Born in Sydney (now living in England), Barrington Pheloung spent his early years a guitarist in a blues band before travelling to London, where he studied composition, guitar, doublebass, and conducting at the Royal College of Music. In 1977, he won a place on the International Course for Professional Composers and Choreographers at Surrey University. In 1979, he was appointed Musical Advisor to the London Contemporary Dance Theatre and toured with the group in the UK and internationally as their Principal Conductor until 1990
Best known and internationally recognized for the theme and incidental music to the Inspector Morse television series, he has also composed for dance companies, such as the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, and for events, including the opening night of the Millennium Dome. His film work includes Hillary and Jackie for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and Touching Wild Horses. He also made the music to Revolution Software's adventure games In Cold Blood and the first two Broken Swords. Pheloung's other work includes the score for the biopic Nostradamus, the music for Sydney Opera House's Twentieth Birthday Celebrations and he contributed to the music for the film, Truly, Madly, Deeply in which he also appeared. He composed the incidental music for the first series of Boon and recently scored Shopgirl.
Barrington Pheloung's penchant for intermingling his music with that of celebrated masters stems not only from Inspector Morse's noted fondness for opera. In 1993, he completed music for A Midsummer Night's Dream, a new ballet choreographed by Robert Cohan for the Scottish Ballet in which it was his brief to write "contemporary extensions to the music" of Mendelssohn's original incidental music for the play. The ballet was subsequently presented throughout the UK and Canada.
In addition to his theatrical, television, film, and dance music, Barrington Pheloung composed a Double Guitar Concerto for the Bath International Guitar Festival in 1995 and a Cello Concerto, which was premiered by Caroline Dale at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Another guitar concerto, commissioned by Carlos Bonell, received its first performance at the Nottingham Guitar Festival.
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