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Stewart Copeland

Stewart Copeland's Orchestral Ben Hur

Stewart Copeland - Ben Hur
Stewart Copeland's Orchestral Ben Hur

Set to the 1925 MGM Epic Silent Film
With the Virginia Arts Festival Orchestra
Richard Kaufmann, Conductor
Starring Ramon Navarro
Directed by Fred Niblo
Adapted for concert by Stewart Copeland 

Saturday, April 19, 8:00 PM
Chrysler Hall, Norfolk
Tickets $60 Gold Circle, $45, $35, $20

His innovative grooves have driven the music of seminal rock band The Police to the top of the charts for the better part of two decades—but percussionist Stewart Copeland is also an accomplished composer. He has written for films (including Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble´Čüsh and Oliver Stone's Wall Street), operas (including The Tell Tale Heart for London's Royal Opera House), concerts, and ballets. Now, in the Easter weekend World Premiere performance co-commissioned by Virginia Arts Festival, you can hear this groundbreaking American musician perform in his new score to a 90 minute edited version of the 1925 MGM silent epic 'Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ'—performed live with Virginia Arts Festival Orchestra!

Buy tickets here.

Original post on

Stewart Copeland Guests On DrumChannel

Legendary drummer Stewart Copeland of The Police will be making his first-ever appearance live on on September 24 at 6:00 PM PT. Joined by Cobus Potgieter, Copeland will discuss some of his recent projects including the Dare to Drum Kickstarter campaign and "Sacred Grove" YouTube project. He will also get behind the kit and break down some of his grooves on The Police's biggest hits.

From by Jordan Liffengren

Interview - Mike Howlett

The story of the Police began with a man, who asked the three boys to join him on a project he had in 1977. This man id Mike Howlett, and here is an interview he made for LiSting some weeks ago.

Mike Howlet is now a lecturer in Music Technology nowadays at two universities - University of Glamorgan in Cardiff where he teaches his own module on Record Production to 3rd Year students, and at Thames Valley University in London where he teaches MIDI and Synthesis to 1st Year students. Mike is also in the final year of his PhD which is an analysis of five of his hit productions. He's also currently Chairman of the Music Producers Guild, which represents producers in the music industry.     

Mike Howlett-How long have you been into music ?
I started playing the guitar when I was 11 years old and formed my first band in Sydney, Australia when I was 12.

-How did you meet with Sting and Andy Summers ?
I met Andy first when he came to visit Gong in 1974 = we were living on a farm in Witney, Oxfordshire by then, having moved from living in a hunting lodge in a forest near Sens in France earlier that year. I first met Sting in 1976 when I accompanied my girlfriend at the time, Carol Wilson, Manager of Virgin Music Publishers, to check out Last Exit in Newcastle. Sting, of course, was the lead singer and bass player. Carol liked the band and tried to persuade them to move to London where she could get record companies to see them more easily. She signed Sting as a songwriter to Virgin and helped to fund his move to London - the rest of the band didn't want to move.

Strontium 90-How did you start the Strontium90 project ?
I saw Andy again at a party in London in January 1977 - he had been in California for 2 years studying classical guitar and said he didn't understand what was happening in the London music scene then, because the Sex Pistols and The Clash were exploding over the country and the new Punk scene was really kicking off. I told him I was recording a demo for Virgin Records of my songs and did he want to play on them - he said yes! I had already asked Sting to sing on the demo - I had been helping him move into his London flat in Notting Hill Gate with his wife Frances and new baby.

-Was it supposed to be a "oneshot" band, I mean you only performed once...
Actually, we did three gigs - the first was a Gong reunion at the Hippodrome in Paris - that was the first time Sting, Andy and Stewart played together on stage - some of those tracks are available on the CD "Police Academy" on Sting's Pangaea record label. After that we played a couple of clubs in London.

