One of the UK’s most talented conductors has taken on a new choir – just weeks after working on the new Sony Playstation 4 advertisement watched by millions of fans.
The University of Manchester has announced the appointment of Robert Guy from Gorton as conductor of its Chorus and as a tutor of choral conducting in its prestigious music faculty.
It comes hot on the heels of his leading the world famous Manchester Camerata orchestra in a recording of a haunting new theme tune for Sony Playstation 4.
Dubbed The King, the gripping TV and cinema advertisement brings Robert’s conducting skills to the ears of computer gamers all around the globe. A two minute You Tube posting of the dramatic commercial has already had nearly four million views.
“It’s my biggest audience yet!” laughed Robert, who is originally from North Wales.
He is thrilled about his new role with the university and at having had the opportunity to work with the world class instrumentalists of Manchester Camerata for the first time.
He said: “I was so very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. I happened to be guest conducting with Manchester Camerata when they were commissioned to provide the orchestral music for the Playstation 4 advertisement. So they asked me to conduct at the recording over several days. It was totally unexpected and completely amazing.”
The theme tune #PS4King was specially composed for the commercial with choir vocals later added onto the orchestral music.
Robert said: “The whole advertisement was done over several days, building up in layers to produce a fantastic finished article. It was very much Playstation’s baby, with Sony taking control of the whole creation, but our contribution took about one and a half hours to complete, at Manchester’s 80 Hertz recording studio.”
The renowned studio’s other clients include film studios, Warner Brothers and 20th Century Fox, along with international TV networks, producers of hit shows, Dr Who and The X Factor, and chart topping bands, The Script and New Order.
Robert said: “Ironically I don’t play computer games and I rarely get chance to go to the cinema, but, nevertheless, I’m thrilled to have worked on such a phenomenal undertaking. I’d love to do more projects like that.”
The next highlight for Robert will be a Viennese Gala with the NEW Sinfonia orchestra which he founded with his brother Jonathan, a clarinetist.
The glittering event at St Giles Church in Wrexham at 3pm on January 2, will showcase arias from classic operas including La Boheme, La Traviata, Die Fledermaus and Turandot and feature singers from the North Wales Opera Studio directed by global operatic star Anne Williams King.
According to Robert, joining the team at Manchester university, of which he is a former student, was the perfect job for him. He will replace Justin Doyle who has gone on to take charge of the Berlin RIAS Chamber Choir (Kammerchor).
Robert said: “I was an undergraduate at the university before going on to do my post graduate course at the Royal Northern College of Music, also in Manchester.
“I’m hugely honoured to have been appointed Conductor to the University of Manchester Chorus and it will be a privilege for me to work with outstanding students from all over the world.”
The university’s head of music, Professor Camden Reeves, said: “Since graduating eight years ago he has carved out an impressive career as a choral and orchestral conductor.
“Rob has exciting ideas for where to take the Chorus in the future, so watch this space. The future looks very bright indeed.”
Robert conducts his first concert with the Chorus on March 25, 2017.
He said: “I have some big shoes to fill. I greatly admire Justin’s work and over the last few years he has set the benchmark very high in Manchester.
The appointment is the culmination of a successful 12 months for the 29 year old, hailed by Royal composer Paul Mealor as being among the most skilled young conductors in Britain.
It follows on from a string of occasions over the last 12 months which saw Robert propelled into the spotlight.
Not least of those was being invited to be a guest conductor with Manchester Camerata, working with Norwegian trumpet virtuoso Tine Thing Helseth.
He said: “It was my first professional engagement with a pro orchestra and I confess to having wanted to shout about it from the rooftops. I conducted a new piece called Seven Halts on the Somme written by Deborah Pritchard. It was commissioned especially for the Manchester Camerata and Tine, and it premiered at the 2016 Lichfield Festival.”
In summer Robert celebrated winning a coveted place on a masterclass in choral conducting at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, in Germany, working with esteemed conductor Simon Halsey and Nicolas Fink, choir director of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Choir.
He said: “Simon is choral director with the City of Birmingham Symphony chorus and the London Symphony Chorus. It was so fortuitous to have the chance to learn from him and Nicolas, two modern day leaders in the choral field. I couldn’t have wished for better inspiration. The masterclass was perfect preparation for my new role in Manchester.”
The University of Manchester appointment adds to an already extensive repertoire for Robert who is principal conductor of Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra and tutor in conducting at the University of Huddersfield.
He conducts the Orchestra of Square Chapel in Halifax, and is musical director of Cantorion Rhos Mixed Choir, as well as being the artistic director and conductor of NEW Sinfonia.
He said: “NEW Sinfonia is something of which Jonathan and I are extremely proud and, whatever else we do in our careers, we remain committed to turning it into the flagship orchestra of North Wales and are looking forward to the Viennese Gala concert on January 2.”
NEW Sinfonia Viennese gala concert, St Giles Church, Wrexham, January 2, 3pm. For tickets visit www.newsinfonia.org.uk or go the Tourist Information Centre in Wrexham.