SJM editor Charlie Anderson spoke to One World Orchestra’s trombonist and musical director, Paul Nieman, about the band’s development and their upcoming concert at Brighton Unitarian Church.
How did you first get involved with One World Orchestra?
“Well, I was in Paul Busby’s Big Band for a long time, in fact since the beginning of it. Paul Busby retired in 2016 and he gave us his whole pad and said ‘do you want to continue?’, and collectively most of us said yes. So basically, I picked up the reins of the One World Orchestra from there. But I’m not on my own. We’ve got a kind of steering committee, but I direct it musically.”
How has it developed since then?
“There are a huge number of compositions by Paul Busby and in fact 4 suites and a whole load of miscellaneous numbers.
We’ve done a small number of concerts since we swapped over. I think it’s developing pretty well, and it’s now getting to the point where various other people are going to be writing for the band, including myself and David Beebee. It’s gradually picking up its own identity.”
What’s the orchestra working on at the moment?
“We’re working towards a concert on Saturday November 10th at the Unitarian Church in Brighton. It’s going to be called Bonfire!. We’re looking forward to it and we hope it will be filmed. It’s actually a charitable event, supporting two charities. One is the Clocktower Sanctuary, which supports young homeless people in Brighton and Hove, and the other charity is Thousand 4 1000, or more formally Brighton Migrant Solidarity, which looks after the interests of a number of migrants around Brighton who need their help.”
Where do you see it going in the future?
“That’s a good question, because along the way, one or two people have left and one or two people have joined, so I don’t know. One thing I see, is it extending its repertoire. We’ve already got a huge selection of music because we’ve inherited it from Paul Busby, but we’re doing more original music. One direction I would like to see it move in, is working with other artists, such as painters, photographers or doing some kind of audio-visual presentation. I’d really like to see that happen but we need a bit more financial muscle in order to put things like that on.”
The repertoire of the band?
“This gig coming up may be the last gig that we play all Paul Busby material. Gradually we’re going to expand into playing other people’s material, including mine and David Beebee’s, and anyone else who might present us with something.”
Of the Paul Busby pieces that you’re doing, is there one in particular that stands out?
“In terms of the programming, Paul’s titles are very interesting. They usually contain puns and they often have some kind of geographical reference as Paul Busby has geography in his background. There’s one which I think is particularly moving, called Refugee.”
“One is called Bonfire!, hence the title. Another one is called The Trump Shall Sound which is satirical and chaotic. As you might have guessed, it has something to do with Donald Trump but it’s also got something to do with Purcell’s composition The Trumpet Shall Sound so it’s a bit mad. Another title is The Boy’s Toys which is about Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea.”
Where can we find out more?
“Quite a lot of information can be found on the website. Even the titles of the suites are interesting. The Watermill Jazz Suite, that was a commission from the Watermill Jazz Club and that was what triggered Paul to write in suites, rather than individual pieces of music. He was commissioned to write the Watermill Jazz Suite to commemorate their 50th anniversary and then he wrote the Brighton Suite, then the East Sussex Suite. You can see that they were getting bigger and bigger. And finally he wrote the One World Suite. That’s where we take our name from.”
The One World Orchestra perform Bonfire! at Brighton Unitarian Church on Saturday 10th November, 2018.