John Lunn (born 13 May 1956) is an Emmy Award winning Scottish composer, known for the music of the series Downton Abbey and many other television and movie soundtracks.
Early life and education
Lunn was born in May 1956. His father was a saxophone player in a jazz band.
Lunn graduated from Glasgow University, where he studied 12-tone techniques. He has cited among his musical influences John Cage, Milton Babbit, and György Ligeti, as well as Miles Davis. Lunn was also a member of "systems music" band Man Jumping, an early 1980s "jazz-pop-worldbeat fusion ensemble", where he played bass and keyboard.".
He took a short course in computer music at MIT, and assembled his own computerised compositional system. He first used a Maselec MLA-2 tri-band compressor, with a Prism Sound ADA-8XR multichannel converter and an Orpheus FireWire interface, before settling on a Maselec MEA-2 analogue equaliser.
He began composing for BBC Scotland in the late 1980s, with Beatrix: The Early Life of Beatrix Potter (1990) and The Gift (1991). His work also includes music for the television series Hamish Macbeth (1995-1997), Lorna Doone (2000), North Square (2000), Cambridge Spies (2003), Bleak House (2005), Hotel Babylon (2006), Little Dorrit (2008), Downton Abbey (2010-2015), Waking the Dead (2011), The White Queen (2013), Shetland (2013), Grantchester (2014), The Last Kingdom (2015), and Belgravia (2020).
He has written several operas. Two of them, Misper (1997) and Zoë (2000) (shown by Channel 4), were written for Glyndebourne. Another, Mathematics of a Kiss, was written for the English National Opera. He wrote the 2006 operetta Tangier Tattoo, with librettist Stephen Plaice, again for Glyndebourne.
Lunn's violin concerto was premiered by Clio Gould and the London Sinfonietta at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.