For the latest amateur classical music listings in and around Portsmouth, including Fareham, Petersfield, Chichester, Havant and Hayling Island

Debut concert for South Downs Soloists

South Downs Soloists are a new and exciting professional vocal ensemble based in the South of England, directed by George Haynes, with a focus on full-voiced ensemble singing.

South Downs Soloists are a new and exciting professional vocal ensemble based in the South of England, directed by George Haynes, who is currently a countertenor Lay Vicar at Chichester Cathedral. With performances focussing on full-voiced ensemble singing, bringing well-known and more obscure repertoire to beautiful venues across the area.

Most of the eight singers have strong connections with the South Downs, including associations with Chichester and Winchester Cathedrals, as well as experiences from further afield in Cambridge and London.

Their debut recital, ‘Sing Joyfully’, will take place in St Mary’s Church, Petworth, on 22nd October 2021, and will feature vibrant music of singing and praise. Works such as ‘Singet dem Herrn’ by J.S. Bach, ‘Laudibus in sanctis’ by William Byrd and ‘Hymn to St Cecilia’ by Britten feature alongside innovative pieces by Copland, Gabriel Jackson and more. They look forward to bringing regular performances in their own interpretative style to the South Downs and beyond in the future!

Inaugural concert on 22 October in Petworth.

Barbican Quartet set to launch 2021-2022 Chichester Chamber Concerts series

The Barbican Quartet launch the 2021-2022 Chichester Chamber Concerts series with a new freshness and eagerness they are determined to make last.

Read more at the link below.

Review: Chichester Music Society – The Champagne Quartet

The Champagne Quartet was welcomed by the Chichester Music Society on 15 September 2021 at the University of Chichester as their opening autumn concert. The Quartet is an operatic vocal quartet established in 2016, made up of graduates of the Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama, delighting the audience as their programme of well-known opera favourites, often from Italian composers, unfolded.

The programme opened with the four musicians performing the fun and rather exuberant Drinking Song “Brindisi” from Verdi’s La Traviata. This was sung with a boisterous raucous flavour that set the tone for an enjoyable evening that the audience certainly appreciated in person.

After that, the programme was spread between either solos, duets or three of the Quartet, moving through Donizetti and Rossini, and then on to The Flower Duet from Lakme by Leo Delibes, which was sung by Erin Alexander, who had previously sung for the Society, and Clare Eccles. This was a delightful, often nuanced, performance by both singers. Both musicians were throughout technically assured, and Erin particularly had a lovely clean sound that projects strongly.

Later in the evening Clare Eccles was joined by Ross Wilson in a performance of Franz Lehar’s Lippen Scheweigen from The Merry Widow. The dynamic between the singers was natural and effortless and was played to maximum effect. In fact, the acting of the whole Quartet was effortless and effective throughout, and substantially added to the overall enjoyable atmosphere that was being created by the music.

Sam Young and Ross Wilson sang the duet O Mimi, tu piu non tourni from Puccini’s La Boheme, both delivering a moving performance of remarkable control and sensitivity.

The accompaniment on the piano by Guy Murgatroyd was throughout the concert understated, yet acutely judged according to the demands of each composer. A thoroughly outstanding example of how important it is for any singer to have a sympathetic and understanding musician at the piano.

The concert concluded, after some Mozart songs from The Magic Flute, with a rendering of the whole Quartet singing Goodnight Quartet from Martha by Frederich Ferdinand Flotow, a simple, calm conclusion to the concert. Chris Hough, Chairman of Chichester Music Society, said, “This was a fabulous evening with some marvellous singing of many well-loved opera favourites. The Quartet and Guy are to be heartily congratulated!”

The Consort of Twelve offers first Chichester concert since December 2019

The Consort of Twelve is delighted to return to live concert-giving after nearly two years away.

Their last concert was in St John’s Chapel, Chichester on December 1 2019.

And it is to St John’s that they return for their comeback concerts – two on the same day, one at 3pm and one at 6pm on September 19. Tickets are £12 on 02392 214494 and online at

The programme will be the same in each of the concerts, and the performances will be given without an interval.

Internationally acclaimed violinist Julia Bishop will be returning to direct a programme called Beyond the Seasons: Vivaldi and Bach.

Read more at the link below.

Chichester Chamber Concerts return this autumn

Chichester Chamber Concerts have announced a full programme for this autumn and winter, with tickets on sale from Chichester Festival Theatre.

Concerts will be in at the Assembly Room, Chichester, with the 17th season running from October 2021 to March 2022.

Coming up are Thursday, October 7, Barbican Quartet; Thursday, November 4; Northern Chords Ensemble; Thursday, December 2, Le Consort; Thursday, January 27, Van Baerle Trio; Thursday, February 24, Chiaroscuro Quartet; and Thursday, March 10, Matthew Hunt clarinet, Alec Frank Gemmill horn, Chiaroscuro Quartet and Friends. See CCC concerts page.

Tickets for six concerts £84; four concerts £58; single concert £18.

Read more at the link below.

