Garyʼs career composing music for drama spans 40 years and encompasses scores for the leading UK theatre companies, West End and Broadway productions, radio, television and film.
Gary was born in London in 1954. After graduating from Hull University, where he read Music and Drama, he sustained a career as an actor-musician until 1991, when he gave up the limelight to focus primarily on composing.
His theatre scores include many for the Royal Shakespeare Company (where he is an Associate Artist), the National Theatre, West End (including the English-language premieres of Yasmina Reza’s plays Art, The Unexpected Man, Life x 3 and God of Carnage) and Broadway (2009 Drama Desk nomination for The Norman Conquests). In 2016 he became an Associate Artist of the Old Vic Theatre Company.
His movie work has been for Mike Leigh. Their collaboration began with Topsy-Turvy (1999), on which Gary was musical director. Then came the scores for Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), Another Year (2010, gaining Gary a nomination as European Film Award Best Composer), the short film A Running Jump (2012), and Mr Turner (2014), for which Gary was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award, an ASCAP Composer’s Choice award, and an Academy Award for Best Original Score. He is currently working on Mr Leigh’s latest film.
Gary has written for BBC radio since 1979, his first appearances being as a singer-songwriter. Since then he has composed for many plays, including The Odyssey, Gawain and the Green Knight, The Theban Plays, The Winter’s Tale, The Eve of St Agnes, Three Men in a Boat, as well as the 2002 Sony-award winning Autumn Journal. For Radio 3 he translated and dramatised Pushkin’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, and contributed a new work, Orwell on Kipling, for the arts magazine programme The Verb.
TV work ranges from detective drama (Trial and Retribution IX & X) through theme music (The Heritage Game, The Good Neighbour Show) to children’s cartoon series (James the Cat, Painted Tails, Ebb and Flo).
For dance, his work includes Get A Move On (1994), choreographed by Jonathan Lunn at the New Performance Gallery, San Francisco; and Ma Vie En Rose (2007) choreographed by Ayse Tashkiran, directed by Pete Harris, at the Young Vic theatre, London; and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2017) for Northern Ballet, choreographed by Daniel de Andrade.
Gary curates and presents OscarⓇ Scores at the Barbican Arts Centre in London. He also works as a writer, translator, musical director and teacher
*Photo by Manuel Harlan