-How did Sting convinced you to recruit Stewart Copeland, after the choice of Chris Cutler ?
I didn't need convincing - what happened was Chris Cutler was going to play on the recordings, but Henry Cow (his group) had a gig in Czechoslavkia (I think) at the last minute and Sting said why not use Stewart - I said yes straight away.

-Why the name "Strontium90" ? Is that about the result of a nuclear fusion of various musicians ?
The idea was that we were "hot" and dangerous!

Mike Howlett-How many songs did you record with Sting, Andy and Stew ?
We recorded five songs in the studio in London and one extra song by Stewart at the Gong gig at the Hippodrome.

-Then, "Radio actors" Could you tell us more about this other project ?
This was a project started by Harry Williamson to make a protest song about nuclear missiles - I had been playing with Nik Turner from Hawkwind on a project called "Sphinx" and invited him to play and I asked Sting to sing on it - we just made the recording and I don't think we did any gigs.

-Did you happen to jam with Sting these last years ?
I have not spoken to him since 1989 when I met him at a music awards show in London. I went to see The Police at Twickenham stadium in September last year at the invitation of Andy. I spoke to Andy and Stewart, but Sting said he wanted to see me but by the time I had seen Andy and Stewart backstage before the show he sent a message apologising but he had to get ready to play. After the show I spoke more with Stewart but Sting and Andy didn't come out to the Green Room party.

-You also had producing activity - French fans may not know about that, but you produced Julien Clerc...
Yes, I enjoyed working with Julien, Francoise Hardy sang some extra vocals on that album "Les Aventure a l'Eau", which was exciting for me! I also had a number 1 hit in France with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark in 1980 and in 1981 with "Souvenir", and another hit with Valerie LaGrange in 1978 or 79. I also won a Grammy for A Flock of Seagulls in 1982 and had other hits.

-Gong is one of the most well known progressive rock band. How long did you play with them ?
I joined Gong in 1973 and left in 1976, then played at the Hippodrome reunion in 1977. I didn't play with them again until the 25th Birthday Party reunion in London in 1994. Then in 1995 I had a dinner with Andy Summers and he told me about an American agent who I contacted and he set up a US tour for Gong in 1996 - between 1996 and 2001 we toured the US four times, Japan three times, and Europe six times. Then we played in Amsterdam in 2006 - a three day Gong Fest at the Melkweg with many Gong family groups and finally Gong with the 1973 line up - except for Pierre Moerlen, who, sadly, died in 2005. We will be playing in London on June 14 this year at the request of Massive Attack, who are curating a series of shows at the South Bank Centre - it is called Meltdown, and every year a famous artist chooses their favourite bands for this - recent years have been curated by Jarvis Cocker, Pattie Smith, Morrissey, David Bowie, Jeff Beck... Gong is also playing on June 15 at the Forum in London.

Mike Howlett-What are your favorite instruments ?
My favourite instrument is my original 1962 Fender Precision bass guitar - I never recorded a better sounding bass, and I worked with a number of fine bass players over the years as producer - Tony Levin and Pino Paladino among them. I also like synthesizers - AMS Synthi-A, Mini Moog, ARP 2000, Juno Alpha 2 - and now I like many virtual synths - Sculpture, Maelstrom, Nord Modular - and the Hammond B3. Any instrument that is played well - Jimi Hendrix' Stratocaster...     

-What are your current projects ?
I have a band called House of Thandoy - - we always improvise funky space jazz groove thing and record the jams in my shed studio and have played mostly at festivals like Glastonbury and Eastern Haze. We are available for anything in France if you like!

I also play every two weeks in a country rock band called The Deputies - we have a regular night called Club Acoustica at a pub in Twickenham -

Thanks to LiSting forum member for being involved in this interview !


