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This is the website of Elizabeth Purnell, a Bristol-based composer & sound designer working in theatre, film, tv and radio.

Starting work on STF’s new season - Hamlet and All’s Well - in Bristol then touring spring/summer 2016
Recent: Orchestrator, The Hollow Crown, BBC Shakespeare drama (2016)
Part time tutor, National Film and TV School, Beaconsfield
Part time Lecturer, University of Bristol Music Department - film music orchestration MA

*STOP PRESS* ‘Mighty Beast’ Radio 3 has won the 2014 Radio Academy Award - GOLD in Best Doc/Feature category

*STOP PRESS* JUST won runner up in Neil Davidge’s remix competition for ‘Sensor’

click here:


Originally from London, I have been based in Bristol since completing my M.A. at Bristol University. I have been widely commissioned, having written a song cycle for the Brunel Ensemble and two South West Arts commissions. I mainly work in the field of incidental music, having a strong association with the BBC and the Tobacco Factory Theatre in Bristol.

As an orchestrator with over 40 film and TV projects to my name, I am in demand for feature films, TV Drama, pop arrangements and BBC natural history series, including many BAFTA winning David Attenborough series.

You can contact me by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


With over 40 feature film and TV projects, including a Novello Award winner and Oscar nominated score, I have had a busy few years, having my arrangements played by the Philharmonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, London Philharmonic,  Munich Symphony Orchestra, City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Recent work includes conducting my orchestratons of the music for ‘MADAGASCAR’ with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and ‘Frozen Planet’ with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

In the area of natural history music, I have orchestrated the music for the latest three David Attenborough ‘Life of..’ groundbreaking series and conducted two concerts of live music to film featuring these scores at St. George’s, Bristol, plus veteran Bristol composer Edward WIlliams’ music for the original ‘Life on Earth’.

I conducted and arranged music for the Colston Hall ‘INVADA’ night featuring my orchestrations for the band Crippled Black Phoenix, as part of a festival to mark the opening of the new foyer.

I have arranged many pieces for other ensembles, including the Bristol Brass Consort, the latest being Duke Ellington’s ‘Sacred Concert’ and movements from ‘West Side Story’.

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    Conducting Credits

  • Living with Elephants - (BBC)
  • Big Bear Week -
  • Life in the Undergrowth -
  • Life in Cold Blood -
  • SWRDA commercial -
  • Wild Caribbean -
  • Honey Hunters -
  • INVADA NIGHT Colston Hall, featuring Crippled Black Phoenix -
  • Madagascar - BBC National Orchestra of Wales -
  • AFRICA BBC Concert Orchestra - Emmy Nomination
  • Attenborough, 60 Years in the Wild -
  • Festival of Birds at St George’s -
  • Festival of Nature - Wildlife music to Picture at St Georges -
  • Crickley Hall - BBC -
  • The Fear (C4) -
  • Beyonce-Life is but a Dream -
  • The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries (ITV) - conductor
  • The Hollow Crown - -BBC Shakespeare trilogy, with BBCNOW
  • Pop

  • Jethro Tull/Ian Anderson - orchestrations, European Tour and DVD play
  • Peter Gabriel - OVO brass arrangements
  • Piers Partridge - Snow Song, Christmas Single
  • Peter Gabriel - Jools Holland Show, string arrangements play
  • Crippled Black Phoenix - live concert arrangements -
  • Feature Films

  • The Meerkat - music Sarah Class
  • Manolete - music Dan Jones
  • Moliere - music Federic Talgorn
  • Lilacs - music Dan Jones
  • In Tranzit - music Dan Jones
  • Brave Story - music Ben Watkins
  • Jericho Mansions - music Dan Jones
  • Four Last Songs - music Dan Jones
  • Max - music Dan Jones (winner 2004 Novello Award for film music)
  • Earthling - music Dan Jones
  • Shadow of the Vampire - music Dan Jones play
  • Lazarus Child - music Jack Lenz
  • Trance - music Dan Jones
  • Tomorrow La Scala - music Dan Jones
  • Olympic Spirit - music Jack Lenz
  • Sahara - music Dan Jones
  • Salgado - the Spectre of Hope - music Dan Jones
  • Anazapta - music Dan Jones
  • Beyonce - Life is but a Dream - HBO - Music by Ben Salisbury
  • Reunie - Orchestrator
  • TV / Other

