High Point Episode 023:


Sam Watts



The Traitors


Marc chats with film and television composer Sam Watts!


You might have heard his work on hit shows like Doctor Who: Tales of the TARDIS, The Traitors, Planet Earth, and The Sarah Jane Adventures. He’s spent over 20 years in the industry creating music for science fiction, fantasy, reality, drama, horror, documentary, and much more.


Sam has worked with Bad Wolf, BBC, HBO, PBS, NBC Universal and many more clients. His work has led to accolades including Emmys, BAFTAs, RTS, TCA, Peabody, Saturn, and Producers Guild awards.


He discusses his early career, meeting George Fenton while studying at university, then later Russel T Davies, and learning about networking and the value of working with nice people in the industry. Sam and Marc also share their personal experience of walking the fine line between successful networking and pestering.


Sam gives his insights on the importance of ethical journalism in documentary making, which he learnt about when working with Anthony Thomas on the 2010 film ‘For Neda’.


The conversation covers topics such as kindness, communication, adaptability, and diversity in the context of the TV show Traitors and Sam shares insights on treating others as they wish to be treated, adapting communication styles, and the power of listening and respect.


Though information on the making of the show is tightly guarded, Sam still gives us a peek behind the curtain and discusses his experiences working with Claudia Winkleman and the importance of recognising the contributions of behind-the-scenes professionals. He also shares insights into the process of composing and recording music for TV shows, including the time and budget constraints involved, as well as being candid about how possible it is to make a living as a composer.


Finally, they discuss some of his favourite venues and recording studios.


Find out more about Sam on his website and keep up to date with his projects on Instagram.


For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

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High Point Episode 022:


Ben Morales Frost


computer science


film music


Marc sits down with Ben Morales Frost, film composer, theatre composer, orchestrator and arranger with credits on blockbuster projects Wonka, Argylle, Mission:Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, and Kuther.

The conversation delves into the mental health benefits of hobbies necessitating concentration, such as playing instruments, alongside the cognitive advantages of engaging in music from a young age, and how he now balances his passion with the busyness of modern life and the necessity of creativity in professional growth, advocating for consistent practice over natural talent in a career in music.

Ben shares his trajectory from computer science to film and theatre composition, underscoring the importance of curiosity in musical development.

Abbey Road Studios’ legendary status and the intricacies of orchestrating music for films are explored, as well as uncovering a never before heard Beatles song, and how the emerging role of AI in music production allowed them to bring it to life.

Reflecting on London’s classical music scene, they contemplate its cultural footprint and the need for accessibility and rebranding to engage modern audiences, and what the UK as a whole can do to ensure that the quality buildings and venues reflects that of it’s orchestras and historical musical importance.

 They also discuss:

  • The role of curiosity and exploration in learning music
  • Ben’s Formal Musical Education
  • The Importance of Grit
  • How accessible is it to write music?
  • Creativity and deviating from Rules
  • From theatre stage management to music composition
  • Having the courage to switch career paths multiple times
  • Productivity within a creative industry
  • Talent vs. Determination
  • Song writing and different interpretations
  • The state of concert halls in London

Learn more about Ben on his website.

For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

You can listen to the podcast on the following platforms:


or watch the videos below


High Point Episode 021:


Gavin Higgins

Using music

as a self therapy


Marc delves into the extraordinary career of composer Gavin Higgins, hailed by critics as “boldly imaginative,” “a talent to watch,” and “one of the most interesting voices of his generation.”


Born in Gloucestershire in 1983, Higgins’ musical journey began at Chetham’s School of Music and continued through prestigious institutions like The Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal College of Music.


His portfolio boasts remarkable compositions, including the acclaimed “Der Aufstand” and “Velocity” premiered at the BBC Proms, and the Ivor Novello Award-winning trombone concerto, “The Book of Miracles.” Notable for his diverse range, Higgins’ works span from operas like “The Monstrous Child” to dynamic brass pieces deeply rooted in his working-class brass band heritage. 