“Classical music favourites” course with Angela Zanders

Concert pianist and music lecturer Angela Zanders continues her courses on music appreciation, starting on 20 September. “They are open to anyone who enjoys classical music and is interested in learning more about the subject”, she said.

This time she will be exploring the background to popular works of classical music.

How often do we recognise a piece of classical music only to realise that we don’t know who composed it, when or why it was composed or how it became so popular?

This course answers all those questions and more, aiming to take a fresh look at some of our most popular pieces of classical music, helping us listen to them with new ears and enhanced enjoyment.

There are two options: you can attend the course of eight sessions either online on Monday afternoons from 4 pm to 5.30 pm, or in-person on Tuesdays from 10 am -12 pm.

The Monday online course runs from 20 September: Angela Zanders Music Favourites starting 20 Sept
The Tuesday face-to-face course at the studio in the New Park Centre, Chichester runs from 21 September: Angela Zanders Music Favourites starting 21 Sept

To reserve your space, or for any further information about the course, contact Angela on 07582 537123 or email

September 15th Champagne Quartet – confirmed

I am delighted to confirm that our next event with The Champagne Quartet will be going ahead as planned with a live audience on Wednesday 15th September at 7.30pm in the University Chapel.

The University is taking a precautionary approach, limiting occupancy and encouraging social distancing and the wearing of face masks when entering and leaving the Chapel, and during the concert. Members will not need to make a reservation but guests are asked to book in advance. We regret that interval drinks will not be available on this occasion.

Friends and visitors may book seats at £15 and payment in advance will be required using direct bank transfer wherever possible. It will not be possible to purchase tickets at the door. To purchase tickets please contact Elizabeth Stanley (Membership Secretary), email:, Phone: 07973 410407.

Live-streaming – Unfortunately, the University do not have the capacity to live stream this event, but hope to be in a position to restart the live-streaming later in the season.

I look forward to welcoming you to the first event of our new Autumn Season!


Chichester Music Society’s August 2021 Newsletter

This month’s edition discusses:

• Our next event with The Champagne Quartet will be going ahead as planned on 15th September. A wonderful way to celebrate the start of our Autumn season!
• The additional event with Ashworth & Rattenbury Guitars will be going ahead on 22nd September.
The Autumn programme is confirmed. The subscription for this series is £40, for members re-joining and new members. See the CMS website for full details.

Chairman’s Blog

Our Autumn season gets off to a strong start on 15th September with The Champagne Quartet and on 22nd September with the postponed lecture/recital from Ashworth & Rattenbury Guitars. Non-members can subscribe for these and the October and November concerts at a special rate of £40. As was the case last year, members will receive full credit for any cancelled events against the cost of next year’s renewal.

The AGM was held on 9th June, preceding the concert with Tanya Ursova and Anna Gorbachyova. The Report and Accounts for 2020 were distributed to members during April. The accounts have now been examined by the Society’s Independent Examiner and some small changes made, the deficit has been reduced by £211 to £9504 for the year. A copy of the final accounts is available here.

Whilst we hope to be back to normal in the autumn with a full audience and interval refreshments, given the ongoing situation our programme may be subject to disruption and we will continue to live stream all our events.

This has been a very difficult year for our Society but fortunately, due to the support of members and generosity of donors, our financial position is secure. The Committee has developed an excellent programme for 2022 including some new faces as well as established friends. Full details will be published soon.

I look forward to seeing you all again on 15th September!

Review: Stradivarius Piano Trio

The Stradivarius Piano Trio of Andrew Bernardi Jonathan Few and Maria Marchant performed a brilliant evening of music in Chichester as part of the celebrations.

With a carefully constructed programme including pieces by some female composers, Joanna Gill, Rebecca Clarke and Clara Schumann, the trio spoke about why the pieces had been chosen and what was special about them.

With solos, duets and trios, the passion and emotions of the musicians shone through.

For further details of their future concerts, see

Read more at the link below.

The consolation of Bach at the Festival of Chichester

Pure, cathartic, reflective, they are also fantasy and adventure – and for cellist Pavlos Carvalho they have been an essential companion in life and even more so during the pandemic.

Pavlos is delighted to be returning to the Festival of Chichester once again this year to offer a concert of Bach Cello Suites. His solo recital will be in St Paul’s Church and Parish Centre on July 5 at 1pm.

As Pavlos says, the beauty and the perpetual sense of discovery that these solo cello suites bring with every performance have never ceased to capture the imagination of performers and listeners alike throughout the 300 years since they were composed.

Read more at the link below.

Truly special evening as Ensemble Reza delight Festival of Chichester audience

A wonderful concert from Mid Sussex’s Ensemble Reza underlined the importance of live music tonight to a delighted audience at the Festival of Chichester.

Their Russian Dreams programme in the Assembly Room in the Council House in North Street was delivered to a socially distanced audience – and was met with prolonged and deserved applause.

Read more at the link below.

Exciting Festival of Chichester music series at the University

After the most frustrating and difficult of years, musicians at the University of Chichester will be getting the showcase they deserve as a new festival within the festival at this year’s Festival of Chichester.

