A former homeless,self-trained musician has been hailed a genius after writing a symphony.
Stuart Sharp, 73, saw a vision of the musical masterpiece in his mind after his baby son Ben died 41 years ago.He could not read or write music at the time, but the melodies were so vivid he was determined to turn the ‘imaginary’ orchestral sounds into a symphony in memory of his lost child.
Music genius: Stuart Sharp had a vision when his son died and later turned the imaginary sounds into a symphony despite having no musical training Music genius: Stuart Sharp turned the imaginary orchestral sounds into a symphony despite having no musical training. But the dream led to problems in his marriage and eventually divorce. He ended up homeless and broke on the streets of London.
Stuart’s persistence eventually paid off and his musical masterpiece has now been recorded by The London Philharmonia Orchestra.
Stuart said: ‘My son died in traumatic circumstances and on the night of his funeral, I heard soothing angelic music with a great choir of angels and it comforted me for a short while.’
His Angeli Symphony has been described as a work of ‘genius’ by music experts.
‘I could see the whole orchestra playing and as I watched I could see all the individual notes being played on the different instruments.’
‘After that I would often hear the music and I could remember it all very vividly.’
‘The melodies were always very real, very beautiful, sometimes as if the angels were really playing to me.’
‘But I came to understand that it was music for my son and I could see it as a film one day.’ ‘The cold light of day was different however and I was numb with fear.’
The romantic symphony, which is filled with string instrumental sections, has astounded professional musicians.
‘Stuart’s vision for his musical work was remarkable and it’s quite astounding that a non-professional musician has come up with something of this quality,’ said Allan Wilson, conductor of The London Philharmonia Orchestra.
” As a pub cook my life hinged around alcohol and smoking that was impacting badly on my life. Instead I wanted to follow my vision and create a great orchestral piece.”
Stuart left home and lived in his car for a time before moving around in squats, on the street and later a hostel for the homeless.
But he was determined to follow his dream and bought a cheap guitar from an antique shop called ‘Miscellanea’ owned by the parents of ‘The Who’s front man Pete Townshend. He spent the following years learning to play the instrument until he could record the music in his head onto a second-hand tape recorder he bought for 50p.
One day outside the BBC’s Television Centre he met jazz musician Anthony Wade, who offered him a place to stay and helped transcribe the music.
In the fifteen years that followed Stuart turned his life around and became a successful businessman through a career in sales and property.
‘By 1994 I was able to buy my own home in London, hire great arrangers and the world’s best orchestras so I could finally realise my dream,’ he said.
‘I tracked down Anthony and we worked together for five years to create an excellent demo of the symphony. I felt it was good enough to hand over to conductor Allan Wilson for his opinion. Two years later the big day came when The London Philharmonia Orchestra recorded my Angeli Symphony. I truly thought I was back with the angels and the musicians gave me an ovation after they played it and I was finally happy. I have never considered myself as composer, and although I have written and recorded three more symphonies, a theme song and a further thirty pieces, they are gifts I was given to share where I could. With my success so far I have projects for the blind and disabled in Africa and am Patron of the Canaan Trust in Nottingham, which looks after many homeless people.
Stuart’s story was picked up by NPR in America and producers in LA have contacted him with a view to turn Stuart’s story into a cinema movie. Recently Gold Circle Films have put the film into development.