Nigel has recently returned from a highly enjoyable visit to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre where he was supervising the recreation of his score for Nell Gwynn, Jessica Swale's Olivier-award-winning musical play which started life at Shakespeare's Globe before transferring to the West End for a sell-out run prior to a UK tour. He also arranged and directed the music for Prince Charles' 70th birthday celebration at Buckingham Palace. Future commissions include a new work for Altrincham Choral Society and pianist Nicholas McCarthy, and continuing performances of Admission: One Shilling (with Dame Patricia Routledge and Piers Lane) and The Food of Love at the Royal Festival Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Elin Manahan Thomas, presented by Sir Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond. The RPO will also be recording a new CD of Nigel's music early in 2019.

September 2015 saw Nigel reunited with director Christopher Luscombe when he composed the score for a new play at Shakespeare's Globe, Nell Gwynn, by Jessica Swale. It was Nigel's fifth production at the Globe, having previously scored The Merry Wives of WindsorRomeo and JulietHenry VIII and The Knight of the Burning Pestle

The production transferred to the Apollo Theatre in London's West End and played there until April 30th 2016, starring Gemma Arterton in the iconic role of Nell, where it won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. The show then undertook a national tour starring Laura Pitt-Pulford and finished back at its original home - Shakespeare's Globe. In September 2018 Nell Gwynn received its North American Premiere at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. 


"It is much helped by Nigel Hess's score, which sets bawdy lyrics to seductive melodies and sends the audience out humming Nell's: "I can dance and I can sing / And I can do the other thing"." Michael Billington, The Guardian ****

"Composer Nigel Hess's gorgeous compositions co-exist organically with a cast who light up the stage." Mark Shenton, The Stage *****

"The play is infused with beautiful music by Nigel Hess." Laura-Jane Foley, London Theatre *****

"Blessed with some ripe comic ditties from Nigel Hess." Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard ****

"Nigel Hess's Purcell-like songs hit every musical target." Warwick Thompson, Blouin ArtInfo

"To have musicians performing live throughout a play is such a luxury; the music performed throughout, written by Nigel Hess, creates the most excitingly magical of atmospheres....I found myself singing as I left the theatre." Andrew Tomlins, West End Frame *****

"The songs (with music composed by Nigel Hess) are inspired....a big hit with the audience." Michaela Clement-Hayes, West End Wilma *****

"Nigel Hess has provided quite fabulous music to bolster the joys here. The tunes are bright, snappy, catchy and exuberant. They feel like they might be sending up the style of the time, in a sort of Spamalot fashion, but it is more than that: the song and dance sections seduce the audience, liven them up and set them up for the darker parts of Gwynn’s tale. The musicians play superbly and the attack of the cast is faultless. For a company of actors, the harmonies are beautifully conveyed, the diction excellent, the style exactly right." Stephen Collins, Live Theatre UK *****

Nigel was honoured and delighted to be asked to arrange and direct the music for the after-dinner entertainment at Prince Charles' 70th birthday celebration at Buckingham Palace on November 14th, 2018, with Christopher Luscombe directing and Guy Unsworth producing. The company included Renee Fleming, Joshua Bell, Alfie Boe, Gary Wilmot and the London Welsh Male Voice Choir.

The same team had previously created the entertainment for Her Majesty the Queen's private 90th birthday celebration at Windsor Castle on April 21st, 2016, which was attended by the entire Royal Family and close friends. On this occasion the company included the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, Nina Conti, Julian Ovenden, Scarlett Strallen, and trumpeters from the RAF Central Band.

For both shows the versatile orchestra, conducted by Nigel from the piano, was provided by Andy Barnwell Musical Co-ordination Services.


The 'Food of Love' project started as a CD collection of Nigel's scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company in new orchestrations performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Due to the success of the album the RPO suggested a live performance, and, with a script written by Nigel, the concert version of 'The Food of Love' was first performed at Cadogan Hall with narrators Dame Judi Dench and Sir Patrick Stewart. As well as Nigel's music, other composers featured included Craig Armstrong, Patrick Doyle, Henry Purcell, William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Stephen Warbeck, with Shakespeare being brought vividly to life as the Bard’s most famous speeches and scandalous backstage anecdotes created a night to remember. Subsequent performances, including a 'command' performance at Buckingham Palace, have featured guest presenters Robert Lindsay, Dame Diana Rigg, Zoe Wanamaker and Gemma Arterton.

The next performance of The Food of Love with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be at London's Royal Festival Hall on April 16th, 2019, and will be presented by Sir Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond.

Nigel's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra received two performances at last year's George Enescu Festival in Romania. The soloist was Vassilis Varvaresos and the Bacau Philharmonic Orchestra was conducted by Cristian Lupes. The performances were on September 20th in Bacau and September 22nd in Bucharest. Nigel attended the Bucharest performance.


