Movie soundtrack composer directs music for Peter Pan

Movie soundtrack composer directs music for Peter Pan
Matt Dunkley is the musical director for the upcoming theatrical production of Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story.


Music composer and arranger Matt Dunkley has dabbled in different media from pop to film Matt Dunkley is not your average music conductor.

He has worked on the music for more than 100 Hollywood films including blockbusters such as The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Inception (2010) and Moulin Rouge (2001); rubbed shoulders with rock, pop and opera music icons U2, Tom Jones and the late Luciano Pavarotti; and even worked on the music for video game Halo 4.

Dunkley, who is married with two sons, began his music career more than 20 years ago as a professional trumpet player and teacher for a few years before he became interested in arranging and composing music.

"I started doing pop string arrangements and conducting, working with artists such as Tom Jones, Pet Shop Boys, U2. This eventually led me to work on film scores and then on to composing. So it's been a bit of a journey," he says.

Now one of the United Kingdom's leading orchestrators, arrangers and conductors, Dunkley attributes his success to simple yet effective methods.

"The key to it all is doing the best work I can and to always push myself, whether I'm arranging, composing, conducting or producing."

The 50-year-old Brit recently directed the music for theatrical production Peter Pan, The Never Ending Story. In this version of the classic tale about the boy who never grows up, the soundtrack has been given a modern twist with popular songs such as Josh Groban's You Raise Me Up and Robbie Williams' Angels.

The production premiered in 2012 in Belgium before going to the Netherlands, the UK and Dubai. It will show here next month at Resorts World Sentosa.

1) You have worked in different media from pop music to film to TV. Which do you prefer?

I have no preference. It's all music. I'm so lucky to do something I love. I love working in music and the different media are just different ways to express the music in me.

2) You worked with big music names including Pet Shop Boys, Tom Jones and U2. Care to share a particularly memorable moment working with them?

I remember the U2 recording session as it was all filmed by a massive crew at the famous Air Studios in London. I spent the day conducting right in front of Bono and The Edge, and sharing jokes with them. At the end of the session, they bought champagne for me and the whole orchestra. They are a class act, those boys.

3) You have worked with Indian maestro A.R. Rahman. What was it like working with him?

I've had the honour to have worked with A.R. Rahman for more than 12 years now on many movies, both in Hollywood and Bollywood.

I'm a huge fan of his music and talent. He is a genius and yet such a gentle and spiritual man.

4) Out of all your works, which is your favourite experience?

It's so difficult to choose. But as I started out as a performer, that never leaves you, and so I'd have to say that conducting an orchestra live in the concert hall is something close to my heart.

I conducted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for two nights at the Sydney Opera House earlier this year in a programme I put together of the film music from Baz Luhrmann's movies. That was an amazing experience.

5) What do you have planned next?

I'm finishing up my first solo album of music for strings. It's been a labour of love for some time, so I'll be going to Berlin in the next couple of months to record that. There are a few film projects that I'm working on and also another theatre project to commemorate the centennial anniversary of World War I, so there's plenty to keep me busy.

6) What is something people would not expect of you?

I love Formula One. I wish I had gone for the Singapore Grand Prix this year.

7) When you are not working, what do you like to do for fun?

I've recently got into road cycling, so I love the long bike rides in the countryside. My job can be quite stressful, so it's a great way to unwind.

8) How would you like to be remembered?

Oh, I don't know... being loved and missed by my family will do just fine.

Book it
Where: Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa
When: Nov 27 to Jan 20 next year, 8pm (weekday except Wednesday), 3 and 8pm (weekend)
Admission: $58, $78, $108, $138 and $168 (excludes Sistic booking fee)
Info: Call 6348-5555 or go to www.rwsentosa. com/peterpan 

This article was first published on Oct 27, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.