Personal profiles

On Friday 8 July, the Parnassian Ensemble is performing “Baroque Treats for a Summer’s Evening” in Fishbourne as part of the Festival of Chichester. Sophie is the director of this group, so Simon O’Hea took the opportunity to talk with...
  • June 25, 2022
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Teresa Barlow’s Requiem 2020 premieres at Portsmouth Cathedral on Saturday 21 May. Simon O’Hea is in conversation with her. The hour-long choral work explores the prominent themes of 2020, from the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic to the increased prominence...
  • May 15, 2022
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On Sunday 15 May 2022, Simon will be leading the Consort of Twelve in a concert entitled “Two Composer-Priests: Vivaldi and Bonporti” at St John’s Chapel in Chichester. This concert aims to juxtapose and contrast their characters and their works....
  • March 28, 2022
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? Unlike many other people gracing the pages of Music in Portsmouth, I don’t come from a musical background. Although my parents were more...
  • December 21, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? The three most important influences that come to mind are: Joining Portsmouth Cathedral Choir as a chorister when I was 10 years old....
  • December 11, 2021
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Nick is playing Weber’s great Clarinet Concerto No 2 with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Chichester Festival Theatre on Friday 26 November.  Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music?...
  • November 15, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your interest in music and poetry? Tell us about your upbringing in this respect. I think that, from quite an early age, composers were obviously important people. Mysterious, old-fashioned, mostly...
  • November 9, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? For me as a listener, there have been so many important musical influences that I feel if I were to name one, I’d...
  • November 2, 2021
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Mark Dancer took up the Directorship of the Portsmouth Festival Choir in the spring of 2021 during the choral shutdown caused by Covid-19, having been for some years Assistant Director. He is also currently Director of Music and Organist of...
  • September 20, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? I’ve always wanted to sing and I was fortunate that the school I went to had a strong ethos when it came to music. Choral singing was...
  • September 16, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? When I was 5 years old, Denis Matseuv lived with my family for 3 years (1991- 94) while studying at Central Special Music School under the Moscow...
  • June 6, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? Inspiring teachers, fortunate opportunities, and varied musical experiences. I have had so many wonderful and brilliant mentors and teachers that I would struggle to name them all...
  • May 23, 2021
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What have been the most important influences on your interest in music? I think it started with my Dad’s love for anything from Flanders and Swan – the music and text play off each other so well, which is something...
  • April 18, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? I had fantastic teachers from the very start of learning the violin: Duncan Riddell (now leader of the RPO), Trish Noall at Wells Cathedral School, and David...
  • April 16, 2021
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Who and what have been the most important influences on your musical career? Paul Dyson, the very charismatic head of music at my rural North Yorkshire school, was a great role model. Accordingly, I used to pinch my mum’s knitting...
  • April 15, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? I started playing piano as a child at a very early age in Lithuania where my family relocated to from Russia. I was born into a musical...
  • March 22, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? My parents are pretty musical! Mum plays clarinet and recorder, and Dad plays guitar and ukulele. They brought me and my brother up on some fab 80s...
  • March 18, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? The Early Music movement had become rather staid and academic by the time that the period instrument ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, was founded in 1985. It really...
  • March 17, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? My parents were not musicians but always had music in their lives, and ensured immersion for my siblings and myself. Peter Gould, then the Master of the...
  • March 6, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? My musical beginnings were seeded when I was at a prep school and ended up joining a Parish choir in Windsor. The organist, Rick Erickson, also happened...
  • February 23, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? I’ve been lucky to come from a musical family and to have had excellent musical schooling, thanks to Bedfordshire’s peripatetic music services. I...
  • February 19, 2021
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Why was Chichester Music Press founded by you in 2003? Chichester Music Press (CMP) was originally a vehicle for me to publish my own music. I’d not had any success trying to interest publishers in my music. Then one day,...
  • February 17, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? I was born and bred in Portsmouth and sang in the choir of St Mark’s church where I also had my first organ...
  • February 8, 2021
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? I’ve always sung – right from My old man said follow the van on television at the age of seven, through being a...
  • December 31, 2020
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? My parents and various teachers were wonderfully supportive – they wouldn’t let me give up till I had got my grade 8 and by then of course...
  • October 17, 2020
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? I started with dance and theatre rather than music, attending Horndean Ballet school, The Royal Ballet associates and then Elmhurst Ballet School from...
  • September 20, 2020
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The Petworth Festival has announced its special autumn programme yesterday. 25 events will be filmed live from the festival’s ‘home’ venues St Mary’s Petworth and the Leconfield Hall and will be streamed via its website. Simon O’Hea has been in...
  • September 18, 2020
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? I come from a musical family – my father Michael is quite well known in the area as a composer and performer on cornett, shawm, recorder, modern...
  • September 15, 2020
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? I grew up in a musical family; my father, now retired, was an opera singer so I pretty much know most of the major opera repertoire. I...
