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Robert Ramskill

Composer and Arranger

About the composer and arranger

Robert Ramskil

ROBERT RAMSKILL (BMus, MMus, PhD)

Composer and arranger



Categories of output include:




Robert Ramskill was born in Leeds in 1950. He studied music at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.

In 1975 he moved to Coventry to work as a music lecturer, initially at the Coventry School of Music and, from 1996, as Course Director for the music degree courses at Coventry University (achieving the status of Principal Lecturer in the process).

During this time he feels that he has played a small part in making new generations of music students aware of the importance of traditional musical values. At the same time he has enjoyed the great personal benefits that working with young musicians for 34 years have brought in ensuring that he has always kept in touch with contemporary developments in music. In August 2009 he retired from his teaching post and now works as a free-lance composer and arranger. In July 2010 he was awarded a PhD by Portfolio by Coventry University.


Robert Ramskill has developed a style of composition which combines jazz influences with classical forms to produce works which are of serious intent but which audiences find approachable and enjoyable. The main themes of his output have been the writing of works for piano, for brass (solo and ensemble) and for orchestra though he has also composed a number of chamber and choral works. Notable recent works include ‘Jazz Impromptu’ for violin and piano (performed in the Purcell Room in December 2001 by Adam and Catherine Summerhayes, and also commercially recorded by them on the Sargasso label) and ‘3 Bagatelles for 2 Pianos’ (played by Julian Hellaby and Peter Noke at venues in Coventry, Dartington, Lancaster, Leicester, Radley and at the CBSO Centre in Birmingham in May 2004). A commercial recording of this work was released in April 2007 on the Maestro Sound and Vision label.


Another strand within Robert Ramskill’s output has been the production of many works for youth orchestras (and other groups of young musicians) which have been much enjoyed for their integration of lyrical appeal and rhythmic excitement with contemporary idioms. These works are considered challenging yet rewarding. A notable example of this aspect of his output is ‘Music for the Film of the Book’, a 20 minute piece commissioned by the Birmingham Schools’ Concert Orchestra and first performed by them in May 2002 in the Adrian Boult Hall, Birmingham. His ´Jabberwocky Suite´ for orchestra was given its first performance by Coventry Youth Orchestra as part its 50th anniversary concert in July 2012.

Again in ‘educational’ vein, Robert Ramskill has written some 40 albums of music for brass instruments for the publisher Brasswind Publications (see www.brasswindpublications.co.uk). Pieces from the solo albums involved here have been set by all the major music practical examination boards since the late 1980’s. He has also had works published by Boosey and Hawkes, by Warwick Music (see www.warwickmusic.com ) and by Trinity College.


In addition to his work as a composer, Robert Ramskill is also much in demand as an arranger, most notably perhaps, in his work as one the regular arrangers for BBC Television ‘Songs of Praise’ programme (with, at a rough estimate, a total of 250 arrangements to his credit to date). These arrangements have included several written for large choral/orchestral forces assembled in the Albert Hall for such programmes as the ‘Songs of Praise 40th Anniversary’ and ‘The Big Sing’. Solo singers for whom he has written orchestral or band arrangements include Lesley Garrett, Katherine Jenkins, Aled Jones, Darius Danesh and Jonathan Ansell.


Here is Katherine Jenkins singing Robert´s arrangement of Love Divine in the Songs of Praise 50th anniversary programme from Alexandra Palace in 2011:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCeR1n9iEzU


And here is Darius Danesh singing I need thee every hour in a Songs of Praise ´Big Sing´ from theAlbert Hall in 2008. This was the second part of a three part ´Moody and Sankey´ arrangement Robert wrote for the occasion:


www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzICiNARxq8

Here is Julian Hellaby playing Nocturne: