Howard Goodall is an award-winning composer of choral music, stage musicals, film and TV scores, is well known as a lyricist, author, music historian and broadcaster, and from 2007-11 was England’s first ever National Ambassador for Singing, leading a programme (Sing Up) to improve the provision of group singing for all primary-age children. His best-known TV & film themes & scores include Blackadder, Red Dwarf, Q.I., Mr Bean & The Vicar of Dibley. His score for the HBO film Into the Storm won him a Primetime EMMY award for Original Dramatic Score in 2009.
In the theatre his ten musicals, from The Hired Man, written with Melvyn Bragg in 1984, to Bend it like Beckham in 2015-16, have been performed in the West End, Off-Broadway and throughout world, winning many international awards, including Ivor Novello, TMA, Off-West End and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Musical, with Bend it like Beckham, currently being prepared for an Indian tour after its nine months in the West End, nominated for no fewer than 5 Olivier awards in 2016. Its soundtrack CD was no. 1 in the Amazon chart on release in August 2015. Since its West End run in 2010-11, Love Story had its US première in Philadelphia followed by successful tours in the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Italy and the Russian Federation and was produced in Rio de Janeiro during this summer’s Olympic Games.
His music has been commissioned to mark many national ceremonies and memorials and his choral works Psalm 23/The Lord is my Shepherd and Love divine are amongst the most performed of all sacred music, featuring on several platinum-selling CDs. His Eternal Light: A Requiem has had over 450 live performances all over the world since its première in 2008 and won him a Classical BRIT Award for Composer of the Year. It had its Carnegie Hall début in November of 2016. His 2009 Enchanted Voices, a setting of the Beatitudes, was no.1 of the Specialist Classical CD chart for 6 months, winning him a Gramophone award. In November 2011 Howard conducted the première in Westminster Abbey of his Every Purpose Under the Heaven: The King James Bible Oratorio, commissioned by the United Learning Trust to mark the 400th anniversary of the KJB’s publication. In June 2012 his Rigaudon formed part of the New Water Music that accompanied Queen Elizabeth II on her Diamond Jubilee Regatta and he was musically responsible for Rowan Atkinson’s memorable performance at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. On 4th August 2014 his choral work Sure of the Sky-Des Himmels sicher, specially commissioned for the occasion by HM Govt was performed by a joint British-German choir at the St Symphorien Military Cemetery near Mons in Belgium, accompanied by the band of the Coldstream Guards, to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
For the past 15 years he has written and presented his own TV documentary series on the theory and history of music. For these he has been honoured with a BAFTA, an RTS Judges’ Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Education in Broadcasting and over a dozen other international broadcast awards.
He is recipient of the Sir Charles Grove/Making Music Prize for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, the Naomi Sargant Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education in Broadcasting, the MIA/Classic fm Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music Education and in January 2011 he was appointed CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours for services to music education. He is married to classical music agent Val Fancourt.