UWE awards honorary degree to David Fanshawe

Issue date: 11 November 2009


David Fanshawe The University of the West of England will award the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music to David Fanshawe in recognition of his outstanding contribution to bringing music from around the world into the lives of people who neither read nor write music and to his pursuit of musical excellence, which is synonymous with the aims of the University's Centre for Performing Arts.

The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Creative Arts at Bristol Cathedral on Friday 13 November at 14.00.

David Arthur Fanshawe, composer and explorer, was born in Devon and educated at St George's Choir School, Windsor and Stowe. In 1959 he joined the Film Producers Guild in London, gaining experience as a documentary film editor. In 1965 he won a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music, London, to study composition with John Lambert, and in 1970 made his debut as composer and cantor at the Queen Elizabeth Hall with his Salaams, a work based on the chants and rhythms of the pearl divers of Bahrain.

David Fanshawe's ambition to collect and record endangered World Music, facing extinction, began in the Middle East in 1966 and continued on subsequent journeys through North and East Africa from 1969 to 1975. His BBC TV music documentaries include: African Sanctus (Prix Italia 1976) - the subject of two biographical films; Arabian Fantasy; Musical Mariner and Tropical Beat.

In 1978, David Fanshawe undertook a ten-year odyssey across the islands of the Pacific Ocean, where he researched and recorded several thousand hours of indigenous music, preserving for posterity the music and oral traditions of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia on tape, photographs and journals. In 1982, David Fanshawe was based at the Library, University of the South Pacific (USP), Fiji and in 1984 he became an Associate Sound Archivist at the National Film & Sound Archive (NFSA) in Canberra.

Since returning to the UK in 1992, David Fanshawe has established a universal Archive - The Fanshawe Collections and produced a series of CD compilations drawn from the wealth of his rare recordings in Africa, Arabia, SE Asia and the Pacific. Currently, his major work-in-progress is Pacific Odyssey, of which the Tongan movement, Pacific Song, was premiered at the American Choral Directors' Association (ACDA) National Convention in Miami, 2007.

David Fanshawe said, “This award I proudly accept in the spirit of the University's ethos bettertogether. In my serendipitous career, through the adventures of Music and Travel, I have been privileged to experience our world as a composer and musical explorer. It is now my humble dream to go on sharing my aspirations with future generations, through the legacy of my Sound Archives; and by fulfilling my life's missions, which are: to celebrate the universal language of music; to record for posterity endangered World Music, threatened with extinction; to seek inspiration for my own compositions - thus uniting musical worlds apart. Thank you University of the West of England, for your quite unexpected honour and tribute.”

David Fanshawe is a Churchill Fellow and an Ivor Novello award nominee. He has composed over fifty commercial scores, theme and incidental music, for film and television including: Tarka the Otter; When The Boat Comes In and Flambards. His diverse concert works include: his internationally acclaimed African Sanctus; Dona Nobis Pacem – A Hymn for World Peace; Requiem for Aberfan; Dover Castle; Fanfare to Planet Earth and Millennium March. His ethnic field recordings have also featured in films such as Seven Years in Tibet and Gangs of New York.

-ENDS-

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