The composer, artist, music producer and inventor,
Adrian Wagner is the great-great grandson of the famous nineteenth-century
Grail opera composer, Richard Wagner, whose popular master works
include Lohengrin, Parsifal, Tannhauser and The Ring of the Nibelung.
Adrian was born in Kent, England, in 1952,
and was educated at the Choir School, Canterbury and at Kings
School, Canterbury. He was a Canterbury Cathedral chorister for
2 years. From the age of 15, Adrian also studied art and painting
at the very well equipped Art School whilst at Kings. He also
set up the photographic society at the Kings School. He studied
musical composition and orchestration with his father, who was
Director of the R.A.F. music division, and others such as Alan
Ridout, Allan Wicks F.R.C.O. and for a short time with Paul Patterson,
head of composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
His professional career began at the age of
twenty when he worked with rock musicians and bands including
Steamhammer, The Other Side, The Coming, Arthur Brown, Robert
Calvert of Hawkwind, Alexis Korner, etc., performing at the Royal
Albert Hall and other notable venues. He also worked alongside
many artists, poets and actors; putting on exhibitions, festivals
and theatre events involving the, so called, underground arts
and cultural movement of the early '70s. This included performances
with the Royal Academy of Music's 'Manson Ensemble', electronic
music courses and streat theatre at the 'Cockpit Theatre', London.
He also taught in an English language school and foundation courses
at various art colleges in the South of England. At the closure
of the Folkestone Art College, he and the poet, Karl Williams,
created the successful two week festival of music and arts called
'Wake Up Folkestone' (WUF)! This was a remarkable period for
Adrian and created the seeds for the projects he is so passionately
involved with today. A term he coins for this 21st Century movement
is 'New Renaissance'!
Adrian's early pioneering work with synthesizers
started at the Royal Academy, where he learnt on one of the first
EMS VCS3 synthesizers. He also ran the UK service operation for
Bob Moog (famed for the legendary Moog Synthesizer) and helped
EMS sell the very first synthesizers to music shops and musicians.
He then progressed to invent, manufacture and market the most
famous and highest-selling British synthesizer of the era - the
Wasp (along with others such as the Gnat, Spider and Caterpillar).
The Wasp, which sold in thousands, was the world's first battery-operated,
portable, digital synthesizer and was immensely valued by musicians
and producers worldwide.
Also in the 1970s, Adrian's studio involvement
led him to study and work as a recording engineer with Adam Skeaping
at the well-known Riverside Recordings in London. It was here
that he successfully accomplished a number of film and TV scores
including the children's feature film 'Detour' along with 'Knots'
which won the Cannes Film Festival Award and 'Eclipse', also
nominated for Cannes. He wrote music for two animation films,
another Cannes Film Festival Award winner 'The Beard' and 'Mothership',
together with an historic drama about the great Shakespearian
actor, Edmund Keenes, called 'A Sun's Bright Child' for Thames
Television. These led to numerous commissions, and also TV commercials
such as Cadbury's Smash, Cadbury's Cup-a-Soup, Domestos, Polaroid
Additionally, he worked with the composer
David Fanshawe on his 'Arabian Fantasy' and composed the music
for Anthony Roland's educational arts film series, 'Western Arts
through the Ages' which allowed him to bring together his understanding
of art and artists. By the end of the 1970s, and under contract
with Warner Bros., Adrian had released various commercial albums
of his music: 'Distances between Us' (for Atlantic Records),
'Instincts' and 'The Last Inca' (for Charisma Records), a library
album for KPM, 'Electronic Light Orchestra' and 'Disco Dream
and the Androids' a spoof sci-fi disco album.
In the 1980s, Adrian composed the music for
four BBC Panorama TV documentaries directed by Christopher Olgiati.
They were 'Two Weeks in Winter' (with Francis Monkman), 'Silkwood',
'We Can Keep You Here Forever' and the renowned 'Mafia Wars'.