The University of Chichester Conservatoire Summer season will bring together around 200 music students to give them some of the performance opportunities they have missed out on during the pandemic.

It is being organised by the University of Chichester’s head of orchestral studies Crispin Ward.

Events will be under the Giant Festival Canopy with the audience on the University’s Festival Field. Tickets through the Festival of Chichester.

Relates to:
Piers Adams with Orbita Baroque Orchestra, Sat 27 June
Acis and Galatea, Tues 30 June
Bond is Back: The Spectre Orchestra Play Bond, Fri 2 July

Read more at the link below.

Review: Chichester Music Society: Tanya Ursova (piano) & Anna Gorbachyova (soprano)

See associated Noticeboard item.

The Chichester Music Society had their first 2021 Concert that finally had a live audience, and as usual the Society met at the University of Chichester, where 30 members and guests attended on 9 June. The artists were Anna Gorbachyova-Ogilvie [soprano – right in photo] and Tanya Ursova [piano].

The programme was a fascinating mixture of Russian, German and French songs, involving music by well-known composers such as Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, Richard Strauss and Poulenc. Interestingly they also included music by other lesser-known composers such as Henri Duparc, and Anna chose his Chanson Triste to open this concert. Immediately the audience was captivated by her confident and dramatic conviction, her volume, which, when needed, was impressive, and her ability to temper this appropriately according to the demands of the music.

Another particularly interesting choice was In the Autumn, a piece which was written by Georgy Sviridov who only died in 1998. Much of his career had been spent working in the Soviet era, but this piece was part of the New Folk Wave, and Anna and Tanya together created a memorable performance which demanded both sensitivity and emotional musical scene painting.

Anna sang throughout with both technical fluidity and produced some highly polished singing with a voice full of emotional intensity, which was particularly noticeable in her rendition of Richard Strauss’ Three Songs of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet Opus 67.

Tanya Ursova’s accompaniment was fluid and at times fiery, at times breathtakingly haunting, always anticipating the mood of each piece, and she was a perfect instrumental companion. She also played a piano solo by Rachmaninov that was well chosen to demonstrate her ability to articulate both poignant, moving music, as well as light-hearted crescendos and more melodic themes.

The concert programme ended with a sensitive performance of Poulenc’s Fiancailles pour Rire where much of the music was anxious and wistful. The Duo ended the concert with an encore by Gershwin that certainly lightened the mood.

This concert was a prime example of what the Chichester Music Society does best, which is to introduce our members to new music, as well as reminding them of old favourites. Chairman, Chris Hough, thanked the two musicians “for giving the Society a wonderful evening of marvellous music”, also thanking Tanya Ursova for her valuable work on the detailed programme notes and translations which greatly added to the audiences understanding & enjoyment of the music.

Profile: Angelina Kopyrina, pianist

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 State Conservatory. It was his presence in my life that inspired me to pursue a career in piano. He insisted to my mother that I study with his professor and mentor Valery Piassetski, which gained me entrance into the CSM school where I studied for 11 years.

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

It’s been challenging completing a PhD while learning new repertoire and simultaneously giving recitals. And, as English is my second language, it took time for me to develop the academic conventions.

What are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

I mostly do solo recitals: I like to have the audience to myself!

Are there any composers for whom you feel a particular affinity?

I am currently completing my PhD entitled “Rachmaninov’s Piano sonatas: author’s editions; challenges of interpretation” so it’s fair to say, I have a strong affinity to Rachmaninov, however, most of my recitals normally include Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt and Prokofiev.

Which performances are you most proud of, or are the most memorable for you?

At 14, I performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the Yaroslavl Philharmonic Orchestra in Yaroslavl, Russia. Also, at 14 I won second prize at the 4th International Nikolai Rubenstein piano competition in Paris.

While studying in London, I performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 and Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini at the Barbican Hall, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 at Dukes Hall, Royal Academy of Music and St Martin-in-the-Fields which of course was memorable. I was just 18 and had just arrived in England when I played at the Barbican. I was a bit overawed by the fact that the concert was a sell-out, perhaps aided by the fact that it was for the Princes Trust charity – nothing to do with me!

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

It depends on their ambitions. If you want to be a Classical/Concert pianist then you will need to give 100% dedication and sacrifice your time. Practising 6 hours a day, every day. Being a concert pianist is a lonely life!!

How would you define success as a musician?

Achieving your goals/ambitions, whatever they are.

Angelina Kopyrina is a multiple classical pianist who has won prizes in several UK and European competitions including the International Czech Republic competition, Morey Piano Competition and 2nd prize at The Hastings Music festival Piano Concerto competition.

She attended the Central Music School, held at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory, aged 6 where she studied under Valery Piassetski.

“Angelina’s interpretation of the Mephisto waltz is unique, a mixture of grandiose power combined with a delicate touch.” – Yonty Solomon

At 14, Angelina performed Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2 with the Yaroslavl Philharmonic Orchestra in Yaroslavl and won second prize at the 4th International Nikolai Rubenstein piano competition in Paris.