  • Harry Potter computer game - music James Hannigan
  • Honey Hunters - (BBC), music Will Slater play
  • Fable II - computer game
  • Living with Elephants - (BBC), music David Poore
  • Nature of Britain - (BBC)
  • Inspector Linley Mysteries - music Andy Price
  • WIld Caribbean - (BBC) music David Lowe
  • Standard Music Library - music Ben Salisbury and Tim Saul
  • Tonto Woman - music Dan Jones (Oscar nomination for short film)
  • Life in the Undergrowth - BBC David Attenborough Series, music Ben Salisbury and David Poore
  • Catwoman’ computer game - music James Hannigan
  • The Life of Mammals - BBC David Attenborough Series, music Ben Salisbury and Dan Jones
  • South West Development Agency commercial - music David Poore
  • The Grand - (Granada TV series) music Roger Bolton
  • Strange - (Granada TV) music Dan Jones play
  • Congo - (BBC) music Ben Salisbury
  • The Edge of the Sea (C4) - music Roger Bolton
  • Sacred Concert - music Duke Ellington
  • Humpback Whales (BBC) - music Roger Bolton
  • Kosovo - music Dan Jones
  • Music for the Bath Youth Olympics - Roger Bolton
  • Movements from ‘West Side Story’ - for Bristol Brass Consort
  • Enterprise Culture - BBC Features
  • Streets Apart - BBC Features
  • The Antiques Show - BBC Features
  • The Aristocracy (BBC) - music Roger Bolton
  • Antiques Roadshow Collection - music Paul Reade
  • Life in Cold Blood - BBC David Attenborough Series, music Ben Salisbury and David Poore
  • The Perfect Predator - music Ben Salisbury
  • Any Human Heart - Channel 4 - Orchestration
  • Madagascar - BBC (EMMY Nominated) - music by Sarah Class
  • Frozen Planet - (BBC) music by Barnaby Taylor
  • National Theatre - The Kitchen - Orchestrations - Waltz
  • AFRICA - Emmy Nomination - music, Sarah Class
  • Attenborough, 60 Years in the Wild - music, Ben Salisbury
  • Crickley Hall - music Dan Jones -
  • The Town - music Dan Jones
  • The Fear (C4) - music by Dan Jones
  • Hansel and Gretel - Score for National Ballet, Covent Garden
  • Wild Canada - Music by Barnaby Taylor
  • Music for the 2014 Paraylmpics- UK launch - music by Dan Jones
  • The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries (ITV) - music by Dan Jones
  • National Theatre - Treasure Island (2015) - Orchestration
  • The Four Fridas (loutdoor theatre spectacular) - orchestrator
  • The Hollow Crown (Henry VI pt 1&2, Richard III) - music by Dan Jones

theatre music & sound

Delighted to be working on music and sound for Hamlet and All’s Well that Ends Well for the next season of STF in Bristol
From my soundcloud page:

  Mardian’s song from Anthony and Cleopatra by Liz Purnell

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    Show of Strength Theatre

  • The Camp - sound design
  • The Wills’ Girls - sound design
  • Barbican BITE Festival

  • Macbeth - (MD) - music and sound design
  • Aberystwyth Arts Centre

  • Kindertransport - music and sound design
  • Tobacco Factory Productions

  • A Christmas Carol - musical director, composer. 2008 play
  • School for Wives - music and sound design (MD)
  • Topless Mum in Dead Hero Shocker - sound design
  • Robin Hood - music and sound design play
  • Treasure Island - music and sound design
  • Secret Garden - sound design
  • Searchlights over Bemmy - sound design
  • Woyzeck - music and sound design play
  • Steppng out Theatre

  • The Most Effective Drum - MD/Composer
  • Bush Theatre

  • Our New Girl - -music and sound
  • Passenger Shed, Bristol (WTC CIC)

  • Walking the Chains - - composer/MD
  • Liverpool Playhouse

  • A View from the Bridge - composer
  • Splice Productions

  • Under Milk Wood - - music and sound design
  • Full Beam Visual Theatre

  • The Lesser Spotted Collector’s Club - music and sound design
  • Bristol Old Vic

