal Albert Hall Elgar Room, will find Metcalfe joined by Birdy’s backing singer Rosie Doonan, Red Snapper’s bassist Ali Friend, and Rae Morris’ drummer Daisy Palmer.
“I’m excited to share the music with these exceptional players to see where we go with it,” says the classically trained musician who released his fourth solo album, ‘The Appearance of Colour’, last year. “Should be amazing.”
Metcalfe first gained notoriety as a member of cult band Durutti Column before continuing his classical studies in London and Berlin.
Hard classical study continued along with hard dancing at the now defunct Hacienda and scholarships took him to London and Berlin (studying with Italian maestro Bruno Giuranna) to finish his training, before co-founding Factory Classical in 1989.
As an A&R man, one of his first signings was his own Duke Quartet. Led by his violinist wife Louisa Fuller, they soon became known for their repertoire of twentieth-century pieces and new commissioned work.
Despite their busy concert schedule Metcalfe found the time to work on Morrissey’s solo album ‘Viva Hate’, leading to an ongoing career as arranger for artists from Simple Minds to Bat For Lashes.
In 2008 he and fellow composer Simon Hale wrote an entire orchestral score in real time during a live improvised collaboration with The Bays and the Heritage Orchestra. Not long after, he worked as co-producer and arranger of Peter Gabriel’s orchestral albums ‘Scratch My Back’ and ‘New Blood’, before becoming musical director of the subsequent live tour.
Keen to reassert himself, Metcalfe began working on the follow-up to 2008’s ‘A Darker Sunset’.
“I’m old fashioned,’ he says. “I want to just put records out and do gigs. It still feels like a real privilege to actually go and play stuff that I’ve written. It’s fine playing Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite, or being the arranger for a famous artist. There’s always someone in between. It’s not your fault if no-one likes the Lyric Suite, it’s essentially Berg you’re listening to. Or it’s Peter Gabriel’s voice you’re hearing.”
‘The Appearance of Colour’ puts Metcalfe front and centre. “This is me on my own, and there’s nothing between me and the audience. It’s my efforts, it’s my emotions, it’s my sensibilities on display.”