What Did it for Me! – Chapter 5, Helen Glavin

Helen Glavin

from Helen’s website:

Helen has been commissioned to compose music for over 25 plays,
choral ensembles,TV and dance.  She composed the music for the
highly acclaimed opera adaptation of The Secret Garden, the classic
story by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which was nominated for the
TMA/Martini award.
Helen studied piano and singing at the Guildhall School of Music &
Drama, studying piano with Brigitte Wild, a protégée of Claudio Arrau.
She is multi-talented and as well as a composer has wide ranging
experience as a singer, pianist, recording artist, musical director and
lyricist.  She is drawn to different genres of music from jazz
improvisation to world music and with her classical background brings

these eclectic influences to her compositions.

Currently Helen is writing and composing a new choral work The Phoenix Cantata. Recent showcase performances received a fantastic response when John Hancorn conducted 100 singers at the Brighton Fringe Festival.


Kind of Blue | Miles Davis

Miles Davis with his sextet including Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, all master musicians, together created Kind of Blue, an album of melancholy beauty, elegiac, restrained, impressionistic. The power of silence in music is so eloquently revealed in the playing of Miles Davis. I love the way he always plays the perfect notes, never competing in that way I often feel happens in jazz, with so many notes being played you lose the music.  His cool introspective mastery entices you with a sound that goes straight to the heart.

This classic improvised studio album, was recorded in 1959, I first heard it sometime in the 1970’s, I was given a copy one rainy summer and played it over and over till the scratches on the record made it impossible to listen to. It was my first serious introduction to American contemporary jazz and for me still remains above all others. It inspired me later to attempt to play without dots (written music), to improvise – often alien to a classically trained pianist! Sitting at the piano, I began to express myself creatively, to form a relationship with this carved tree of an instrument, and explore finding my own pianistic jazz voice. It was a kind of freedom.

Listening again to the album, its power is undiminished. There is a holy alchemy between the musicians, the hypnotic moodiness of the music casts a timeless spell…kind of blue… Miles Davis… Orpheus descending……  (Helen Glavin – June 2012)

John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Miles & Bill Evans



Helen has recorded 3 CDs including Leo Rising – for solo piano.
Available through her website
and CDBaby.com/helenglavin3
Leo Rising CD is available from Skylark in The Needlemaker’s, Lewes. www.skylarkshop.com


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