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12 February 2021

Tony Bremner 1939-2021

Tony Bremner 1939-2021

Composer, conductor and singer Tony Bremner has died in London on 31 January, peacefully at the age of 81.

Bremner was born in Sydney in 1939 and lived in London since 1961. Initially known as a tenor, he studied singing in England and worked in the Glyndebourne chorus for a decade, later changing to counter-tenor and appearing, among others, in Death in Venice at the Adelaide Festival in 1980.

His compositional career started in earnest after he began to work as assistant to Christopher Palmer. In 1981, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra gave the premiere of his Harp Concerto. In 1983 he wrote his first film score, Kindred Spirits. Two more film scores followed: A Halo for Athuan and The Everlasting Secret Family. All three were also released on CD. His cantata In the Shrubbery was first performed in 1991 by The Song Company and recorded on the Tall Poppies label.

In 2000, he won the Gregynog (Wales) Composer of the Year award with Three Divine Poems of John Donne for choir and piano. Bremner composed the music for the BBC radio play Don Quixote and for a production of Midsummer Night's Dream at the Beirut Festival. The orchestral work Symphony - from a Western Movie was inspired by film music. With poet/novelist Thomas Shapcott, he co-wrote the opera White Stag of Exile, describing his style as 'unashamedly lyrical and accessible, perhaps somewhat like Prokofiev'.

Bremner arranged and orchestrated many works including a new orchestration (with Christopher Palmer) of Minkus's Don Quixote for the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden; The Gondoliers for 8 instruments for Opera Factory Zurich; and a reconstruction of the famous Friedhofer score for William Wyler's film The Best Years of our Lives. He was well-known in the industry also for conducting re-recordings of several classic film scores, including Citizen Kane and Lawrence of Arabia.

> Tony Bremner - AMC profile


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