“Brilliant virtuosity with great sonority in Rachmaninov’s Concerto No.2” – Philip Fowke

Angelina continued her studies under Nina Sereda at Trinity College of Music, London where her natural virtuosic, passionate and powerful interpretations led to performances of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No.2, Mozart Piano Concerto No.23 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini at the Barbican Hall, London as well as Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 at Dukes Hall, Royal Academy of Music and St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

“Absolutely stunning and brilliant interpretation of Liszt’s Dante Sonata”- Tatiana Zelikman

Angelina is studying “Rachmaninov’s Piano sonatas: author’s editions; challenges of interpretation” as the subject of her PhD at the University of Chichester.

Watch her playing on YouTube
Follow her on Facebook
Visit her website

Watch her play Rachmaninov’s piano sonatas No.1, D minor, op.28 and No.2, B flat minor, op.36.


Chichester Music Press: Phos Hilaron

Two terrific new pieces for you this time.

Phos Hilaron – A song of the light – Robert Fielding (pictured)

This is a setting of O gladdening light for unaccompanied SSATB, as sung by the RSCM Millennium Youth Choir and broadcast on the BBC’s Choral Evensong programme from Romsey Abbey. The text is the oldest hymn still in use, and was considered ‘old’ by St Basil the Great, who himself died in 379AD.

This whirlwind of a piece has a wonderfully exciting rhythmical drive, and harmonic colours derived from the text.

View the score and have a listen at

I say unto you which hear – Martyn Noble
For SATB and organ.

Text from St Luke’s Gospel, containing the vivid passage “And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again”. The music contrasts the distinction between good and evil by varying tempo, volume and dissonance.

View the score and have a listen at

Profile: Tim Ravalde, organist, pianist, choral director and teacher

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 here; I have learnt something from all of them.

As for family background, my mother is a piano teacher and my father a vicar, so for me to end up as a church organist makes some sense. Three organ scholarships were significant opportunities for me: Carlisle Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral and St John’s College, Cambridge.

I can still remember Angela Hewitt and Peter Donohoe coming to give piano recitals in Penrith and Cockermouth when I was young. It is a reminder to me now that all performances are important, even if they might seem to be in the middle of nowhere. You don’t know who is there and what effect it might have on them.

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

Cathedral organists learn on the job: because the ratio of rehearsal to performance is relatively low, we can end up making a lot our mistakes in public, especially in the early days. And no amount of solitary preparation can teach you how to accompany.

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

In making music with others we have to sacrifice some autonomy; in return, we achieve things that are impossible on our own. Like in any healthy relationship, you have to listen in order to contribute.

Are there any composers with whom you feel a particular affinity?

No. I find the achievements of the greatest composers completely incomprehensible: the work ethic, imagination, control, and persistence are beyond me. I most admire those who can engage heart and mind simultaneously: Palestrina, Bach, Brahms.

Which works/performances are you most proud of?

I can’t remember!

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

Practise: the standard expected of professional musicians, quite rightly, is high. Get as good as you can at sight reading: this unlocks many opportunities. Be flexible: play, sing, conduct, write, teach, improvise, compose, arrange, organise. You won’t be equally good at all these things, but you might be pleasantly surprised. Most viable musical careers are based on a variety of activities.

How would you define success as a musician?

Wanting to keep doing it.

What’s keeping you busy at the moment?

I’m always practising for whatever is coming next. Right now it’s Messiaen’s L’Ascension for a performance in Chichester Cathedral and after that it’ll be preparation for a recital in a few weeks’ time. Teaching is a constant, as is thinking about and taking rehearsals for Fernhurst Choral Society.

Since 2010 Tim has been the Assistant Organist of Chichester Cathedral where he is responsible for accompanying the Cathedral Choir for the daily services, as well as all concerts, tours, recordings, and broadcasts. He also assists Charles Harrison with the training of the choir.

He is a busy and experienced teacher of organ, piano and music theory, and many of his students succeeded in exams and auditions. He is the Organ Tutor at the University of Chichester, piano teacher at the Prebendal School, and also teaches privately.

Since 2011 he has been Musical Director of Fernhurst Choral Society, a large and busy SATB choir which gives regular concerts in West Sussex and Surrey.

He is a frequent organ recitalist, and has given concerts in numerous places around the UK, as well as in France and Germany. He is an experienced piano accompanist and has played with a large number of singers, instrumentalists and ensembles. He also appears on various recordings.

He gave the first performance of Terence Allbright’s Toccata for Organ in 2018 and recorded it in 2019. He made the first recording of Salve Regina by George Haynes in 2020. As organ accompanist, he has taken part in first performances of works by Gabriel Jackson, James Macmillan, John McCabe, Philip Moore and Frederick Stocken.

 He was educated at the Nelson Thomlinson School, Wigton, and St John’s College, Cambridge, where he studied music. He has held organ scholarships at Carlisle Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral and St John’s, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists.

Visit for further information.

Chantry Quire: sing with us!

