In 2010 ‘Mendelssohn, The Nazis and Me’ introduced Sheila to the pleasure of working with musicians. Since then she has made numerous films and digital projects, mostly but not all in the classical realm.
Young Carers’ Christmas
Christmas is supposed to be a time when we all become children again, excited by the prospect of celebration and indulgence. But what's it like for those children who have adult responsibilities all year round? This unique project in the West Country helps these young people express their feelings and forget their troubles through composing and performing their own music..
St Christopher’s Hospice Choir
St Christopher's Hospice is the oldest in the UK. Every week, a choir meets in the dining room, to sing to whoever is around. Many of the members discovered it when visiting relatives or friends who subsequently died there, and joining the choir has consoled them and given them an outlet for their feelings. We join them on the last rehearsal before their Christmas concert.
This is a trailer for a BBC TV documentary series for about life inside the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a band of classical musicians trained to the highest level, who nevertheless work gruelling hours with no pension, sick pay or holiday pay, and keep the orchestra's ambitious programming afloat through collaborations with pop stars and the Red Arrows, live accompaniment to feature films, and staging the Last Night of the Proms many times a year, all over Britain..
Pianola Live on Stage at the RFH
The Aurora Orchestra is known for its uniquely innovative and brilliant programmes. One of them included the first ever appearance of a pianola on the stage of the Royal Festival Hall, accompanied by possibly the most venerable beard on the British music scene, so I grabbed my phone.
Words and Music
How does a composer go about setting words to music? And why choose words that seem to be anything but beautiful or poetic? This is the story of two young composers who did just that, for clients of Freedom from Torture whom they had never met. How they imagined themselves into the survivors' worlds, and what the authors made of them, are the subject of this short film.
‘How to Build an Orchestra’
What does it take to make an orchestra - to make young musicians, trained to shine as soloists, collaborate as fluidly as a shoal of fish? That's the purpose of the orchestra that forms each May in the quiet country town of Chipping Campden. The students learn not just musical but social skills from both their mentors and the locals, who open their homes, organise everything from ticketing to the supply of missing shoes, and bake enough cake and flapjack to feed the ravenous army that makes the town anything but quiet for this one week.
MENDELSSOHN, THE NAZIS AND ME
The story of my ancestor Felix Mendelssohn, both Christian and Jew, and of the results of this mixed identity in his life and music, the lives of the family, and all Jews under Nazi Germany. It tells the story of how Mendelssohn was by turns adored and reviled, how the family was driven to desperate lengths to 'prove' the percentage of 'Aryan blood' in their veins under the Third Reich, how Jews were forbidden to listen to 'Aryan' music, and the extraordinary lengths to which the Nazi government went to replace Felix's beloved music to 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', Germany's favourite play.
Body Hack: Viktoria Modesta at MusicTechFest
Somewhere between a tribal gathering, a hack and a cult, Music Tech Fest is best experienced - words can’t do it justice. At the tenth MTF in the former East Berlin Radio HQ, a group of tech wizards and cyborgs transform bionic pop artiste Viktoria Modesta into a transhuman - or maybe post-human - icon.
Sixty-six strangers gather at Somerset House in London, to sing in harmony a brand new song they’ve only practised on their own. Representative of all ages, cultures and regions of British society, their performance is symbolic of both the Utopian ideal of the festival, and of the idea of the census, inaugurated on this site.
Stephen Montague: Palms, Fists and Arms
Christina's programme for her first concert included work by Stephen Montague, a modern American composer who takes Cowell's technique of attacking the piano with every part of the hand and arm to new lengths.
Henry Cowell: American Inventor
Another video for Christina and St John's. Henry Cowell approached the piano as an adventure, playing inside it, plucking the strings and generally making free in a way that Christina wanted to show is both exciting and musically rich. We had fun!
Charles Ives: The Alcotts
One of a set of short videos made for Christina McMaster's residency as Young Artist at St John's Smith Square. Christina was preparing a programme about experimental music of the early 20th century; this one is about the different musical strands and influences in Ives' 'Alcotts' sonata.
Tristan and Isolde
An immersive musical experience in a secret location in London's Docklands. The orchestra wanted to intrigue its followers with the idea of a mysterious journey with a magical end. We had ninety seconds to achieve this.