Stewart Copeland has spent three decades in the forefront of contemporary music as a rock star, acclaimed film score writer, and composer in the disparate worlds of opera, ballet, world music and chamber music. In 1977, Stewart formed The Police, a band that became a defining force in rock music. He spent twenty years as a successful film and TV composer, working for the likes of Francis Ford Coppola on Rumblefish and Oliver Stone on Wall Street. Stewart went on to form Animal Logic with Stanley Clarke and Oysterhead with Trey Anastasio and Les Claypool, meanwhile finding time to win the Archie David Cup with his polo team. His first opera, “Holy Blood and the Crescent Moon” was commissioned for the Cleveland Opera in 1989. In April 2011 he wrote a short opera based on the Edgar Allen Poe story “The Tell-Tale Heart,” which premiered at the Royal Opera House in London.
February 2017 saw the world premiere of Stewart’s fifth opera, “The Invention of Morel,” co-commissioned by Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera with a libretto by Jonathan Moore. Described as “a brilliant piece of musical surrealism” by the Chicago Tribune, “The Invention of Morel” will receive its west coast premiere by Long Beach Opera in March 2018. Other highlights of recent seasons include the premiere of “Tyrant’s Crush,” a percussion concerto featuring Stewart as soloist alongside the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Colorado Symphony, the San Antonio Symphony, and the New West Symphony; and a new score to the 1925 silent film classic “Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ,” which received its world premiere at the Virginia Arts Festival in 2014, with subsequent performances in Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles. Recently, Stewart joined forces with concert pianist Jon Kimura Parker, Met Opera orchestra violinist Yoon Kwon, bassist Marlon Martinez, and EVI player Judd Miller for a rock-meets-classical quintet with a highly eclectic repertoire including interpretations of music by Stravinsky, The Police, Debussy and Aphex Twin.
In 2017, Stewart and King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew founded Gizmodrome, a new supergroup that also includes Level 42 bassist Mark King and Italian keyboardist Vittorio Cosma. The group’s self-titled debut album was released September 15, 2017 and was described by Consequence of Sound as “an album that rattles and grooves with the palpable joy of geniuses at work.”
Awards include the keys to the city of Milan, New York, Dallas and Melpignano. Knighthood (Chevalier of the Order of Arts & Letters) in France, five Grammys and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Through it all, a sense of humor and appreciation for his utterly unique career has shone through as he has enjoyed working in a remarkable array of genres.
Articles by Stewart Copeland:
Since I started writing “classical” music, the main challenge has been getting the flood in my head down on the page in the orchestra’s language.