As the inaugural Music Fellow for the Rambert Dance Company, Higgins crafted mesmerising ballet scores, earning accolades for works like “Dark Arteries.” His debut album, “Ekstasis,” showcases his chamber music prowess, described as “seductively sinewy” and “sensuously gritty.”


Gavin talks about how being diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and OCD as a child helped him use music a self therapy, as well as the challenges around general misconceptions of Tourette’s.


With the UK’s arts and culture sector facing mounting challenges, including funding constraints and limited opportunities, Marc and Gavin explore the imperative need for broader conversations, particularly surrounding diversity and class representation within the arts.


They explore the personal growth and development fostered by music engagement, regardless of proficiency level or instrument choice. While underscoring the pressing need for increased funding, support, and investment in both music education and accessible venues, we also spotlight the transformative potential of community-driven initiatives.

Find out more about Gavin on his website or Instagram.


For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

You can listen to the podcast on the following platforms:


or watch the videos below


High Point Episode 020:


Vincent Jamal Hooper

Making my

broadway debut

as Simba 


We speak with Vincent Jamal Hooper, star of Broadway’s The Lion King as he shares his journey from a small town in Texas to the Broadway stage.

He recounts his early experiences in regional theatre and the pivotal moment when he declared his Broadway ambitions.

Vincent discusses his background, including his upbringing and his initial involvement in sports before discovering his passion for musical theatre.

He reflects on the discipline and hard work required to pursue his dreams, drawing parallels between his approach to acting and his past experiences in football and basketball.

Vincent’s determination leads him to audition for.

In the Heights, catching the attention of the Hamilton production team (including show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda), and going on to his current role as Simba in the Broadway production of The Lion King.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Vincent’s upbringing in Texas and his early involvement in football and basketball.
  • Discovering a love for theatre in high school and how his athletic background influenced the transition.
  • Navigating the challenges of pursuing a career in the performing arts without formal training.
  • Landing roles in regional theatre productions and honing his craft through dedication and hard work.
  • The pivotal moment when Vincent sets his sights on Broadway, leading him to audition for The Lion King.
  • Overcoming setbacks and rejections in the audition process and ultimately securing the role of Simba.
  • The exhilarating experience of joining the cast of The Lion King and working alongside Broadway professionals.
  • Vincent’s reflections on the importance of perseverance, self-belief, and seizing opportunities in the pursuit of his dreams.


Learn more about The Lion King broadway production and follow Vincent on Instagram.

For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

You can listen to the podcast on the following platforms:


or watch the videos below

victoria williamson - you are music - book -- music is a super skill - performing arts centre - sustainable theatres - acoustics - concert halls - acoustic design - podcast - high point podcast


High Point Episode 019:


Victoria Williamson

Music is a super skill


We chat with Dr. Victoria Williamson, a leading expert in the psychology and neuroscience of music, as she takes us on a journey through the pages of her book, ‘You Are the Music,’ where she unravels the intricate relationship between music, education, and human development.

Drawing from her extensive expertise, Dr. Williamson shares insights into the profound impact of music education and its far-reaching effects on cognition, emotion, and social interaction. Through personal anecdotes and research findings, she illuminates the motivations behind her exploration of this multifaceted subject, offering a compelling narrative that resonates with both scholars and enthusiasts alike.

From the disputed Mozart effect to the modern-day challenges posed by excessive screen time, Dr. Williamson sheds light on the nuanced interplay between music, technology, and child development and explores the diverse benefits of musical engagement, from enhancing motor skills to fostering creativity and resilience, emphasising the pivotal role of educators in nurturing these talents.

We also delve deeper into the parallels between music and sports, examining their respective impacts on individual performance and overall wellbeing. Engaging in the age-old debate of nature versus nurture, she unpacks the complex dynamics at play, offering fresh perspectives on how these disciplines shape our identities and trajectories as well as the profound emotional and social benefits of musical and athletic pursuits, particularly during the formative years of childhood.

Dr. Williamson sheds light on the therapeutic potential of music, its ability to regulate mood, and its unique capacity to evoke memories and emotions, especially during the tumultuous adolescent years.

