A chance meeting at a conference in 1969 between legendary music producer George Martin and American advertising music producer Herman Edel led to the creation of Air-Edel Associates, to represent composers and produce music for Television, Radio and Cinema commercials in London.
After a stint in New York to see how Herman Edel Associates was run, Annie Farrow returned to London to become Air-Edel’s first MD. In 1977, current MD and Air-Edel co-owner Maggie Rodford, joined the company as a Junior Producer. At this time, Air-Edel represented 15 composers, including Roger Greenaway, David Dundas, Stanley Myers, John Carter, Mike Batt, Graham Preskett, Richard Harvey, Peter Collins, David Reilly, and Fiachra Trench.
In the 1980s, Air-Edel’s roster of composers added Richard Myhill, Paul Reade, Tim Souster, and a couple of young composers at the very start of their careers, Nick Glennie-Smith and Hans Zimmer. The company’s work continued to be predominantly in commercials, despite representing a number of composers already working in film. One of them, the accomplished Stanley Myers, suggested that Air-Edel should also move into film.
However, the UK commercial jingles industry had begun to change and as the licensing of existing music became more prevalent, Air-Edel adapted. Their first forays into television included 1989 series ‘Traffik’ with Tim Souster and the TV movie ‘Dear Sarah’ with Fiachra Trench, which included a specially commissioned rendition of the “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” by Elvis Costello.
As the decade came to a close, Air-Edel began working with an emerging composer called Patrick Doyle who was set to work on his first feature film, Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Henry V’ (1989), which won the Ivor Novello award for ‘Best Film Theme’
In 1991, Air-Edel acquired Audio International Recording Studios and moved to their current London location on Rodmarton St, officially opening Air-Edel Recording Studios. Global expansion followed in 1996 with the establishment of their Los Angeles office.
Air-Edel firmly established themselves in film with credits ranging across hard hitting dramas such as ‘Crimson Tide’, ‘Carlito’s Way’, ‘Indochine’, ‘The Thin Red Line’, and ‘Donnie Brasco’, romantic hits including ‘Great Expectations’ and 7-time Academy Award-winning film ‘Shakespeare in Love’, and family films such as ‘Into The West’, ‘The Lion King’, ‘A Little Princess’, ‘Anastasia’, ‘Prince of Egypt’, ‘Quest for Camelot’, ‘Antz’ and ‘Muppets from Space’.
Air-Edel were also prominent in television, working across renowned series including ‘Poirot’ with Christopher Gunning, and ‘The Green Man’, for which composer Tim Souster won the BAFTA for ‘Best Original TV Music’. Their work in commercials continued with iconic campaigns like ‘Guinness – Swim Black’, ‘Volvo – Twister’, and ‘Reebok – Theatre Of Dreams’.
Patrick Doyle received back to back Academy Award-nominations in 1996 and 1997 for his work on Ang Lee’s ‘Sense & Sensibility’ and ‘Hamlet’, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. Air-Edel worked with Anne Dudley on The Full Monty, which in 1997 won the Academy Award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score.
The start of a the new millennium saw Air-Edel involved in the music for the Golden Globe-winning, Academy Award-nominated score for ‘Gladiator’ by Lisa Gerrard and Hans Zimmer, as well as “Shrek’ (Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell), ‘Bridget Jones Diary’ (Patrick Doyle), ‘Last Orders’ (Paul Grabowsky), ‘Hannibal’ (Hans Zimmer), ‘Insomnia’ (David Julyan), ‘Nanny McPhee’ (Patrick Doyle), and ‘Miss Potter’ (Nigel Westlake).
Air-Edel’s involvement with Warner Bros’ ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’ was all encompassing – Patrick Doyle provided the score with Maggie Rodford as music supervisor and score producer, while Matt Biffa’s supervision duties included creating a supergroup to portray The Weird Sisters, featuring Jarvis Cocker, Johnny Greenwood and future Air-Edel composer Philip Selway.
In 2002, Air-Edel begin working with Dario Marianelli, starting with ‘I Capture The Castle’, and continuing in the subsequent years with ‘The Brothers Grimm’, ‘V for Vendetta’ and ‘The Brave One’. In 2006, Dario Marianelli received his first Academy Award-nomination for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and two years later, won the award for ‘Atonement’, both directed by Joe Wright.
Air-Edel was represented in the Best Original Film Score category of the Ivor Novello Awards with nominations every year from 2006, starting with ‘Pride & Prejudice’ by Dario Marianelli, ‘Severance’ by Christian Henson in 2007, ‘Atonement’ by Dario Marianelli in 2008, and ‘The Escapist’ by Benjamin Wallfisch in 2009.
The last ten years has seen Air-Edel working across Academy Award winning films (‘The King’s Speech’, ‘Brave’, ‘Darkest Hour’), box office hits (‘Thor’, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, ‘Everest’, ‘Murder on the Orient Express’), family favourites (‘Cinderella’, ‘Paddington’ and ‘Paddington 2’), acclaimed indie films (‘My Week with Marilyn’ ‘Carol’, ‘The Children Act’), and powerful documentaries (‘London – The Modern Babylon’, ‘The Crash Reel’, ‘The White Helmets’, ‘Nae Pasaran’, ‘Evelyn’).
Air-Edel has also been prominent in television, with Matt Biffa cementing himself as one of the most sought after music supervisors for high profile television series, with credits including ‘Top Boy, ‘Fresh Meat’, ‘After Life’, ‘Sex Education’, ‘Giri/Haji’ and ‘The End of the F***ing World’, the latter of which earned him two Music Week Sync Awards as well as a US Guild of Music Supervisors and Hollywood Music in Media nomination.
Maggie Rodford’s stature and longstanding service to the industry has been recognised by multiple industry bodies and she was honoured with an APRS Fellowship in 2012 and a BASCA Gold Badge Award in 2017.
At the start of 2015, Maggie, together with a private investor, completed a management buyout of Air-Edel, making it a wholly independent company.
Patrick Doyle was honoured with ASCAP’s prestigious Henry Mancini Award in 2013 and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Soundtrack Awards in 2015.
Dario Marianelli received his third Academy Award nomination for ‘Anna Karenina’ and was awarded two further Ivor Novello Awards for his scores for ‘Anna Karenina’ and for Laika animation ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’.
In 2016, we launched our digital soundtrack label, Air-Edel Records, releasing soundtracks including ‘Whisky Galore’ by Patrick Doyle, ‘Pinocchio’ by Dario Marianelli, ‘Finding Your Feet’ by Michael J. McEvoy, and ‘Evelyn’ by Patrick Jonsson. A second label, Besant Hall Records, focusing on commercial releases by Air-Edel composers, was launched in 2017 – Besant Hall’s fourth release, ‘Hiraeth’ by Lisa Gerrard and David Kuckhermann, was Grammy nominated in 2018.
As they celebrate their Golden Jubilee in 2020, Air-Edel remain at the forefront of the industry and continue to expand upon their legacy, working with the best in the industry across projects in film, television, commercials, games, theatre and dance.