Category Archives: Dance

Nineteen Eighty-Four performed by Northern Ballet opens and embarks on UK tour

Very happy that the production of 1984 performed by Northern Ballet, on which I was composer, has opened to some brilliant reviews. Choreographed by Jonathan Watkins the ballet’s 100 minute score is performed live by the 30 piece Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

“From the opening sequence, Jonathan Watkins’ deft choreography coupled with Alex Baranowski’s score conjures a powerful sense of isolation in the anti-hero Winston Smith. The pairing reunites the creative team responsible for the recent dance theatre adaption of another classic, Kes, at Sheffield, last year with similarly successful results.” The Independant 

“The show’s richest source of imaginative texture is Alex Baranowski’s ravishing score, mournful and agitated by turns and played live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia” The Times

“Watkins has the luxury of a fine commissioned score by Alex Baranowski, who reinforces the totalitarian mindset with anxious strings and metronomic percussion. His excruciating discords as Winston inches upstage towards the strobing screen filled with rats guarantee a chilling climax” Financial Times

“The choreographer is aided by Alex Baranowski’s score, where acerbic, almost Nymanesque staccato rhythms punctuate more romantic, idealistic music for the love scenes” Dancing Times

To book tickets for the tour or to find out more about the production, visit Northern Ballet’s website here.

It has also recently been announced that the BBC will be filming the Manchester leg of the production to put on it’s “The Space” website along with some behind the scenes videos. More information can be found here and I’ll post with more information soon.

Nineteen Eighty-Four performed by Northern Ballet

Work is nearly complete composing the score for 1984 which will be performed by Northern Ballet and directed & choreographed by Jonathan Watkins. The live 90 minute score will be performed by the 30 piece Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

Rehearsals start in July with the first performance at Northern Ballet’s brilliant home in Leeds in September, with a subsequent UK tour including Sadler’s Wells in London going into 2016.

For more information or to book tickets, visit Northern Ballet’s website here.


George Orwell’s 1984 for Northern Ballet

I’ve been working away writing for Northern Ballet’s upcoming main stage show, based on George Orwell’s 1984. Choreographed by Jonathan Watkins (who I previously collaborated with for Kes) a brand new 90 minute score will be performed live by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

The production starts rehearsals in July and opens in September, initially touring to West Yorkshire Playhouse, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Manchester Palace Theatre and Sheffield Lyceum. The first four dates are available to book on NB’s website here.


“Dreaming in Code” for 2Faced Dance

Along with composer Angus MacRae, I’ve recently written the music for dance piece Dreaming in Code for award winning choreographer Tamsin Fitzgerald’s 2Faced Dance company, which is presently on a UK tour.

Tour dates up to the end of March 2015 can be found on 2Faced website here. Angus and I have released the soundtrack to download which can be found on Angus’ bandcamp page here.

The trailer was put together by the shows designer, Luke Evans.

1984 a new ballet choreographed by Jonathan Watkins for Northern Ballet

Very pleased to be collaborating again with director / choreographer Jonathan Watkins (after the success of Kes earlier in the year) on a new ballet based on George Orwell’s 1984. Staged by Northern Ballet, with a live 30 piece orchestra, the piece will open in Autumn 2015.

I’ll be putting up more information closer to the time. For more information about Northern Ballet, visit their website here.


KES opens at Sheffield Crucible

Very happy that Kes has officially opened at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre to a brilliant response. A dance theatre adaptation directed and choreographed by Jonathan Watkins based on Barry Hines’ celebrated novel A Kestral For A Knave, I wrote and produced the hour and a half score.

The reviews have already been coming in –

“Alex Baranowski’s impressive score marries rippling, Nyman-esque piano figures with a keening, locally sourced flugelhorn…” (The Guardian) ****

“This unique production hits every note near-perfectly, bringing together an insistent and compelling new musical score, ravishing movement, puppetry and top notch performances to create a really special and fast-moving experience – even for those who turned up expecting a more traditional telling of this classic tale.” (Independent) ****

“The movements of the characters echo the freedom-constraint dichotomy of the environment.. the long-arcing strings and pizzicato percussive sounds of composer Alex Baranowski’s score play with the same elongation-punch counterpoint” (Observer) ****

“Makes your heart soar” (The Telegraph) ****

I’ll be putting some musical snippets up of the music very shortly, and I’m planning to release some of the music in the future. Feel free to join my mailing list here to be notified of its release and to receive the odd free music track.

Chester Hayes in Kes

“Kes” dance theatre piece at Sheffield Crucible

I’m presently deep into writing and rehearsals for Kes which is premiering at the Sheffield Crucible from 27th March to 5th April 2014. A mixture of dance, puppetry, physical theatre and of course music (an hour and a half of it), the production is directed and choreographed by Jonathan Watkins (who I previously collaborated with at the Royal Opera House for Ballet Black).

A re-imagining of Barry Hines’ celebrated book A Kestrel for a Knave the production tells the story of Billy Casper, a boy shaped by the contrasting worlds of an industrial working class Barnsley.. and the natural landscape around him.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Sheffield Crucible’s website here.

Once the show is opened, I’ll be putting a selection of the soundtrack up here on my website and to download from iTunes. To keep up to date with the release and the odd music freebie, feel free to join my email list here (it won’t be passed on to anyone, ever).

KES Picture