"Destined for the classical charts as soon as it hits the shops, this is an immediately affecting work whose three movements, 'The Smile', 'The Love', 'The Duty', sum up three aspects of The Queen Mother's character. The first two are pictorial and tuneful; the third, recalling the Blitz, starts grittily but ends triumphantly. Lang Lang plays with great conviction." - Classic FM Magazine

"As modern piano concertos go, Nigel Hess' has to be one of the most revered. Originally commissioned by the Prince of Wales as a tribute to the memory of the Queen Mother, it has since been recorded by the likes of Lang Lang — testament to its status as a performers' concerto." - Classic FM Hall of Fame 
"I think the second movement is one of the most beautiful slow movements you can find for the piano." - Lang Lang



Every January, Classic FM asks the world to send them their three top classical music pieces. Once voting closes, they count and collate the votes, and broadcast the top 300 across the long Easter weekend.

Never out of the Hall of Fame since their respective releases, 2018's chart saw Nigel's acclaimed film score Ladies in Lavender at number 119, while his Piano Concerto came in at number 148. Ladies in Lavender also clocked in at number 14 in CFM's 2016 Movie Music Chart.

"Nigel Hess' main theme for this 2004 film starring Maggie Smith and Judi Dench is simple and beautiful. Performed by award-winning violinist Joshua Bell and the Royal Philharmonia Orchestra, it is one of the most enduring film scores of recent years." (Classic FM)

"As modern piano concertos go, Nigel Hess' has to be one of the most revered. Originally commissioned by the Prince of Wales as a tribute to the memory of the Queen Mother, it has since been recorded by the likes of Lang Lang — testament to its status as a performers' concerto." (Classic FM)


Nigel was delighted to team up again with director Christopher Luscombe and designer Simon Higlett for the recent Royal Shakespeare Company production of Twelfth Night which played at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. 

Composer Nigel Hess has turned the play’s songs into full-blown musical numbers, sung with gusto, and given the whole thing a cinematic score. [Natasha Tripney, The Stage]

...with supportingly evocative lush compositions from Nigel Hess... [Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph]

This is also a musical - Nigel Hess's Victorian-influenced score is the perfect accompaniment. [Neil Masuda, Sunday Mirror]

Nigel Hess’ music score gave the play a vibrant energy which punctuated the highs and lows of emotion that ripple throughout the play, both in evocative interludes and bright Elizabethan ditties. It is not in the habit of the English theatre audience to erupt in rapturous applause midway through a performance, however, the musical numbers, particularly Ade Edmondson’s ‘Please One and So Please All’, was fuelled by the audience’s enthusiasm and encouragement as each pause brought a sea of laughter and applause. [Holly Reaney, Redbrick]

The new RSC production of Twelfth Night is visually stunning and musically opulent. This, the play by Shakespeare that has most reference to music and its powers, has a lovely and almost non-stop score in the background and foreground throughout. Composer Nigel Hess invokes the musical hall/Gilbert and Sullivan D’Oyly Carte popular entertainments of the late 19th century. Beautiful to look at, lovely to listen to (both the text and the music). [Mel Cooper, Plays To See]

Nigel returned to the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2014 to score two new productions of Love's Labour's Lost and Love's Labour's Won (or Much Ado About Nothing). Both shows saw Nigel reunited with director colleague Christopher Luscombe (Shakespeare's Globe The Merry Wives of Windsor and Nell Gwynn, and Nigel's own Admission: One Shilling and The Food of Love). Both shows opened in the RSC's main theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon on October 15th 2014 to 5-star reviews and played until March 14th 2015.

Both productions then played as part of Chichester Festival Theatre's 2016 season before transferring to the Opera House in Manchester, followed by a sell-out run at the Haymarket Theatre in London's West End.

"A blithe spirit and musicality courses through this smart pairing of Christopher Luscombe-directed productions....the whole bound together with Nigel Hess's winning English pastoral- and operetta-inflected score. The jazz-tinged music is glorious." Patricia Nicol, Sunday Times

"And it’s all perfectly paired with Nigel Hess’ chamber-music soundtrack, a harmony of strings perennially teetering towards kitsch, an ode to a lost England." Fergus Morgan, A Younger Theatre

"Leaves you with a song in your heart: composer Nigel Hess has set ‘Come live with me and be my love’ to a tune Cole Porter would be proud of." Georgina Brown, Daily Mail

"'The Seven Worthies' is adapted into the style of an operetta by composer Nigel Hess whose music beautifully enhances the comedy and drama throughout both shows." Mark Ludmon, British Theatre

"No one captures a musical period or mood quite as skilfully as Nigel Hess, and it’s his score that brings life and atmosphere to Higlett’s sets, filling them with songs that speak of Ivor Novello and Noël Coward – all world-worn romance and surging melodies with music used cinematically, accompanying as well as punctuating scenes." Alexandra Coghlan, The Arts Desk

"Nigel Hess's aching, bitter-sweet score anchors the proceedings in period songs that evoke Gilbert and Sullivan, Ivor Novello and Noel Coward." Paul Taylor, Independent

"Nigel Hess has written a score that in one particular number, Come Live With Me and Be My Love, transcends pastiche of Cole Porter to match the melodic grace of its source." Michael Billington, Guardian

Nigel Hess - Myra Music © 2018