  • September 9, 2020
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? I have had a number of great teachers (instrumental and at university) who have inspired my interest in music. I could not easily name them all! Are...
  • August 23, 2020
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? One of my earliest memories of falling in love with classical music was when I use to visit my grandparents’ house at the...
  • August 18, 2020
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career or interest in music? I certainly started early – I loved to sing as a baby, and used to tinker about on my grandmother’s piano, starting with...
  • August 17, 2020
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Who and/or what have been the most important influences on your musical career? Music was in my family from the beginning and I used to watch my father, David, conducting rehearsals. At an early age I was fascinated as he...
  • August 16, 2020
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Since winning the National Mozart Singing Competition, Susan’s flourishing career has taken her to major venues worldwide. Specialising in contemporary song, she has broadcast for BBC Radio 3 and Norwegian Radio. Legendary mezzo Christa Ludwig described Susan’s lyric mezzo as...
  • July 16, 2020
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Who have been the main influencers on your decision to pursue a career in music? I never really felt like I made a decision about pursuing music as a career – it was just a given in my mind, from...
  • July 16, 2020
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Who or what have been the most important influences on your interest in music? I don’t come from a musical family, but at the age of four I was discovered surrounded by tea trays and National Dried Milk tins, hitting...
  • July 10, 2020
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Who and what have been the main influencers on your decision to pursue a career in music? Singing was always important in my family – my grandmother was a life-long member of the Hull Choral Union, I attended their concerts...
  • July 7, 2020
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Steve (or Stephen – he doesn’t mind which!) doesn’t come from a traditional music background. Quite by contrast, he went to art college where he specialised in pottery, and he subsequently ran a hand-made pottery business for over 15 years....
  • July 6, 2020
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Who have been the main influencers on your decision to pursue a career in music? My parents were refugees from Hitler. My mother was Austrian and my father was German. My mother, a violinist, had played in a piano trio...
  • June 30, 2020
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I was a chorister at Bath Abbey and right from the start was enthralled by the noise from the organ. So, I started with piano at the age of nine. In those days one needed to be proficient at the...
  • June 23, 2020
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Who have been the main influencers on your decision to pursue a career in music? I got myself into the choir at my father’s Parish Church in Romford, Essex, at the age of six – as soon as I was...
  • June 20, 2020
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Who have been the main influencers on your decision to spend plenty of time in musical activity? I don’t have a career in music. I have on occasion been paid to play on a freelance basis and I did teach...
  • June 19, 2020
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Who have been the main influencers on your decision to spend so much time in musical activity? I come from a musical family: both my parents played the piano (though my father learnt to play by ear in the “knees...
  • June 18, 2020
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Who have been the main influencers on your decision to pursue a career in music? My father was an enthusiastic if flawed tenor and my mother was an accomplished pianist who won scholarships to the Royal Academy of Music and...
  • June 9, 2020
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Who have been the main influencers on your decision to pursue a career in music? There is a long tradition of music-making on both sides of my family (there have been numbers of organists, pianists and singers). Indeed, music was...
  • June 1, 2020
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Who or what were the main influences on your decision to pursue a career in music? Right from a young age I was good at the piano, though at one stage I did fancy becoming a paramedic or a doctor....
  • May 23, 2020
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What have been the main influences on your decision to pursue a career in music? I was born in Vidin, (a town situated in the NW of Bulgaria, on the banks of the River Danube, 200 km from the capital...
  • May 19, 2020
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Who or what were the main influences on your decision to pursue a career in music? I won a scholarship to Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, London, and was introduced to music by a very enthusiastic teacher, so I...
  • May 16, 2020
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Who or what were the main influences on your decision to pursue a career in music? I was fortunate to be at The Kings’ School, Ely, which was strong in music. I also attended The Mackenzie School of Music and...
  • May 13, 2020
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Tim is first violinist with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Who or what were the main influences on your decision to pursue a career in music? I was enthralled by the sound of a large orchestra right from when I was...
  • May 11, 2020
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We recently heard the very sad news that Terry Barfoot passed away from cancer on 12th August 2020. Read his obituary here. Terry Barfoot was a well-known figure in the musical life of southern England, who wrote widely about music...
  • April 29, 2020
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It’s an old joke with a ring of truth to it. A violinist visiting New York asks a passing hippy how to get to Carnegie Hall. The hippy replies “Practise, man, practise.” Professionals and amateurs (gifted or otherwise), all must...
  • April 28, 2020
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Angela Zanders was born in London and started piano lessons with her father, New Zealand pianist, Douglas Zanders. She went on to study at The Purcell School, Trinity College of Music and Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. She also won...
  • April 26, 2020
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Peter has been playing the violin since he was nine. He has an MA in Music Performance and is a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music. Peter has travelled the world supporting the Royal Family as a violinist on...
  • April 24, 2020
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Colin did a music degree at Manchester University and then went to the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Cincinnati, USA, to study for a Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting. He spent four years in Cincinnati in a variety of conducting...
