Friday, 15 June 2007

Ben Daglish, musician and composer

Returning to the recent theme of people who have worked in the arts, this week we feature the person who always gets the most results when you enter “Daglish” into Google or any other internet search engine - Ben Daglish.

Ben was born in London in 1966, and became involved in music very early in his life. At the age of 5 or 6 he started playing the penny whistle and the harmonica, encouraged by his mother who, with his father, ran the Three Feathers folk club in London.

He then moved to Sheffield, where he studied oboe and played cornet in the Stannington Brass Band before settling on percussion as his main study. He was principal percussionist for the City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra and later played with the Sheffield Youth Orchestra and the Wolverhampton Symphony Orchestra, performing extensively as both percussionist and conductor. When he was about 17 he found himself listening to the music of Jethro Tull, and on his 18th birthday received a flute as a birthday present - it is the one he still plays today (and probably the one in the photo).

After an abortive stint at Essex University studying maths, Ben started composing music for computer games in the early 1980s, mainly for the Commodore 64 (usually referred to as the C64). This period is particularly well documented on the internet.

Ben moved on to composing what he describes as more "real" music and spent the next five years composing, performing and acting as musical director for a number of theatre shows, due mainly to the influence of his partner Sarah, a theatre director. He has worked with a number of theatre companies (including being Musical Director of the Marlow International Youth Theatre from 1992 to 2000) and performed in a number of Box Clever productions, including the Canterbury Tales around English Heritage sites and a touring version of Merchant Of Venice which toured from Dublin to Jerusalem.

Now living in Derbyshire, Ben plays with a number of bands, including Loscoe State Opera, and is involved with musical and theatrical projects. Ben owns upwards of a hundred different instruments – but still concentrates on whistle, flute, guitar and percussion. He also continuesto work as a computer programmer and analyst.

Loscoe State Opera is a seven piece group which one reviewer described as:

"Classical and Celtic influences along with the combination of traditional instruments with modern electric guitar give LSO a sound that not only crosses genres of music, but a sound that crosses oceans of time, bringing a familiarity from the past to life".

Their summer appearances this year include appearing at the Belper Music Festival on June 30 and at the Stainsby Festival on July 29.

Ben’s family tree stretches back to Morpeth – and he is a distant relation to Neil Daglish, actor - featured below. Both Ben and Neil have kindly agreed to participate in the Daglish DNA Study. We hope that this may help us to understand whether the "Morpeth Daglish" family is related to the Daglishes from County Durham, something that has been difficult to find from paper records.

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