The Chantry Quire is a small Chamber Choir of 24 voices, based in Sussex and directed by Peter Allwood. We perform a wide repertoire, from early music to contemporary works. You can find out more about us on our website.

We are very much looking forward to singing live again this summer. We are currently seeking to recruit two basses to join us for this new season, in time for our summer concert on 3rd July in St Mary’s Church, Horsham. Ideally you will have experience in singing in a small choir environment, and will either have good sight-reading skills or be a quick learner. Applications from other voices are, of course, always welcome.

If you are interested in joining us, then follow this link: You will be invited by our musical director to submit an online audition. We normally rehearse at the Cathedral Centre in Arundel at 7.30 pm on Tuesdays; the postcode is BN18 9AY.

Angelina Kopyrina: Rachmaninov Lecture Recital

Angelina Kopyrina presents a lecture-recital on Rachmaninov’s first piano sonata in D minor, op.28, its history, background and influences on Thursday 13 May 2021 at 7.30pm.

She plays Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonatas on Tuesday 11 May.

Click the link below then.

Festival of Chichester 2021 line-up unveiled

A fantastic range of events will go sale on Saturday 8 May as the Festival of Chichester opens its box office for business.

Dame Penelope Keith, Kate Mosse and Loyd Grossman, the Castalian Quartet, pianist Young-Choon Park, guitarists Linda Kelsall-Barnett and Rob Johnson, the Charlotte Glasson Jazz Trio, the Rude Mechanical Theatre Company, a virtual Summer Feel Good Show from CAOS, poet Vicki Feaver and Chichester Art Society will all be taking part.

The 2021 festival will run from Saturday, June 12 to Sunday, July 11.

The virtual box office launch will be from 1830 to 1900 on Friday, May 7. This event will be held on Zoom. Anyone wishing to attend should contact

Read more at the link below.

Chichester Music Society: University of Chichester Student Showcase Concert cancelled

It is with real regret that I have to inform you that we are not able to proceed with our Student Showcase concert on Tuesday 20th May. Unfortunately, the committee has had a very low number of candidates and we do not feel that it is possible to proceed with the competition this year.

The continuing Covid crisis has made life very difficult for students at the university. Students are finding that it is difficult to rehearse with accompanists and prepare for their concerts and additionally the university has had to work remotely with its students for many weeks. Whilst we have had a number of auditions using video, there are simply not enough of them to make a proper event.

This is very disappointing news for all of us, especially as the situation created by the pandemic is at last improving for many of us in the UK and the rules relating to indoor public performance are being relaxed (although is was unlikely that we would be able to have a live audience for this event in any case). My apologies to all members and friends.

Hanover Band – Chichester University Orchestra streams Beethoven

The Hanover Band writes:

We are also delighted to be back at the University of Chichester this week. After having to cancel our course in February, it has been great to be working with the students again. We’ve been working hard on Beethoven’s 6th Symphony and you can click the link above to watch.

This course is particularly exciting as the whole brass section will be playing on authentic instruments! Jess, 1st horn, was inspired by our course with Gavin in her first year and is now in her masters year and performing part of her final performance on hand horn! The trumpets have been getting to grips with the natural trumpets that were gifted to the university by the Chichester Music Society last year and thanks to Adrian France, our bass trombone player, we have been able to borrow some classical trombones for the trombone students to experience playing.

This is the second year of our collaborative module with the university and the students will be working hard on planning their end of year assessments and picking our musicians brains. Indeed, in this past lockdown, our clarinettist Margaret Archibald has been busy working with the clarinet students online, let’s hope all their hard work pays off this week.

Click the link below to view.

Angela Zanders: a new online “Music in England” course

Angela Zanders (B.Mus., L.T.C.L.) is setting up a new online music appreciation course entitled ‘Music in England’ starting on 19 April 2021.

I have been lecturing in Music Appreciation for over 30 years and take great pleasure in bringing classical music alive for those with little or no knowledge of it, setting composers and musical performances in their historical context and reading contemporary accounts of musical life and personalities. My aim is to provide greater knowledge and appreciation of the music people enjoy listening to, and I use PowerPoint slides as well as audio and video examples to illustrate my talks.

My new course, ‘Music in England’, will trace the music of both native and foreign composers over the centuries, highlighting the different sacred and secular contexts in which music was composed, produced and performed.

The course takes place on zoom over 10 weeks on a Monday afternoon or a Wednesday morning and is open to anyone who is interested to know more on the subject. Please see the flyer below for more details of dates and fees and please do not hesitate to contact me with any queries.

Angela Zanders Music in England course

Mondays 16.00 – 17.30 GMT
April 19th, 26th; May 10th, 17th, 24th; June 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th; July 5th


Wednesdays 10.00 – 11.30 GMT
April 21st, 28th; May 12th, 19th, 26th; June 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th; July 7th

Pianist Maria Luc offers Chichester Cathedral recital

Maria Luc, who usually plays regularly at Chichester Cathedral, has come back to record the last concert of Chichester Cathedral’s lunchtime concert series after almost a year of silence.