  • April 10, 2020
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Ian Schofield was born in the Lancashire town of Oswaldtwistle in 1949. He studied Composition at the University of Southampton under Dr. Eric Graebner and Prof. Peter Evans. He has lived and taught in Portsmouth since 1972 and was, until...
  • March 30, 2020
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As the Coronavirus crisis deepens, I would like to offer what support I can via the Noticeboard to the local musical community, who are going to find the next few months very challenging indeed. It’s not been possible to update...
  • March 20, 2020
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These questions were originally devised by Frances Wilson, who blogs on classical music as The Cross-Eyed Pianist, and are taken, with her kind permission, from her Meet the Artist interview series. For more interviews with a diverse range of musicians...
  • March 19, 2020
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Nicola Benedetti is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation. She is a vibrant young lady with an outstanding talent. Major orchestras and conductors all over the world are queuing up for her to play with them. She...
  • April 29, 2019
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Parents, who have youngsters studying the violin, can do no better than take them along to hear Shoshanah Sievers play with the Charity Symphony Orchestra. The concert is at the Turner Sims Hall, University of Southampton, at 7.30 pm on...
  • April 18, 2019
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With a twinkle in her eye and beautiful music at her fingertips, Beryl Francis is no ordinary person. At eighty-five years old she wears her advancing years with pride. Still an outstanding pianist and superb musician, she’s no intention of...
  • March 17, 2019
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Even a casual glance at Alex Poulton’s website (alexbaritone.co.uk) tells you that he’s a highly qualified and experienced singer, vocal practitioner and composer. He’s a Batchelor of Music with honours with an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma to his name. He’s also...
  • February 17, 2019
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David Gostick’s life is overflowing with music. His days are spent selecting, editing, preparing and tailoring music to get the best out of those who perform it. He’s also working on studies for his doctorate in music. David’s a distinguished...
  • January 23, 2019
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Violinist Stuart Reed has an unconventional history. After learning to play from music, Stuart spent many years playing by ear. He’d be the first to confide that even though he plays in four amateur orchestras at the age of 78...
  • January 10, 2019
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Take a bow, Lucy Armstrong. Lucy cheerfully stepped in to conduct the Meon Valley Orchestra for its appearance at the Meonstoke Christmas Fair. With hardly any notice and without prior rehearsal, Lucy deputised for the MVO’s conductor Lorrain Masson who...
  • December 10, 2018
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Stuart Reed writes: A young busker from Chichester who became a violin maestro has paid tribute to the man who put him on the road to a distinguished musical career. “In the 1990’s Peter Craddock heard me busking in the...
  • December 4, 2018
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Read a profile of Julia on Music in Portsmouth. It’s about fifty-six miles from Portsmouth to Lewes so some people would think twice before making the trip. However, for string players in our area, there’s no better reason to go...
  • November 5, 2018
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Stuart Reed writes: If you want to know anything about restoring violin, viola, ‘cello or any other sort of bows, speak to Wayne Mayor. After a lifetime of working in wood as a craftsman carpenter, joiner and cabinet maker, now...
  • October 12, 2018
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Flautist Anne White (pictured), the driving force behind the creation of the Portsmouth Philharmonic, has stepped down as Chair of the orchestra after nine years in the role. Her replacement as Chair is Di Lloyd, a ‘cellist, who joined the...
  • October 4, 2018
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Ay caramba! If any of the players of the Havant Symphony Orchestra possess sombreros they’d better hang on them when the latest Bob Harding Bursary holder arrives from South America. He is Stefano Boccacci, a young man from Colombia, who...
  • August 26, 2018
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Portsmouth Festival Choir is looking forward to their new season with a new conductor. They are fortunate to have acquired the services of dynamic young musician, Ben Lathbury, as their Musical Director. Not only is Ben the conductor of several...
  • August 24, 2018
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Jake Barlow is someone with a song in his heart. He’s a man of many parts and he’s extremely busy. He’s a singer, conductor and teacher based in Chichester. He’s also a Lay Vicar at Chichester Cathedral, a member of...
  • June 4, 2018
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Antonia Kent is graceful, tall, and talented. Known as Toni to her friends, her life is awash with musical activity. For a start, she is a very accomplished saxophonist and a first-class double bass player. Educated at Gravesend Grammar School,...
  • May 15, 2018
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For the last three years, Penny Gordon has played the baritone saxophone in the Meon Valley Orchestra. Her husband Lionel, a Royal Navy Surgeon Rear Admiral, bought the instrument for her. When she was younger she played the clarinet in...
  • May 9, 2018
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For the last two and a half years, John Elder has played an E flat contrabass clarinet. He’s a highly valued member of the Meon Valley Orchestra and the Alton Concert Band and lives in Selbourne. A retired geophysicist, John...
  • April 28, 2018
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Simon Wilkins MMus DipABRSM is enjoying his first term at the Chichester Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and preparing the orchestra for his first concert on 17 March 2018. The CSO is focused around repertoire from the classical period, expanding to perform...
  • February 24, 2018
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