Dr. Williamson leaves us with a powerful message: that music isn’t just a pastime or a form of entertainment but a fundamental aspect of human experience, essential for our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Whether as a form of mental training or a source of solace and support, music has the transformative power to enrich our lives in ways we never imagined.

Buy ‘You Are the Music’ on Amazon

For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

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High Point Episode 018:


Dame Evelyn Glennie

Developing our sense of curiosity


“My career and my life have been about listening in the deepest possible sense. Losing my hearing meant learning how to listen differently, to discover features of sound I hadn’t realised existed. Losing my hearing made me a better listener.”

Dame Evelyn Glennie is the first person in history to create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest orchestras and artists. Evelyn has commissioned over 200 new works for solo percussion and has recorded over 40 CDs. She regularly provides masterclasses and consultations to inspire the next generation of musicians.

Leading 1000 drummers, Evelyn had a prominent role in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games which featured a new instrument, the Glennie Concert Aluphone.

Evelyn was awarded an OBE in 1993 and has over 100 international awards to date, including 2 GRAMMY’s, the Polar Music Prize, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize and the Companion of Honour. She was appointed as the first female President of Help Musicians. Since 2021 she has been Chancellor of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Evelyn curates for The Evelyn Glennie Collection which includes in excess of 3,800 percussion instruments. The film Touch the Sound and TED Talk are key testimonies to her unique and innovative approach to sound-creation. She continues her life-long mission to Teach the World to Listen through her charity The Evelyn Glennie Foundation, which aims to improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover new ways of listening in order to inspire, to create, to engage and to empower.

Evelyn explains how she discovered her impairment, goes in depth on how it affects her hearing, and how she’s been able to excel as a musician despite it.

Discover the fascinating story behind Evelyn’s musical education and the rigorous audition process that propelled her into the spotlight.

Learn why she was drawn to the path of solo percussion and how she balances the pursuit of musical excellence with pure enjoyment.

Explore the significance of scales and rudiments in Evelyn’s practice routine, and gain insight into her unique approach to deliberate practice, honing her craft with precision and dedication. Delve into an in-depth explanation of Evelyn’s impairment, and uncover how she navigates the world of sound by reading people’s faces to better understand their words.


Checkout Evelyn’s podcast and learn more about her and The Evelyn Glennie Collection on her website.

For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

You can listen to the podcast on the following platforms:


or watch the videos below


High Point Episode 017:


Annie Pye

When do we develop our

musical senses


Annie Pye, lecturer in the psychology of music at Manchester University joins us in this episode, where we unravel the nuances of prenatal and newborn musical development. Delving into the age-old tradition of singing to babies and children, we explore the profound impact it has on their cognitive and emotional growth.


We deep dive into the intricacies of voice perception in babies, shedding light on how infants tune into the unique cadences that surround them. We also examine the age-old question: Does exposing children to Mozart’s compositions truly enhance their intelligence?


Our exploration extends to the fascinating realm of pitch perception, demystifying why some individuals find it challenging to sing in tune. Uncover the secrets of perfect pitch and understand the mechanisms that underlie this remarkable ability. As we navigate through the tapestry of musical development, we shine a spotlight on temporal perception, exploring how children interpret rhythm and timing.


Venturing into the emotional landscape of infancy, Annie discusses the development of emotional responses to music, showcasing the power of melodies to evoke profound feelings in the youngest listeners. Our exploration also touches upon the phenomenon of spontaneous singing in children, highlighting the natural inclination for self-expression through song.


The joys and challenges of parenthood take centre stage as we examine the delicate balance between nature and nurture in shaping a child’s musical aptitude.


Whether you’re a parent, educator, or a curious soul intrigued by the harmonious interplay between music and child development, this episode promises a rich tapestry of knowledge and insights.


Links to followup after:


Northern Network for Empirical Music Research


Email Annie: annie.pye@manchester.ac.uk

For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

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High Point Episode 016:


Carol Jarvis 

Touring with cancer…

and surviving it!


Carol Jarvis is a highly sought-after trombonist, keyboardist, arranger, orchestrator, and VoiceOver artist.

