I do music and performance and stuff

Hello. I am Steve Pretty. This is my website, on which I attempt to explain my confusing 'career' to you. I do mostly performance,  music composition, arranging and production, and sometimes photography and writing.

If you're confused, think how I feel.

Filtering by Tag: musical direction

Brian and Robin's Compendium of Reason 2017

Another year, another amazing December gig at the Hammersmith Apollo. Thanks to these gigs, I am now on first name terms with at least one astronaut, and have played my own weird brand of melodic electro jazz freakery (or something) to 4500 unsuspecting science and comedy fans on a yearly basis.

This year, I brought the full HCB along again, and we closed the show with a rendition of No Stars  from Twin Peaks then Murder on the Dancefloor with the absolutely lovely Sophie Ellis Bextor. I thought it'd be fun to march out through the crowd, so that's what we did...

Here's a video of the last bit; spot the cameos by some of the world's leading scientists and comedians.

On Mass

I am once again Musical Supervisor for the frankly extraordinary On Mass project at the Roundhouse, part of the London Jazz Festival 2017, and featuring very special guest Angelique Kidjo. I'm very excited to be working with Angelique and all 180 young people involved in the project. It's going to be absolutely amazing! Tickets available now for the show in the main space of the Roundhouse on 12th November.

Part of the EFG London Jazz Festival and led by three-time time Grammy award winner Angelique Kidjo. On Mass brings together professional and emerging music and performance artists from around the world, to collaborate with home-grown talent including London's top carnival band Kinetika Bloco, Sadler's Wells acclaimed hip hop festival Breakin' Convention, Battersea Art Centre's Beat Box Academy and music collectives.

Circa Tsuica at Warwick Arts Centre

In February/March 2016 I was a visiting artist at Warwick Arts Centre, where I worked with the incredible French circus heroes Circa Tsuica and the brilliant University of Warwick Big Band.

Warwick is my alma mater, and I was musical director of the Big Band for four years, so it was a real treat going back to work with them. The band are sounding better than ever, and we all had a blast working with Circa Tsuica's musical director Camille Secheppet. As well as being a superb sax player, Camille specialises in sound painting, and the band and I learned a great deal about this really interesting way of working with both improvised and written music.


The show was nothing short of breathtaking, with superb musicianship on display...all whilst doing acrobatics, riding bikes backwards with five people on board and upside-down cloud swinging. Extraordinary talent, and a brilliantly inventive, funny show. The moment when we all performed on stage together for the finale was one of my favourite moments of 2016 so far.

Here's a little demo video of the guys. It's great, but, y'know, it's much better in person.

Brian and Robin's Christmas Compendium of Reason

I once again MDed for Robin Ince and Brian Cox's two shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, and once again had the privilege of working with some truly amazing people. Quite apart from all the legendary scientists and comedians on the bill (think Sophie Scott, Andrea Sella, Dara Ó Briain, Sara Pascoe et al), I had the chance to arrange music for, amongst others, Alison Moyet, Charlotte Church and, for the second time, astronaut Chris Hadfield.

It was also my first time arranging for string quartet, as we were joined by concert violinist Jack Liebeck and his colleagues. Slightly intimidating having my first music for string quartet being played by world class players, but it was a real treat, and I now want to add strings to everything.

Oh, and as usual, TV science bloke and physicist Brian Cox was the pianist. 

Thanks as always to Brian and Robin for having me, and to the band for a lot of patience and hard work.