About James Nye
He studied music at the University of Surrey, completing dissertations on the music of Thelonious Monk (1987), and Vic Hoyland (1989), and becoming a Master of Music in Analytical Musicology in 1989. Whilst at Surrey, he was twice co-winner of the Joyce Dixcey Award for Composition, and his work transcribing and analysing the music of Thelonious Sphere Monk was recognised when he became the first recipient of the Peter Whittingham Award.
As a composer and performer, he has been active in many fields. His 1990 composition Always Know was selected by the Society for the Promotion of New Music for workshop performance at Music Nova where he was befriended by John Cage. He co-wrote and performed on a couple of tracks for the Mercury Prize nominated album Sunshine Hit Me by the Bees, and has written music for theatre productions at the National Theatre and Almeida.
His interview with Ken Campbell was the beginning of a long friendship, during which Campbell asked him to act as researcher, consultant, and sometimes composer on many of his award-winning one man shows and other projects during the last couple of decades of his life.
Projects with Campbell include transcribing and editing one-man shows Pigspurt, Jamais Vu and Violin Time for publication; research for Jamais Vu, Mystery Bruises, Knocked Sideways, Violin Time, A History of Comedy, Part One: Ventriloquism, and Ken Campbell’s Meaning of Life; consultation for tv documentary series Reality on the Rocks and Brainspotting; research for Whores of Babylon and Joey Grimaldi, King of Clowns; and music for Mystery Bruises (Almeida) and A History of Comedy (National Theatre). In 2004, James Nye directed a film of Ken Campbell’s penultimate one-man show, Ken Campbell’s Meaning of Life – A Letter to Robert Anton Wilson, which will be re-issued on DVD in a memorial version in 2011.
More recently, James Nye has been working on completions and continuations of sketches left by composer Erik Satie. Some of these are available on the CD Erik Satie: Autour des Nocturnes which was produced in collaboration with Jamie Crofts and Professor Robert Orledge. James Nye was also a guest speaker at the 2010 Satie Study Day at Gresham College, London. A further CD of rare and “new” Satie material will be recorded late in 2011.
Current projects include Chain Ferry Soundscapes – a sonic celebration of the Cowes-East Cowes chain ferry (or floating bridge), one of the last of its kind in the UK – and a new version of David Gascoyne’s radiophonic poem Night Thoughts. Amongst many writing projects, James Nye is also working on a surrealist project in collaboration with veteran monster raiser, musician, painter, writer, mentalist and bon viveur Tony ‘Doc’ Shiels. James Nye is a distant cousin of writer Simon Nye.