I began composing when directing the choir of St. Thomas à Beckett Church in Hamburg. Since then, I have written a variety of music for choirs, four original musicals for primary school children and arrangements of music for choirs, school orchestras and bands. The musicals have all been performed in a professional theatre by a cast of fifty-five young people. My choral music has been performed by church and chapel choirs in the U.K., Germany and Canada and by Hertfordshire-based “Positif” Chamber Choir, which I directed for 10 years.
For 18 months during 2011-12, I had the opportunity and time to devote more of my energy to composition. This was partly inspired by the magnificent scenery, wildlife and culture of British Columbia, Canada that I was fortunate enough to see and experience.
I am currently looking for a publisher for some of my music, but if you are interested in performing any of it, please contact me and I will supply you with self-published copies.
Four 90 minute musicals for children, suitable for 9-13 year olds.
Music by Jill Knight. Book and lyrics by Gil Dunn.
The Pirate Queen – who’s the new, young pirate leader and…
what’s the Spanish Count got to do with it all?
Robin Who? – the ancient legend, or is it?
Look to the Stars – space travel with an ecological touch, albeit a “blue” rather than “green” one.
The Legend of Castle McLeoud – misty Scottish lochs, lairds, haunted castles and lost treasure!
The Kings’ Tale
Christmas Carol for SATB/SSA/SAMen with piano/flute accompaniment
First performed by Manor Lodge School at their Carol Service in 2010
Also performed at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London by Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls
Dormi Jesu! Away in a manger
Christmas Carol for SATB with sop. solo a cappella. Composed September 2012. A combination of the Latin text “Dormi, Jesu!” and the words of the popular carol “Away in a manger”.
Praise Ye the Lord
Anthem for SATB choir + 8-part chamber choir/soloists unaccompanied
A setting of psalm 148 and the words “All things bright and beautiful”-
2 choirs, 2 different texts and 2 musical styles!
Composed June 2011.
An Irish Blessing
Motet for SATB choir unaccompanied. Composed May 2011.
Also available for SA/Men and piano accompaniment
First performed at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Vancouver, Canada in April 2012.
Listen to Worcester College Choir, Oxford sing this in June 2012 at:
Irish Blessing on Sound Cloud
In Flanders Fields
Anthem for SATB choir, soprano solo, trumpet and piano
This is a “Remembrance Day” anthem composed in Vancouver, Canada in March 2011 in memory of my great uncles, Walter and Arthur Blackwell who, like so many young men, sacrificed their lives for us in the trenches of Flanders during World War 1, one hundred years ago. The words are from the poem by Lieutenant Colnel John MacCrae MD (1872-1918), a Canadian military doctor, who wrote it whilst serving on the front line in May 1915, very close to where Walter was fighting and eventually wounded in December 1915.
This rehearsal recording of In Flanders Fields on Sound Cloud was made on November 5th, 2014 by the choir of St. Etheldreda’s Church, Old Hatfield. The soprano soloist is Katriina Nichols, the trumpet soloist, Tom Semple and the pianist, Rachel Knight. The sound of fireworks in the background provide a rather poignant reminder of the “guns below”.
I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes
Anthem for SSATB choir unaccompanied. Composed January 2011.
A setting of psalm 121 for a cappella SATB (occasional divisi) and soprano solo or small soprano ensemble. This piece sounds best with the solo line delivered from a different place to the main body of the choir.
I sing of a maiden
Christmas carol for SATB unaccompanied
Listen to this at :
“I Sing of a Maiden” on Sound Cloud
Anthem for Palm Sunday for SAMen unaccompanied
First performed at the Anglican Church of St. Thomas à Beckett, Hamburg in 1990.
Anthem for SSA Children’s Choir with piano
Originally written for Ontario Children’s Choir, Canada, 2011.
A setting of the words from the doxology “Praise God from whom all blessings flow”, alongside some original text based on things we might be thankful for.
Hymn for congregational/school use with SATB parts and optional descant. Piano/organ accompaniment. Could also be used as a simple anthem.
Lord make me an instrument of thy peace
Based on the prayer by St. Francis of Assisi, set to music for 3-part choir S./A./Men with piano/organ accompaniment. Composed in May 2012 for Chas and Joy Burton in celebration of Chas’ 90th birthday and their diamond wedding anniversary in September 2012. Chas is also possibly the longest serving chorister in England, having been in the Christ Church parish choir, Radlett for over 80 years! Listen to Christ Church choir sing this at:
“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace” on Sound Cloud
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis
A setting of the Canticles for Evensong in F minor for SSA and organ, composed in March 2012. Listen to the ladies of Worcester College Choir, Oxford sing this live at Choral Evensong on 25th October 2012 at:
Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis on Sound Cloud
Eucharistic setting for Lent or Advent
An unaccompanied setting of the Kyries, Sanctus and Agnus Dei for SA/Men first composed in 2002. Currently under review.
The Passionate Shepherd To His Love
This is a sacred choral composition, written in the summer of 2013 to celebrate the wedding of Jemma Falshaw and Joe Packer, two of my friends and colleagues. It is a setting of a poem by Christopher Marlow for four voices and piano.
“The Passionate Shepherd” on Sound Cloud
Christmas Carol set to words by Hilary Morton, a member of the choir at St. Etheldreda’s Church, Hatfield. It was composed in 2016 and is written for SATB, flute solo and piano accompaniment.
A party-piece for trumpet or clarinet solo with piano accompaniment.
This begins as a slow blues, but finishes in an upbeat jazzy style.
Composed November 2011. “A Jazzmitzvah” on Sound Cloud
A gentle jazz waltz followed by a contemplative, expressive melody for solo clarinet and piano. Composed November 2013.
“Reflections” on Sound Cloud
I am currently working on a series of mini-musicals for junior school use based on stories from Aesop’s Fables, and at some stage in the near future, hope to begin work on a setting of the Requiem Mass.
“I stand face to face with the Eternal Energy from which all life flows, and I draw upon that infinite power. To contact this Eternal Energy, I must conform to certain laws, two of the most important being SOLITUDE and CONCENTRATION. A composer must sit in the silence and wait for the direction from a force that is superior to the intellect.”
– Max Bruch, composer (1838-1920)