The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) recently hosted the annual Cultural Affairs Awards of the Western Cape at the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town. Dr Trevor Jones, born-and-raised in District Six, was one of the esteemed guests and collected a Ministerial Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to film composition.
I spoke to Trevor before he boarded a plane to Marseille – to collect another award for his extraordinary contribution to the world of music – to find out a little more about what makes our prodigal son tick.
When are you happiest?
Thinking about music while mucking about in the stables of our rescue horses. Nothing like horse poop to make you realise that, as fertilizer, it’s more valuable than you are.
What does music mean to you?
Communicating emotion through organised sound.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?
Helping to clear the narrative and bring out the meaning of a scene by writing music with the appropriate emotional weight.
Are you famous?
I hope not!
What do you think of when you are writing a score?
Am I making the audience feel what the screenwriter and director intend and how can I surpass their expectations and achieve this in an original way?
What drives you: ego or humility?
A bit of both.
Leonardo da Vinci, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Alan Turing, my Uncle Norman.
Which living person do you admire most and why?
Sir Timothy Berners Lee the inventor of the World Wide Web. The internet has changed communication forever and he has given it to the world freely with no patent and no royalties due.
It’s your round, what are you drinking?
As much as possible.
What makes you stand out?
My need to educate the next generation.My interest in the world, in people, in love and death.
Jim Henson, Trevor Jones
Pop (my wife). Swee-tart (my wife). Dood (my grandchildren). Uncle Treasure (my nieces).
If you were not a composer, what would you do?
Stay in bed and take the fluff out of my belly-button then make films, paint and write.
Pick five words to describe yourself?
Obsessive, passionate, reclusive, dedicated and confused.
Five favourite albums of all time?
The Dream of Gerontius – Edward Elgar Kind of Blue – Miles Davis Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd Bridge over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel Elgar: Cello Concerto – Sea Pictures by Jacqueline Du Pré/Dame Janet Baker/Sir John Barbirolli
What changed your life?
My wife and children. The realisation that life and all living things are a miracle. My scholarship to the Royal Academy of music and my mentors.
Favourite fashion garment?
The award-winningtie, designed by my son Caspar, to celebrate the UK’s hosting of the EU.
Your greatest achievement?
Nurturing my children and staying solvent.
Heinrich Frans, Dr Trevor Jones, Kyle Shepard, Martin Myers
What do you complain about most often?
What is your fear?
Dying before I’ve written my next piece.
Eating a perfect mango in a cold bath on a hot day.
Wishes and dreams?
I wish that everyone could receive a free education, academic or trade. And for my generation to leave a legacy for future generations free of plastic, unpolluted radioactive material with the natural environment protected by laws controlling carbon emissions, limiting the consequent climate change.
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