Stewart Copeland - Inside MusiCast episode on Soundcloud

How is it that a drummer for one of the most influential rock bands in history finds himself largely rejecting his pop music past to pursue a career as composer, authoring a prolific series of film scores, operas, and ballets? That’s what happened with Stewart Copeland. From his founding of the Police with Sting and Henri Padovani, who was later replaced by Andy Summers, Copeland has enjoyed a career that has been injected with creativity, unpredictability and surprising opportunity. Along with his collaborations with artists such as Peter Gabriel, Roger Daltry, Mike Rutherford, Tom Waits, and Stanley Clarke and Deborah Holland of Animal Logic, today Copeland’s open-minded approach keeps him constantly connected with new creative opportunities. His credits are too long to mention, and his position as one of the best musicians in the modern music era lives on. Inside MusiCast is pleased to welcome Stewart Copeland.

Click here to listen :



Dare to Drum: A Documentary Film

Dare to Drum: A Documentary Film

A Musical Journey with Stewart Copeland, D'Drum, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

DARE TO DRUM is the documentary film that will tell the story of a musical journey, embarked upon by Stewart Copeland and Dallas- based World Percussion group D’Drum, with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

Stewart Copeland, the legendary drummer and founder of the hugely influential band, The Police, was just completing his participation in their long-awaited world reunion tour in 2008, when he received an invitation to compose a major work for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
The work was commissioned to feature the World Percussion group D’Drum.

Gamelan D’Drum, the 37 minute Concerto for World Percussion and Orchestra in Three Movements, is the result of the nearly three year collaboration between Copeland and D'Drum. Deriving its name from the musical ensembles of Bali and Java, this ambitious work plays the central part in the story as the eye of the storm, both literally and figuratively.

This film will focus on the creation of the work, along with telling the story of the 20-year transcultural mission by D’Drum to digest the music of Indonesia, Africa, Persia, and beyond that preceded the inception of this musical project and subsequent film. Stewart Copeland’s role as composer fused D'Drum's unique percussive concoction and concepts with notes for the orchestra, bringing together disparate worlds of pitch, harmony and polyrhythm. The result reconciles exotic instruments and tunings with staging and choreography - music that must be seen to be heard.

All along the way, an intimidating question hung like a dark cloud: would the work meet the high bar of excellence set by Jaap van Zweden, the Maestro of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, recognized as Conductor of the Year in 2012?

And then suddenly the daring adventure became an even more daunting proposition when Mother Nature reared her head, unleashing a crippling ice storm that brought Dallas to its knees and threatened to destroy the world premiere they had been working toward.

This is the story of how five drummers, a rock star, and a major symphony orchestra found their day in the sun.

This film will be told from the perspective of the creative forces involved - Stewart Copeland as composer, Jaap van Zweden as conductor, and the members of D'Drum as performing artists. We have three years of HD footage, starting with the first brainstorming meetings between Copeland and D'Drum, through multiple rehearsals and recording sessions, culminating with revealing the work to Maestro Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony.

Additional footage includes trips to Bali to have custom-made instruments crafted specifically for this work, along with the one and only performance that made it through the unprecedented ice storm that shut down Dallas the week of the world premiere of Gamelan D'Drum.     

A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Stewart Copeland has also composed music for operas, ballets, symphonic works, film scores and TV shows since the early '80's  with the debut of his Golden Globe nominated score for Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish. Here are just a few of his works:

    The Tell Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, Long Beach Opera

    Holy Blood and Crescent Moon, Cleveland Opera
    Prey' Ballet, Oklahoma Ballet
    Noah's Ark/Solcheeka, Seattle Symphony
    King Lear, San Francisco Ballet
    Rumble Fish, Francis Ford Coppola
    Wall Street, Oliver Stone
    Talk Radio, Oliver Stone
    Simpatico, Sam Shepard
    Desperate Housewives
    The Equalizer
    Dead Like Me

Now we have to put it all together to make a compelling and unique film.

Here is why we need the $95,000.

Multiple Post Production costs including:

*    Camera crew for existing work and additional interviews to be shot with Stewart Copeland, Maestro Jaap Van Zweden, members of D'Drum, and others.