Maria is delighted to be back in the cathedral with a programme of the complete Chopin Preludes Op.28 on a Yamaha grand piano on Tuesday 23 March at 1300.

“Although the concert is online, the video depicts the wonderful interiors of the Cathedral. The video will also be able to view after the premiere alongside previous concerts on the Chichester Cathedral Live YouTube Channel.”

Read more at the link below.

Profile: Erin Alexander, soprano

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 rock like Queen, Europe, and Bon Jovi. We would see musicals when they toured up to Liverpool and Manchester, and I fell madly in love with Musical Theatre. Oddly enough my brother went the other way, and our poor parents had to live with an odd medley of me singing Phantom of the Opera in my room, and my brother screaming along to heavy metal in his! But it was Phantom of the Opera that really sparked my interest in classical music, because I saw someone who sang like I could, and I thought “wow”, that could be me.

My wonderfully supportive parents offered me classical singing lessons when I was 15, and for a long time I kept it a secret from my friends. When I was 17 one of my teachers saw that I had won a competition in Alderley Edge near Manchester, and “outed” me to my friends at Priestley College in Warrington. My friends were amazed, and so happy for me! I have been very lucky to be so wonderfully encouraged.

I went to the University of Chichester and studied a Bachelor of Music. I was absolutely spoiled for performance opportunities there, I remember Crispin Ward asking me to step in for Catherine Bott at the last minute at the Chichester Assembly Rooms, and touring Guernsey, Romania, Budapest, Switzerland, Austria, and Rome!

The endless encouragement from my wonderful singing teacher Ian Baar fuelled my dreams. He inspired me to reach far higher than I ever thought possible, and encouraged me to see as much opera as I could.

I saw my first live operas ever during my time in Chichester; I got £5 student tickets for the WNO tours down in Southampton, and I somehow managed to get £25 box seats at the Royal Opera House on another student initiative. Suddenly opera houses were making opera and classical music accessible to all, and it made a huge difference to my interest. Opera became something obtainable, and not only for the very rich.

I then studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, where I was a Choral Scholar for the BBC National Chorus of Wales, and cast in Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus with Opera’r Ddraig. It was wonderful to be a part of something greater than myself in both of these, and they introduced me to a lot of new music.

Likewise, in the final part of my education which was with the European Opera Academy at the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence, the more musicians I met the more inspired I became and the more influence on my musical interests.

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

THE PANDEMIC. I remember vividly when all of my work was cancelled, I had a huge existential crisis. I am a singer – if I cannot sing, then what am I? What is my purpose? I know that sounds silly and dramatic, but that is truly how I felt, and I did a lot of crying.

It took some time for me to reconsider this; as a singer, my purpose is to share. I get to tell the stories of these great composers and librettists, I get reveal secrets and plot twists, impart knowledge and inspire. As a singer, my purpose and gifts are in communication and sharing.

While I couldn’t perform, I decided to use my communication and musical training to take up positions in schools teaching music, and used my knowledge of languages to teach French and Italian too. Alongside this I of course also taught singing lessons and piano online. I am glad that I used the time during the pandemic to continue sharing, communicating, and inspiring people – even if they weren’t my usual audience!

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

There is always something to learn from collaboration. As a singer I am melody-focussed in my practice, so working with pianists, chamber ensembles and orchestras gives me a whole new sound world of rich and lush harmony. Learning and hearing how the voice and harmony create a duet and weave together is one of my favourite parts of collaboration.

It is also important to note that singers are not able to hear themselves properly! If you would like to test this theory out, you can record yourself talking and listen back to it – I guarantee you will cringe! It is very different to how you think you sound, so it is important to have someone else’s ears listening for nuances and helping you.

Of course, my favourite part of any collaboration with other musicians, whether it be just me and an accompanist, or a whole opera company, is the sense of being a part of something much larger than myself.

Are there any composers for whom you feel a particular affinity?

Oh, Mozart! For a while I avoided Mozart; those “in the know” had always expressed how Mozart’s music was perfect, and that really scared me off! It wasn’t until I was doing my Masters that I learned how playfully and mischievously he writes, and now singing Mozart’s operatic work is like laughing with an old friend. He really speaks to my objective of taking the elitism out of classical music by allowing the “lower class” characters so much beautiful music, and has so many clever plot twists!

I really enjoy singing Debussy; all the dreamy harmony and lyrical lines, everything about that era of music and art and poetry really appeals to me, and when all of this is over I hope to visit Paris for the first time and relish in my little French fantasie!

Which works do you think you are able to perform best, and why?

I love character, I love storytelling and human emotion. I think that anything with a great character that I can really get my teeth into is something I perform best.

Which works or performances are you most proud of?

During my Masters I wrote my own piece of Operatic Theatre with the sponsorship and help of the Cooper Hall Emerging Artists Award. It is called On A High Note, and it is an opera specifically designed to break down these barriers of elitism in classical music, and is perfect for opera buffs and newbies alike. I performed it for two weeks at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2019, and it received 5-star reviews!

