Ron Goodwin

The son of a policeman, Ron Goodwin was born in Plymouth, Devon in England on February 17, 1925.  He started piano lessons at the age of five, but it wasn’t until he was eleven and went to a school with an orchestra that he developed his love for music and learned to play the trumpet.  He entered the field of music professionally in 1943 as a copyist and then an arranger for the publisher Campbell, Connelly & Co. Ltd. 

In 1945, he started a five-year stint as the head of the arranging department at Bron Associated Publishers, where he arranged for the leading British broadcasting bands and orchestras, including Ted Heath and the BBC Dance Orchestra conducted by Stanley Black; he also conducted and arranged for vocal artists such as Petula Clark and Jimmy Young. In 1950 Goodwin was hired as musical director for the Parlophone Record Company, where he was musical director for George Martin, accompanying many top artists like Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and Sophia Loren.

After broadcasting and recording as “Ron Goodwin And His Concert Orchestra,” he got his chance to score his first movie, an industrial film about an oil refinery called The Corrington Achievement, and after a few other documentaries he started scoring features, the first being 1958’s Whirlpool.  He began composing and conducting for MGM British Studios in 1960, and wrote music for over 60 feature films, including Battle of Britain, Beauty and the Beast, Escape From the Dark, Force 10 From Navarone, Frenzy, Lancelot and Guinevere, The Little Mermaid, Murder at the Gallop, Of Human Bondage, One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing, Operation Crossbow, Postman’s Knock, The Selfish Giant, 633 Squadron, The Spaceman and King Arthur, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, The Trap (whose music was adopted as BBC TV’s London Marathon theme), and Where Eagles Dare.

Goodwin made a lot of recordings of both his and other artists’ music, and he broadcasted frequently with the BBC Radio Orchestra and the BBC Concert Orchestra.  He appeared as guest conductor with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, and the Australian Pops Orchestra.  Some of his compositions are “The Time Traveller Suite” for concert band, “Freefall” for symphony orchestra, “The White Rabbit” for brass ensemble, and “The Church At Ashford Hill” for church organ.  His arrangements include “Stepping Out With Fred Astaire,” “Songs Of Sinatra,” and “James Bond Movie Themes.”  Goodwin devoted time working with various Youth Orchestras including the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra, the City of Birmingham School’s Concert Orchestra, and the Worthing Youth Orchestra.  He was a Board member of the Young Persons’ Concert Foundation, a Fellow of the City of Leeds College of Music, and a Freeman of the City of London. He received three Ivor Novello Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. 

The composer was married to wife Heather, and he enjoyed walking his dogs every day, as well as the occasional game of chess. He passed away on January 8, 2003. 

 

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