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David Fanshawe - Biography

DAVID FANSHAWE is the recipient of many international awards, including a Churchill Fellowship, Ivor Novello, ARIA Gold Record, & AFI Best Sound. He is a composer, ethnic sound recordist, guest speaker, record producer, photographer, author, media, film, and TV personality.

"Music and Travel is my trade mark
Life is my source of inspiration
Life inspires me to create
I am a Composer and Explorer"
- David Fanshawe

He was born in 1942 in Devon, England and was educated at St. George's Choir School and Stowe. In 1959 he joined the Film Producers Guild in London, gaining valuable experience as a documentary film editor and sound recordist. In 1965 he won a Foundation Scholarship to the Royal College of Music, studying composition with John Lambert.

His ambition to record indigenous folk music began in the Middle East in 1966 and was intensified on subsequent journeys through North and East Africa (1969-75), resulting in his unique and highly original blend of Music and Travel. In Africa he succeeded in documenting hundreds of tribes, achieving such close rapport with local communities that they gave him special permission to record their performances.

His work has been the subject of biographical documentaries shown on the BBC including: African Sanctus, Arabian Fantasy, Musical Mariner (National Geographic) and Tropical Beat.

Compositions feature his highly acclaimed choral work African Sanctus.  Other concert works include: Dover Castle, Salaams, The Awakening, Dona Nobis Pacem - A Hymn for World Peace, Tarka the Otter, Serenata, Epitaphs, Christmas music and his paean to the new millennium Fanfare to Planet Earth and Millennium March. Latest Compositions include Trafalgar and Tsunami: Lament of the Seas.  He has also written over fifty commercial scores for Film and Television including Rank's Tarka the Otter, BBC's When The Boat Comes In and YTV's Flambards. His recordings feature on films like "Seven Years in Tibet" and "Gangs of New York".

Since 1978, his ten year Odyssey recording across the Pacific ocean has resulted in a monumental archive of 2000 stereo tapes, 950 boxes of coloured slides and 40 volumes of hand-written journals, preserving and documenting the traditional music and oral traditions of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia.

David Fanshawe married Judith Croasdell Grant in 1971, and they had two children Alexander and Rebecca (marriage dissolved 1985).  He married his second wife Jane in 1985, and they had one daughter Rachel.

He died on July 6th 2010 after suffering a stroke. At the time of his death he was working on copying and cataloguing his Pacific Collections, whilst composing his new major work "Pacific Odyssey".