Darren Sproston

Composer, Musicologist and Educator

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Darren Sproston was born in Stafford and studied at the  University of Sheffield  gaining a first class honours degree, the Phillip John Lord Composition Prize, and the Mrs Stewart Blake Dissertation Prize.  He continued his studies under  Professor David Harold Cox  and he obtained his Master of Music degree with distinction (in composition and musicology). This was funded by a British Academy Postgraduate Scholarship. A second scholarship was given in order for further study, resulting in Darren becoming the first composer to be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in original composition from the University of Sheffield.

Darren's first full time post was at the University of Bradford where he was the Fellow in Music.  He returned to the Midlands as Head of Music at Rowley Regis College and following this he was appointed as Principal Lecturer and Head of Music at the University of Wolverhampton. At Leeds College of Music he held the position of Head of Research, Postgraduate Studies and Classical Music for three years before moving to the University of Chester where he is Associate Dean in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of Music.

Darren has composed in a number of genres and styles. His electroacoustic incidental music for Stuart Blackburn's (previously Executive Producer of Coronation Street) Murder!Murder? received a series of performances at the Moscow State Theatre of Nations following performances at Bradford's Theatre-in-the-Mill. Octarine II for saxophone and piano, first performed by Richard Ingham (editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Saxophone) and Alan Cuckston, reveals a more Jazz influenced aspect of his compositional style. Darren first met Richard when he was playing with the Northern Saxophone Quartet who performed another jazz/minimal influenced composition Labyrinth. The more abrasive Invention in Momentum for woodwind quartet performed by the English Serenata uses strict processes to derive musical material which is then developed freely. Darren has enjoyed collaborating with performers such as Rhodri Davies who, with his sister Angharad, performed Spiriti Spenti for harp and violin. He has also worked with the percussionist Debbie Childs who performed two of his works in March 2006: On the Edge for Marimba and string trio and The Persistence of Memory for Drum Kit and Tape which displays some of Darren's eclecticism in its breadth of influence - Lutoslawski, rock drumming styles and Salvador Dali!  Darren has been working with the electro-acoustic ensemble n.one directed by Dale Perkins since 2006. Opaline, After Syrinx and H2angO have been performed by the ensemble in The Venue in Leeds.  Seven, was commissioned and performed by this ensemble as a part of FuseLeeds 09.