Steve Pretty is a composer, musician and performer with work crossing many disciplines. As bandleader of Hackney Colliery Band (‘one of the greatest live bands that we have in this country’ – BBC Radio 2) he has co-written and produced five critically-acclaimed albums which ‘reinvent the brass band format for the 21st century’ (Times), and collaborated with musicians including Angelique Kidjo, Mulatu Astatke, Madness, Bugge Wessetoft and Jamie Cullum.
In 2012, he arranged and led the band playing a 45 minute set at the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony, and recent HCB live shows include sold out shows at Barbican Hall and Koko, as well as extensive European touring.
Steve’s ongoing work includes Musical Director at Shakespeare’s Globe (2019-present), and composed and MDed Professor Brian Cox and Robin Ince’s live shows at the Royal Albert Hall and Hammersmith Apollo since 2013, which has included working with everyone from Apollo astronauts to The Cure, and often incorporated unusual music technology including laser harps and remotely-triggered robot timpani. Commissions include Royal Albert Hall (Sea Shambles, 2020), Wilton’s Music Hall (Music 4All, 2020) and Imperial War Museum (2018).
His solo show Steve Pretty on The Origin of the Pieces and podcast House Music with Steve Pretty point to an enduring fascination with the origin and purpose of music. His particular passion for connecting the musically ancient and ultra modern has seen him work with electronically-manipulated conch shells, create drones out of everyday kitchen sounds and, prompted by the pandemic, even host possibly the world’s first remotely-controlled acoustic jam session using a combination of musical robotics, cunning music programming and computer networking (King’s Place, 2020).
In the few short years since his move into media composition, he has scored Channel 5’s first original drama – Cold Call (2019), written for Channel 4 – Extreme Diet Hotel (2018), arranged for Danny Boyle’s forthcoming Pistol series (2021), and scored commercials for clients including National Lottery and Bird’s Eye. He has also produced and mixed records for rock bands, hip hop acts, techno artists and classical and jazz ensembles.
Whilst perhaps still best-known as a contemporary brass specialist, his embrace of cutting-edge electronics and electro-acoustics, combined with his experience and passion for collaboration across multiple genres demonstrate that he has both range and depth, whilst his work in theatre, comedy and science communication show his passion for working with diverse partners in telling great stories.