  • The Misanthrope - sound design
  • The Bristol Do -  Portland Square

  • Ghosts of Portland Square - Surround soundscape - outdoor theatre event
  • Angle Theatre - Hackney Empire

  • Khadija is 18 - music and sound design
  • The Sea at Night - music and sound design
  • Commercial Road - - music and sound design
  • The Place, London

  • Dr. Faustus - music and sound design
  • Kaos Theatre

  • The Tell Tale Heart - music and sound design
  • Virtual Morality - music and sound design
  • Dr. Faustus - music and sound design
  • Medea - music and sound design
  • Rondo Theatre, Bath

  • Searchlights Over Bemmy - Sound design
  • Ustinov Theatre, Bath

  • Knives in Hens - music and sound design play
  • Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory

  • School for Scandal - Composer/MD
  • As You Like It - Composer/MD
  • Richard III - music and sound
  • The Cherry Orchard - music and sound
  • King Lear - music and sound
  • Comedy of Errors - - music and sound design (MD)
  • Richard II - - music and sound design
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream - - music and sound design
  • Anthony and Cleopatra - music and sound design
  • Hamlet - sound design (Dir: Jonathan Miller)
  • Othello - music and sound design
  • Much Ado About Nothing - music and sound design play
  • Love’s Labour’s Lost - music and sound design
  • Three Sisters - sound design
  • Macbeth - music and sound design
  • Troilus and Cressida - music and sound design
  • Twelfth Night - music and sound design
  • Coriolanus - music

film - radio - tv

Delighted to have just finished the music for ‘Anthony and Cleopatra’ for Radio 3 drama, to be aired on Easter Sunday, starring Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston

Some audio clips from my soundcloud page..
Urban Walk


** STOP PRESS** I leading an improvised film score afternoon in the contemporary music weekend at the Colston Hall on 8th May 2011 upstairs bar.. bring an instrument and join in…

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    BBC Radio 4 Drama

  • The Once and Future King - -music
  • Martin Beck - detective series - - music
  • A Triton Amongst the Minnows - play
  • The Element of Water - written by Stevie Davies play
  • She - (Classic Serial) play
  • BBC Radio 3

  • Anthony and Cleopatra (ft. Kenneth Branagh) - (ft. Kenneth Branagh)
  • Mighty Beast - for 'Between the Ears" (2014 Radio Academy Award winner)
  • A Season in Hell - 'A Season in Hell' - Between the Ears featuring Robert Wyatt
  • Short Film

  • Lifeline - music
  • Scratching the Surface - dir. Nathan Hughes for the Watershed
  • Mary Ball - dir. Richard da Costa for Dramatic Solutions
  • Murmuration - a short by Elizabeth Purnell play
  • Billy’s Day Out - dir. Anne Marie McCormack play
  • Mindgames and Playgrounds - dir. Geoff Marriott for Zagreus Films
  • TV

  • The Great Fire - co-composer
  • These Four Walls-Stories from Breadline Britain - Guardian Media for BBC4
  • The Town ITV - (additional music)
  • Poverty Films - music for short films on the Guardian website
  • The Right Club - - music, Channel 4
  • A Bitter Inheritance - BBC Features play
  • Wiildlife on One - BBC Natural History play
  • VATV - Granada TV
  • The Roadshow Collection - stings (BBC)

concert works

With my origins in the area of contemporary classical music, I have had commissions from a variety of different groups, and my interest in acousmatic music has resulted in many works including ‘Homage to an Industrial Past’ which was constructed from recordings made from the ship’s bell in Bristol Industrial Museum, became a finalist in the BBC TALENT competition and was premiered on Radio 3 and at UNESCO in Paris.

