Music and Me
As a comprehensive school student brought up in Lancashire in the North of England music opened up life changing opportunities for me - not least sowing the seeds of an idea of becoming a conductor.
You can read more about how I became a conductor in this blog that I wrote earlier in the year for the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Sage Gateshead.
I firmly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience music of every kind and that includes the limitless range created by orchestras, operas and choirs. This drives my own work today with my own practice and as a Board member for Orchestras Live.
Orchestras Live work across England with our brilliant partners connecting communities with world class orchestral experiences. I learn so much from being part of this innovative and open minded team. You can find out more about our work by clicking on the logo. You can also read a blog I wrote for them about how I believe Orchestras can connect us all.
MAKING MUSIC WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
It is a great privilege to be the Music Director and Conductor of the Young Sinfonia, the Royal Northern Sinfonia's Youth Orchestra working with such fantastic and inspiring young players and being part of the vibrant musical family at Sage Gateshead.
Last year conducting the 'In Harmony' Newcastle Gateshead 10th Birthday Celebrations culminating in a Side by Side with Royal Northern Sinfonia was such an honour and one of the highlights of my year; I have rarely experienced such pure joy when conducting.
With Sinfonia Viva I've enjoyed working with their partner schools on the Pioneers Projects over the years bringing to life their songs and compositions alongside the players from Sinfonia Viva.
Developing a show with the creative team at Sinfonia Viva designed from the outset with BSL signing and interpretation was very special bringing new audiences to experience orchestras. I'm looking forward to returning to conduct this show in events across the country later this year.
With Blackpool Symphony Orchestra, we have a busy programme of educational work with local schools. This term we ran a Conducting Workshop for Hodgson Academy and their GSCE Music students giving them the opportunity to learn how to conduct a live orchestra with the famous 'Imperial March' from Star Wars.
This year we celebrate the milestone of 10 years of our Residency with Our Lady of the Assumption Primary School. Our programme has included numerous memorable events including Side by Sides, Concerts, ‘Have a Go’ Conducting and so much more.
Training the next generation of professional musicians is another strand of my work which I take seriously; conducting the Chamber Orchestra at Leeds Conservatoire and leading their Side By Sides with the Orchestra of Opera North.
Nothing brings me more joy than the opportunity to become part of a musical ensemble and get to know the musicians, what matters to them and understand the role music plays where they live.
I've been made to feel so welcome at Sage Gateshead. I'm really enjoying getting to know the wonderful musicians and audiences in the North East.
Meeting audiences after conducting 'The Snowman' with the Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead last December brought home to me the strength of the connection to their communities; for so many a trip to Sage to hear and see the Royal Northern Sinfonia play the 'The Snowman' signalled the start of the festivities for so many. Such an honour to be part of such an important local tradition.
Back in Lancashire being the Music Director for the award winning Blackpool Symphony Orchestra, Preston Opera and Lytham Choral is an important responsibility; these ensembles fulfil an important role bringing the opportunity to experience the emotional power of music for both musicians and audiences to their doorsteps.
Last July, BBC Radio 3 Music Matters visited the town with Tom Service. I was interviewed by Tom talking about the role we play in the musical life of our town. You can hear the orchestra in action and the full interview. from 37:57.
I'm especially proud of Blackpool Symphony Orchestra's Lockdown recording of 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' recorded during the dark silence of the pandemic in May 2020. We were there when we all needed music the most. Our recording raised over £3,000 for Blackpool Foodbank.
Thankyou for reading this.