*    Editing

*    Graphics

*    Audio mixing

*    Color correction and finishing costs

*   DVD authoring, duplication

*    Licensing of performance by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

*    Legal and accounting

*    Travel for interviews


Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. Every month, tens of thousands of people pledge millions of dollars in money to creative projects in dozens of categories. In return for your donation, we are able to offer thank you gifts, depending on the amount that you pledge. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully funded or no money changes hands. In other words, if we don’t raise our goal of $95,000, we lose everything. A Kickstarter campaign is a lot like the opening weekend of a movie release; the better you do at the beginning, the better you do overall. So if you are considering backing us, please don’t delay!


Read through the pledge levels and decide what you want to donate. We are extremely fortunate to have a multitude of sponsors. But that means that we have a really long list of pledge levels. So please scroll all the way down and read everything through before you decide. We have some great rewards: whether you are a fan of Stewart Copeland, a supporter of great orchestras such as the Dallas Symphony, or a fan of D'Drum and world percussion, there is something there for you. Once you decide what level to choose, just click the green “Back This Project” button in the upper right-hand corner. You will be asked to input your pledge amount and select a reward. From there, you will go through the Amazon checkout process. You must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. Best ways to share this campaign and our trailer: A short email. We are asking everyone to send an email to at least ten friends. On Facebook you can "share" or click the "Like" button directly below the video at the top of the screen. Or paste the URL straight onto your page with a message! On Twitter you can also tweet out the video - once again by clicking the button under the video or simply sharing the direct URL for this page. Or you can use whatever platform you’re on: Google +, tumblr, your blog, your podcast. All forms are welcome, even pounding out the message on a hollow log. Old fashioned word-of-mouth works too - just talk with people in your lives about it! Few things beat a genuine, face-to-face conversation. Again, any way you can help - big or small - is deeply appreciated! The more conversations we can start, the better.



We get nothing! You aren't charged and we don't receive any of the funding.   


We have about 75% of filming (HD VIDEO) completed, but we have remaining interviews to do with Stewart Copeland, Jaap van Zweden, and the members of D'Drum. Our Kickstarter campaign will enable us to finish shooting, pay the orchestra members a Musicians Union-specified license fee, mix the music and audio, and edit the film.


Can I increase my pledge once it’s been made?

YES! Once you donate to our campaign, you may want to change your incentive reward to a different one, or increase your pledge amount. To do so, go to Kickstarter and sign in. If you go to our campaign page, the green “Back This Project” button has been replaced with a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount, or choose a new incentive.


We make a larger impact on thousands more people! We will funnel those funds back into the film to make the best movie possible, probably a longer film, hire PR firms who can get the film into film festivals around the world, and make deals with broadcast channels.


Yes! Just click on the Amazon Payment Button and you will see that you can pay with a credit card from any country! But you must finish the Amazon checkout process for your pledge to be recorded. If you have any problems just contact us.


Absolutely! If you have already contributed, and are signed in to your account, then instead of a green “Back This Project” button on our page, there should be a blue “Manage Your Donation” button.


Gifting is a great idea! After the campaign, when we message you for details on your rewards, you can then give us the information for the person you wish to gift.


Once the campaign is successful, your pledge will be processed by Amazon. It's safe and secure - Amazon is one of the premier online retailers.  
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

This project has the support of professionals from the film, music, and media communities in Dallas and all over the U.S. The most important work has been documented, so with your help as a contributor, finishing out the body of this film will happen because it means so much to the musicians and fans who celebrate orchestras, percussion, and world music, along with Stewart Copeland and The Police.

John Bryant has served as Executive Producer of his production company, Bryant-Hames Productions, for over 25 years, guiding post-production teams through dozens of documentary and feature films for Showtime, PBS, National Geographic, and countless cable TV shows. We will get most of the givebacks to donors soon after the campaign is over. Our target completion date for the film is fall 2014, so givebacks involving a copy of the film will take a bit longer. But we made it through the ice storm....and we'll make it through this!

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