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Grumpy Mule Music is just a bloke in a house really. There’s me, above these words, taken at a café in Alicante, having just been served by the world’s most unfriendly waiter.

I am a freelance Composer and Musical Director living in East Devon, UK. Principally I play keys and winds, and MD for stage shows. Much of the rest of my time is spent working on the things you can download here, a good deal of which has been created specifically for educational establishments and ensembles.

Below is a little biography that I send out for show programmes. Really though, all you need to know is that the stuff you download here is the result of decades of experience working with young people, talented amateurs, and professionals to help them sound their very best when performing music.



Ian Crew – Biography

Born in Birmingham in 1969, Ian began piano lessons at an early age and subsequently took up the bassoon, and later the saxophone, flute, recorder, trumpet, trombone, tuba, ukulele and Appalachian dulcimer. He started composing when at secondary school and produced several play scores and an orchestral piece before going on to university. At the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester he studied Composition under Anthony Gilbert, and wrote several choral works and orchestral pieces, one of which was commissioned and televised by Granada Television for their "19-25" arts festival in 1991 and featured notable players such as Stephanie Gonley (violin) and Nicola Hall (guitar).

Ian graduated with a first class honours degree in Composition and a Diploma in Composition and Professional Performance in 1992, winning the RNCM's prize for composition and earning a performance of his orchestral work"Engravings of Loudun" by the RNCM Orchestra, conducted by Sachio Fujioka. After gaining his PGCE at Reading, Ian worked as a primary and secondary school teacher while continuing to compose and arrange a wide range of music for shows, ensembles and for individual students, ranging from solo double bass to full eighteen piece big band. After working as a teacher in a large comprehensive school in Hampshire for several years, he took up freelance work as a composer and educator, and was Composer-in-Residence for several projects in the southeast.

Upon moving to Devon, Ian taught in a variety of schools, either as a classroom teacher or project leader. He now spends his working life as a freelance musician and composer. As an MD and accompanist, he is lucky enough to work with a wide variety of amateur theatre groups, choirs and stage schools; as a composer he had the score for 'Merlin's Apprentice', a new piece of musical theatre, given at the Brewhouse, Taunton for a four-week run from the end of 2015 into 2016, and in 2017 he completed ‘Spiders in Motion’, a four-movement work for 8 solo voices based on old weather lore, but which is mainly about mortality. The first performance of this work was given in L'Église de la Cité, Périgueux, France, by Voces Sacrae in August 2017.