Throughout her extensive career, she’s performed with renowned artists like Sting, Queen, Muse, Taylor Swift, and Amy Winehouse, among many others.

She’s performed with esteemed orchestras like the London Symphony Orchestra and contributed to numerous soundtracks for films, commercials, and chart-topping pop tracks. Alongside her musical accomplishments, Carol has been a trombone professor at leading music conservatoires for over sixteen years, delivering masterclasses worldwide at including at the Juilliard School in New York, Lucerne Conservatoire in Switzerland, University of California in Los Angeles, Rice University in Houston, Mexico City University, Lima Conservatoire in Peru and at the Jazz Institute in Graz, Austria.

Additionally, Carol has held prestigious roles in trombone societies and festivals, becoming the first female President of the International Trombone Association in 2023.

At 26, Carol faced stage 2a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Her treatment journey started with ABVD chemotherapy, a tough schedule knocking her back every other week for six months, all the while continuing for work as a touring musician.

After exhausting all treatment avenues, Carol signed up for multiple clinical trials which finally put her in metabolic remission. After receiving a bone-marrow transplant, it took over two years for her blood type to match her donor’s and for her body to start producing blood on its own.

She’s now been cancer free for 12 years. Listen to Carol’s incredible survival story, as well is exploring her astounding career in music. 

Follow Carol on Instagram⁠ and Twitter⁠ find out more on her website, and listen to her podcast on Spotify for her full cancer story, told in her own words.

For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

You can listen to the podcast on the following platforms:


or watch the videos below


High Point Episode 015:


Wayne Hemingway, 

Placemaking and

Fashion Design


Wayne Hemingway, renowned designer and co-founder of fashion label Red or Dead, embarked on a fascinating journey from the world of fashion to becoming a pioneering figure in the realm of placemaking.

Wayne’s initial success with Red or Dead catapulted him into the limelight of the fashion industry. However, his passion for design extended beyond clothing; it encompassed a deep-rooted interest in shaping spaces and communities.

The shift from fashion to placemaking was propelled by a desire to create meaningful and impactful change in urban landscapes. He recognised the power of design in shaping human experiences and sought to channel his creative energy into projects that would transform communities. Collaborating closely with locals, he created sustainable environments that celebrated the area’s identity.

In this episode, we delve into Wayne’s career, exploring how his design prowess transcended fashion. From reimagining the uniforms for Transport for London to revolutionising urban spaces in Gateshead, join us as we unravel the fusion of creativity and community in Hemingway’s transformative projects. 

Learn more about HemingwayDesign on their website

For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

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High Point Episode 014:


Treble Technologies,

architectural acoustic simulation

with Finnur Pind


100x Faster Simulation than the State of the Art…

Step into the world of Treble Technologies, where sound meets innovation. Join us as we chat with founder, Dr. Finnur Pind, as they explore their journey from idea, to revolutionising sound simulation.

  • Discover how Dr. Finnur Pind and Jesper Pedersen turned their passion for sound into Treble Technologies, crafting cutting-edge tools for architects and designers.


  • Explore Treble’s Acoustic Simulation Software that turns complex acoustic modelling into a simple, click-of-a-button experience. See how it’s transforming decision-making in design.


  • Unleashing Possibilities with Treble SDK: Dive into the limitless potential of the Treble SDK, a gateway to endless sound simulation applications, limited only by imagination.


  • Decoding Wave-Based Modeling: Get a sneak peek into the science behind wave-based modelling, the tech driving Treble’s real-time auditory experiences.


  • Explore Treble Technologies’ rise to recognition and the accolades earned for their groundbreaking sound simulation tech.


  • Learn about the challenges faced by Treble in the startup world and how they navigated through the highs and lows.


  • Discover how architects are using Treble’s tech to create better acoustic environments and the perks it brings to their designs.


This episode unveils the secrets behind reshaping the way we hear the world.

Learn more about Treble Technologies and their products on their website.

For more episodes of the High Point podcast, follow⁠⁠ this link⁠⁠ or ⁠⁠this one for Youtube⁠⁠.

You can listen to the podcast on the following platforms:


or watch the videos below