I am really proud of the achievement; not only did I research and write this new piece of theatre, but I took it to this huge theatrical festival, performed it myself, and people loved it. That was huge for me. I have since taken this production touring, and locally I performed it for the Chichester Music Society, and at the Bognor Music Club. Before the pandemic, there was talk of it touring around America too! I would love to get it touring again, it is such a rush performing something I have given so much love to.

What are your most memorable experiences as a performer?

While on tour with the University of Chichester Chamber Choir in Rome, there was a complete power cut and a huge thunderstorm. A few of us walked to the colosseum during the storm and sang a few of our pieces while we watched the rain lashing down and the colosseum be lit up by lightning.

There are so many instances of me performing on big stages to lots of people and they’re of course memorable, but that one highlights music and friendship to me. The next day we performed in the Vatican, and enjoyed some lovely chianti afterwards!

One of my more memorable performances has to be singing as the soloist in The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins at Chichester Cathedral in my first year of University – I wore a big gold dress and felt so at home.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

You are a person first, and your music is a facet of who you are. Nurture yourself, and your music will benefit from that.

How would you define success as a musician?

If you are improving in your practising, I would say that you are succeeding as a musician.

How are you keeping yourself usefully occupied and sane under lockdown?

I moved to London! Now that things are opening up again, I no longer teach French in schools, but I will be starting as a part-time music teacher and choir director at the Merlin School in Putney in September. I am also very interested in herbalism, and you can quite often find me foraging in forests for edible or medicinal herbs and plants!

Where would you like to be in 10 years’ time?

Firstly, I would like to feel like I had in some way made a difference to the elitism around opera and classical music, and somehow made it more accessible to the masses. That could mean I will write another operatic theatre piece, or it could mean developing outreach projects in schools. Currently I am working with Champagne Opera on a Mini Magic Flute that will give choirs the opportunity to sing opera choruses, and school children a playful and encouraging introduction to operatic music.

Secondly, since my studies in Florence my wanderlust has burned intensely! Within the next ten years I would like to have performed on every continent. With On A High Note tours possibly going to America, who knows where it might go next? The possibilities are endless!

Lastly, I would also very much like to adopt a kitten, so if you know any that are going or if you would like to get in touch with me, please go to my website at

Alternatively, you can see me on 15th September when I will be performing with the Champagne Quartet for the Chichester Music Society a programme of Operatic Favourites at the University of Chichester Chapel. There will be snippets from La Boheme, Magic Flute, Lakme, and more!

If people would like to get in touch with me to go to my website

Here are some videos of me performing:

Chi il bel sogno di DorettaLa Rondine, Puccini

Una Voce Poco Fa from Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia

Award-winning soprano Erin Alexander did her training on a full scholarship at the European Opera Academy at the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence, Italy. While there, she performed the roles of Despina (Cosi fan Tutte), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia).

Prior to this, Erin read music at the University of Chichester under Ian Baar, graduating with First Class Honours, the Chichester Music Group Robert Headley Music Prize, the Tosti Italian Art Song Prize, and the Sondheim Song Prize. In 2018, she graduated with a Master of Music from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under Gail Pearson, after having received a scholarship from the RWCMD and the BBC National Chorus as Wales, where she performed as a choral scholar. While in Wales, Erin performed the operatic roles of Adele (Die Fledermaus), Mrs Fiorentino (Street Scene), and Gretel (Hansel & Gretel).

As the first-ever recipient of the Cooper Hall Emerging Artists Bursary Award, Erin has performed the roles of Zerlina (Don Giovanni) with assistant director at Royal Opera House, Greg Eldridge, and Mimi (La Boheme) for the editor of Opera Now. Cooper Hall commissioned Erin to write and perform a new one-woman piece of operatic theatre, called On a High Note. It has been touring around the UK, and Cooper Hall was thrilled to learn of On a High Note’s 5* reviews and successes at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2019.

 In Oratorio, Erin made her debut deputising for Catherine Bott performing Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. She has performed the soprano solos in Mozart’s virtuosic Mass in C Minor, Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise, and recently sang the world premiere of Ian Lawson’s One World Cantata. Erin’s Oratorio highlights include performing Palestrina at the Museo San Columbano in Bologna and Byrd at the Vatican in Rome. 

Erin also thrives on the concert stage; she has performed at the British Embassy in Romania for Her Majesty the Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations, The Virginia McKenna Born Free Foundation at Goodwood House, and The Savoy Hotel in London. When Erin is not singing, you can find her dabbling in herbalism or napping with her cat!

Read about Erin as featured on Music in Portsmouth.

Profile: Julia Bishop, violinist

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 broke the mould, and was the inspiration for Red Priest, the group that Piers Adams and I set up in the UK in 1997, and for which I played for the next 19 years. I would like to think Red Priest was similarly pioneering.

I was taught by Sir Roger Norrington at the RCM, going on to play for his London Classical Players and, later, the English Concert. I discovered my love of Early Music during my studies at the Royal College of Music when one day I heard the Baroque orchestra being directed by the inspiring Cat Mackintosh. I initially just did one term with the orchestra studying a Handel opera, but by the end of this was completely hooked.

