Recipient of the Hollywood Film Festival’s Outstanding Music in Film Visionary Award, the drummer from THE POLICE has been responsible for some of the film world's most innovative and groundbreaking scores. His career as founder and key performer in that celebrated reggae punk trio included the sale of more than 60,000,000 records worldwide, and has won him five Grammy Awards. His travels in search of musical celebration and exotic rhythms have taken him around the world from mysterious Easter Island to the Veldt of Africa and from Mozambique on the Indian Ocean to the outback of Australia.
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This past year, Copeland teamed with PRIMUS' vocalist and bass player Les Claypool, and guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio of PHISH to form OYSTERHEAD with whom he recorded a well-received album on Elektra Records, and toured last October to sold-out houses, who will again perform and tour in the summer of 2003. On the film composing front he had completed his third film in a row for Miramax: “ON THE L”, and MGM's 'DEUCES WILD' for 'BASKET BALL DIARIES' director Scott Kalvert . He had earlier reunited with director Rob Iscove and star Freddy Prinze to score 'BOYS and GIRLS,' the sequel to their 1999 collaboration on the surprise number one hit film-‘SHE’S ALL THAT’. Just prior was the filmed version of Sam Shepard’s ‘SIMPATICO’, a taut drama with Jeff Bridges, Sharon Stone and Nick Nolte, directed by Matthew Warchus.
During his composing career Copeland has had successful collaborations with some of Hollywood's most acclaimed and eclectic directors, including Francis Ford Coppola, Oliver Stone, Kevin Reynolds, Bruce Beresford and John Hughes. He has written several scores for UK cult director Ken Loach. He also composed Brazilian auteur Bruno Barretto's 'FOUR DAYS IN SEPTEMBER', nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Film in 1998.
It was in 1984 that Copeland began his move beyond the rock arena, creating the memorable score to Francis Ford Coppola's 'RUMBLEFISH'. The soundtrack featured a strikingly original mixture of traditional percussion, electronically sampled car horns and ticking clocks. Stewart’s daring soundtrack earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Score. This unique music pioneered the whole field of sound-designed scores. Soon after, Oliver Stone called upon him to write the music to 'WALL STREET', in which Copeland wove eerie howls and ringing bells to help create the tone of the director's dog eat dog world. The score to Stone’s tale about a doomed disc jockey, 'TALK RADIO,' was yet another Copeland tour-de-force.
Outside of the recording and film worlds, Copeland has been involved in a diverse group of projects. Copeland’s newest ‘serious’ works include three compositions for orchestra and percussion – “Eve”, “Grace” and “Caya”-- all of which premiered at the 1999 Catania Music Festival in Sicily. He composed 'King Lear' for the San Francisco Ballet, and 'Holy Blood and the Crescent Moon' for the Cleveland Opera, which was performed with a 90-piece orchestra and a 60-member chorus. He was commissioned to write 'Horse Opera’ by UK Channel 4 as part of that network's new opera series. Based on the original play 'Cowboys' by Anne Caufield, with a libretto written by British opera director Jonathan Moore, 'Horse Opera' was filmed on location in Arizona. Copeland also wrote the music for a one-act opera to 'The Cask of Amontillado', based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe.
He will be the featured Artist at this year's RhythmSticks Festival 2002 in July at London's prestigious Royal Festival Hall. Among prior commissions he had added a dimension to his live performance career by making his first appearance as a "Featured Guest Percussionist" with a major symphony orchestra, The Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He performed a number of original compositions, including two world premieres entitled 'Solcheeka', and 'The Stars That Played with Lucky Joe's Cards', as well as excerpts from 'Holy Blood and the Crescent Moon'. Following this he was commissioned by Ballet Oklahoma to create a new piece, 'Prey', choreographed by their artistic director, Brian Pitts. A collection of Copeland’s compositions were also performed and recorded in Albany with the Albany Symphony Orchestra under the direction of David Alan Miller, as well as with Miller's smaller, avant-garde ensemble, The Dogs of Desire.
Copeland plans a new tour in the late fall of 2002 of ‘Stewart Copeland and The Rhythmatists’, to promote his next solo album. The last tour roster featured a diverse group of international musicians including UAKTI (Point Music) from Brazil; Percussion de Guinea, a leading drum group from Africa; Vinx (Pangea), and Ray Lema, an original performer with Copeland on ‘The Rhythmatist’ album and video.
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