ALUMNI SPECIAL: JONATHAN ARMANDARY, COMPOSER

From LCoM around Europe and back again...

Jonathan Armandary graduated from our Music Production degree with a first class honours, and loved it here so much he studied a PGCE and came back to teach! Musician, composer, producer and performer, his skills cover every aspect of the music world, and his latest score for ‘Candlestick’ led him to work with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.


What was your earliest musical experience?

Tricky question! I grew up with musical instruments in the house – including a piano that was so battered it was tuned to Bb! My brother used to be involved in a lot of music, and I suppose I picked it up by looking up to him.

Who/what motivated you to pursue a career in music?

I have an incredibly supportive family. My parents always encouraged me to follow whichever path I chose, and helped me to get involved in many projects. It was actually my brother who recommended the route of music production – having studied classical and jazz previously. Once I was on the degree at LCoM, Brian Morrell (senior lecturer) took me under his wing and guided me along the film music pathway.

Who’s your greatest inspiration?

I would say the person whose style I have been mostly influenced by is Carter Burwell (particularly his approach to scoring for comedy). However, I’ve sought inspiration from so many sources over my composing career – most recently Bernard Herrmann for the score for “Candlestick”.

What is/was your favourite thing about living / studying / being a musician in Leeds?

Leeds is an amazing place for music, there are so many things going on in so many places – and yet it’s not a huge city, so it still feels welcoming and encouraging. I like the fact that at most gigs there will be one or two people I know (either performing or in the audience), so the friends you make become close.

How would you describe the challenges and joys of living / studying / being a musician in Leeds?

I don’t feel that Leeds suffers from any problems that other cities don’t – yes, paid opportunities can be limited, competition can sometimes be fierce, but no more (in fact often less) than other big cities!

Who/what would be your dream collaboration?

For me to collaborate with? Tricky! As a film composer I tend to prefer working alone (although I wouldn’t turn down an orchestrator/arranger!), but as a songwriter/performer I’d actually love to work with some modern alternative country artists, such as Zac Brown Band, or Lady Antebellum.

How has your career developed since leaving LCoM?

It took quite a turn actually. Not long after leaving I realized how much I missed the place, and so went to study a PGCE and am now back here teaching! Education and research has become a real focus for me, but I still keep up my composing work with contacts I made during my studies. My most recent project, Candlestick, is the second film I’ve worked on with director Chris Presswell, whom I started working with while studying. We had the opportunity to record the score with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra at Smecky Studios in Prague – so that was exciting, and has given such a boost to the quality of the soundtrack.

How has your study at LCoM aided your career so far?

I can safely and assertively say that without LCoM I would not be where I am today. The college nurtured me, guided me, and aided me into discovering my passion and skill. All of the people I work with today are people I contacted while studying, and my decision to get into education was based purely on my experiences at LCoM.

What has been your greatest achievement?

2013 was a good year for me in terms of achievements. As I mentioned before, I wrote and recorded a score with the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, and following on from a successful placement year I was appointed as a lecturer as LCoM – a really big deal for me as a 23 year old at the time!

Where would you like to be in five years?

I’d like to progress my education career primarily, hoping to become a full-time lecturer. Alongside this I plan to continue working on a few choice projects, so hopefully a few more orchestral recording opportunities too.


Read about Jonathan's career in composition for film, TV and video games on International Education website Majoring In Music.


Follow his personal developments on his website, or on Twitter or Facebook.


 

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"I can safely and assertively say that without LCoM I would not be where I am today. The college nurtured me, guided me, and aided me into discovering my passion and skill. All of the people I work with today are people I contacted while studying..."

Jonathan Armandary, Film music composer

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