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previous work

  • Fanfare for the Matthew - Bristol Brass Consort commission play
  • Sanctus - for SATB, 3 trombones and organ
  • An Arundel Tomb - for soprano, piano and cello
  • Horn Concerto
  • Palindrome - for solo piccolo
  • For Gabriel - electroacoustic piece (broadcast on R3)
  • Murmuration - for string trio, video and soundbeam play
  • Homage to an Industrial Past - electroacoustic piece, (finalist in BBC talent competition and broadcast on R3) play
  • Such Furious Fires - song cycle (Brunel Ensemble Commission-Jennifer Maybee soprano) play
  • String Quartet - Finalist in Gregynog Festival competition
  • Plant Magic Dust - for soprano and string quartet
  • Wetland Water Wings - for ensemble and soundbeam
  • Not Waving but Drowning - Brighton Festival commission
  • And You, Helen - for soprano and piano
  • Music for Metal Instruments - Bristol Brass Consort commission
  • Careless Talk Costs Lives - for brass ensemble and tape (South West Arts Commission)


Led a semi improvised musical score to Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic, ‘Metropolis’ as part of the Colston Hall’s Contemporary music festival, May 2011.

Perfornined in the Elektrostatik vs. Arnolfini weekend - 9th April 2011 in a concert celebrating the groundbreaking programming of the venue 40 years ago, with music by Cardew, Stockhausen, Reich etc. and recording an afternoon workshop to ‘mash up’ in the evening concert.

I am a trombonist and hammer dulcimer player.

gig- 16th December at St George’s with RESONATION CONTEMPORARY JAZZ ENSEMBLE

recent - Electric Water performance of Cardew’s graphic score of “Treatise’ as part of the Electrostatik series in Colston Hall 2

Electric Water Bristol

This is a South West Arts project exploring new electroacoustic sounds and how they work when presented live to early underwater natural history films. The musicians are the duo of Elizabeth Purnell on hammer dulcimer and electronics, and Andy Keep on feedback electronics, sometimes augmented with other members according to the project. For this set of concerts we accompany films from the 1930s to the 60s by Jean Painleve. Some of these films were originally scored by such electronic music innovators as Pierre Henry, and the modern electroacoustic sounds we create today also marry particularly well with these grainy images of strange underwater worlds. Plans are to expand the ensemble to make site-specific large scale outdoor performances with newly commissioned film.

Bristol Brass Consort

I play trombone in the Bristol Brass Consort, who are entering their 25th year, and a fruitful ongoing association has resulted in many pieces and arrangements, the latest of which is Duke Ellington's 'Sacred Concert'.

The group has a lottery-funded CD 'Music for Metal Instruments' available from their website, featuring my commission of the same title, and my 'Fanfare for the Matthew' written to celebrate the launch of the ship in 1997.

Other Projects

Brandon Hill Orchestra, Resonation Big Band - contemporary jazz ensemble

Metropolis improvised film score event

semi improvised music score to 'Metropolis' Colston Hall Contemporary music festival


I am involved in various education projects including the acclaimed ‘Sound Inventors’ programme under the SPNM.  Another recent project involved storytelling and music workshops with accordionist Richard Hughes and storyteller Martin Maudsley as a 10 week residency at the Bristol Children’s Hospital, resulting in a permanent sound installation containing the children’s stories from the sessions.

  • The Ballad of the Bourneville - Devising music for Theatre Orchard show on the Bourneville Estate, WSM
  • ELEKTRODOME - commission for Caldwell School, Walsall: Forest Song - Primary School piece derived from sounds and recordings made by the students, performed using Soundbeam technology.
  • Part time Lecturer - Orchestration, Bristol University MA Course
  • Lead Composer - Sound Inventors (SPNM) residential course
  • Assistant Composer - Sound Inventors (SPNM): Cornwall Schools
  • Brass Teacher - Avon Music Service, 1993-1997
  • Lead Composer - Sound Inventors (SPNM): Bedford Schools

my blog

new showreel - 11 quicktime movies below…

Innocence 1

Innocence 2

Urbis Vertigo City

Urbis lake

Sounds of Summer

Water Fairies

A Bitter Inheritance

Robert Wyatt sings ‘Far from the Birds and Cattle’ from my Radio 3 work - ‘A Season in Hell’

Robert Wyatt sings ‘O Saisons O Chateaux’ from my Radio 3 work - ‘A Season in Hell’

Robert Wyatt sings ‘Let it Come’ from my Radio 3 work - ‘A Season in Hell’


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posted by Liz, 5 years, 6 months, 1 day, 13 hours, 2 minutes ago