He also wrote the 'Transworld Sport' title theme and worked on
many other projects including shows for the Small World Theatre
Company (an educational theatre group), with professional involvement
in 'Shadows in the Desert', 'Ali's Dream', 'In the Shadow of
the City', 'Moving', 'Captain Slaughterboard' and 'Greenhouse'.
His own commercial albums of the eighties were 'Merak' (a space
fantasy with a fifty-minute computer animated video), 'Inca Gold'
(re-issue of the two Charisma albums, 'Karming the Elements'
and 'Ambient Collection - Volume One' (Ambient Collection - Volume
Two' has just been released!).
During this period, Adrian started his own
music enterprise, The Music Suite, an album production company
with a digital editing suite, sound restoration department and
duplication plant. This facilitated album production for over
50 artists and groups and he was the producer for artists and
groups such as Rob Parrett, Kangaroo Moon and Quimantu. The Music
Suite was based in Cenarth, Wales, where Adrian and his wife,
Helen, have lived for many years. He also created the 'Digital
Effects Archive' for a CD dubbing jukebox for the BBC TV's central
post production sound services.
In 1996, Adrian changed The Music Suite to
a new company called MediaQuest, a multimedia, design layout
facility, sound service organisation and digital film production
studio. MediaQuest has become closely allied with Tourist Boards,
mastering and issuing CD ROMs such as 'Welcome to Wales'' (for
the Wales Tourist Board) and 'Digital Postcards from...' series
(Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Devon & Cornwall, Cumbria and
the Lake District etc.). These projects allowed him to photograph
many heritage sites and formed the seeds of his later work with
Sacred sites. In 1999 Adrian linked up once again with Christopher
Olgiati to compose the music for a BBC TV documentary for the
BBC about the life of Jimmy Hendrix.
In September 2001, Adrian was appointed a
'Fellow of Composition' (F.Comp.ASMC) by the 'Australian Society
of Musicology and Composition'.
Unfortunately, in 2000, Adrian was diagnosed
with type 2 diabetes (he had it for 8 years before it was discovered!)
with the results of the permanent side effects of severe neuropathy
and retinopathy which has left him a little disabled. This has
changed and turned around his life in many ways and he has had
to find other methods and techniques in order to continue his
Recently, Adrian Wagner has been working
on a project called 'Sacred Sites and Celtic Landscapes', using the
enormous and unique digital archive of over 25,000 images photographed
by Adrian over the past 6 years and, more recently, an ever growing
digital film archive. Already there are new products being launched
under the 'Sacred Sites and Celtic Landscapes' project with a greetings
card series of fine art and photo cards. On this site all his art is
represented in his new on-line fine art Galleries connected to his shop
where all his art can now be purchased as prints. He has painted over
400 paintings over the past few years and his intention is to put on a
combined exhibition show of his art and music in various galleries and
art centres over the next few years alongside his films. A major
contributor to 'Sacred Sites and Celtic Landscapes' film series is the
International best-selling author John Sharkey, who's ground breaking
book 'Celtic Mysteries' influenced him so much in the early '70s. John
Sharkey is writing several of the film scripts for the 'Sacred Sites
and Celtic Landscapes' films and MediaQuest will be releasing his new
illustrated book in 2010 called 'Rays of Light.
His most recent albums have involved the Holy
Grail Tradition with a release of musical suites, 'Holy Spirit
and the Holy Grail', 'Genesis of the Grail' and 'Realm of the
Ring'. He is now currently working on 'Realm of the Holy Grail
- The Four Hallows - a Symphonic Oratorio' - a full scale choral
and electronic work in four movements. The definitive studio
version of 'Realm of the Holy Grail - The Four Hallows' will
be released as a full length feature film and on CD in 2010.
Although his diabetes has slowed him down
somewhat, other projects currently under production are an album
of the film music of 'Rays of Light' which will be released in
2008 and a new artistic venture called 'Adrian Wagner Fine Arts
and Music Enterprise' started in 2005.