Bill studied at Clare College, Cambridge, and in a varied career since then has played with a folk group, an opera company, a string quartet and a symphony orchestra; in theatres, pop recording studios (including a no.1 hit in Slovenia!) and on film sets; and is nowadays mostly appearing with early music ensembles. He started arranging whilst in the folk group, and it really took off when he started playing string quartets, especially during the period of a residency at Pizza on the Park (sadly no more). As word got around he started to be published, with Quartet Cabaret (Boosey and Hawkes), Classic String Quartet Collection (Broadbent and Dunn) and Play Piano Trios! (Bosworth) to his credit (and now, of course, Fountayne Pops).
When working on an arrangement my main aim is to make a valid transcription of a piece of music from one form to another, by which I mean being true not only to the composer’s basic nuts and bolts, i.e. melody, harmony, part-writing etc., but also (and this is harder to define) to the spirit of the original. I also aim to make it eminently playable (being a violin/viola player married to a cellist helps); to sound well in its new form (which may occasionally mean a change of key); and to be interesting for the players, mainly by being democratic with the musical material: I’m not a fan of arrangements where the first violin (like the devil?) has all the (best) tunes. With lighter music, particularly in popular song arrangements (and there may be some on the way for Fountayne), I feel that there is rather more licence to play around with the original, for instance by references to other music prompted by the song title or lyrics, or even by the song-tune itself: all in the cause of creating fun for players and listeners alike!