Another great influence was Peter Cropper and the Lindsay String Quartet. Peter used to run inspiring masterclasses, showing me how to make music come alive, and how to make it communicate a series of strong emotions.

Tell us more about Red Priest.

I love hearing people say that they’ve taken up the Baroque oboe, for example, after experiencing Red Priest: it’s certainly attracted a younger age group to the genre. Our approach has always been not to make things too highbrow, to inject a sense of theatre, and to give people a bit of context by chatting between works.

After all, people weren’t too formal when making music in the Baroque era: goats and people used to wander in and out!

After Red Priest, I started my workshops for adults in Lewes. It’s been great to witness some people picking up the instrument after 20 years, and getting rid of bad habits.

I’ve teach Baroque violin pupils at Chichester Conservatoire, and I take the Baroque orchestra there. It’s wonderful seeing many students successfully develop into the style of playing that marks out the Baroque.

It’s great to be performing and working with conductor Crispin Ward, Oxana Dodon (violin) and Ivana Peranic (‘cello) at Chichester’s University.

I am now finding great inspiration performing concerts with soprano Ana Maria Rincon and harpsichordist Howard Beach in their newly-formed chamber ensemble Purcell’s Muse.

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

Launching one’s career is always challenging, but I was helped by the fact that the early music scene was lively, and I quickly found my feet.

Juggling work and family can be challenging, the more so if work means a lot of long-haul flights to the other side of the world, as it did for me.

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

Touring has a special place for me: you work intensively with other musicians.

Are there any composers for whom you feel a particular affinity?

Even if he’s not from the Baroque area, Mozart is the composer who most moves and heals me. It’s no surprise that he appears on so many tracks for young children. I am also a great fan of Monteverdi, Beethoven and Chopin, depending on my mood. Bach is not for relaxation, he’s often too intensive, but he is an absolute genius.

Which works or performances are you most proud of?

I am proud of what we achieved as Red Priest, and a special mention should also be made of the London Classical Players’ performances of Beethoven’s symphonies (with Melvyn Tan) and English Concert’s performances of Mozart’s symphonies: in each case none of the musicians (including myself) stood out above the others, yet they were exceptional.

Which works do you think you most like performing?

I like music that is thoughtful, that moves slowly with a long line, which you can sing in your head as you play. So I am not that much of a fan of, say, Vivaldi’s stratospheric, gymnastic approach!

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

Don’t be discouraged by the current situation. Music will always be essential. Many people are keen to experience live music. And even if performances will now be both online and in-person, that makes it accessible to many more people.

If you are set on a career in music, be passionate – that’s the only way you will be able to do your best.

I often refer my pupils to David Cutler’s excellent “The Savvy Musician” book. It has a lot of pointers for success, focusing on the entrepreneurial side of the music business and emphasizing the value of creativity and risk.

I also like Tony Rooley’s “Performance: Revealing the Orpheus within”. It helps build up confidence and overcome nerves, showing how the performer can achieve a heightened state of self-awareness and sense of magic.

At any stage of your career, you may have to re-invent yourself; attitude is everything, and you are only limited by lack of imagination! That’s why I am optimistic that we will get things going.

How are you keeping yourself usefully occupied and sane under lockdown?

Once lockdown ends there will be a lot less travel, but I am not going to miss it. Infact travel restrictions are probably good for one’s health, and I am certainly not as tired as I used to be!

But things are getting busier professionally. For example I’m taking part in The Polyphonic Concert Club, a project initiated and managed by Robert Hollingworth and Polyphonic Films, comprising six filmed online chamber recitals including I Fagiolini and Red Priest, which has just been launched as a livestream (available until 29 April). We will be playing a selection of “vintage” pieces which will be able to be viewed on 1 April.

I am also looking forward to playing with Salisbury Baroque before too long and to returning to Benslow Music in August.

Julia studied at the Royal College of Music and has made the Baroque violin her speciality.  Thirty-five years later Julia is recognised as one of the most colourful exponents of the instrument. She has toured the world extensively and made numerous recordings with all the period instrument orchestras in the UK including the London Classical Players, the Hanover Band, the Academy of Ancient Music, the English Concert, with whom she was a member for six years, and as leader and soloist with the Gabrieli Consort and Players for five years.

​In 1997 Julia co-founded the ensemble Red Priest with recorder player Piers Adams, and from then enjoyed what was to be 19 years of huge success, regularly touring Europe, the Far East and America and making 6 highly acclaimed CDs.  In 2015 Julia stepped back from the group in order to be at home more with her young daughter, but still appears as guest violinist. As well as Red Priest, Julia is a member of Purcell’s Muse with Ana Maria Rincon, soprano, and Howard Beach on harpsichord.

In the last few years Julia has become increasingly popular for her lively and informative teaching on workshops and courses around the UK.  She is a regular tutor at Benslow Music and teaches Historical Performance at the University of Chichester Conservatoire as well as recently tutoring at the Royal Academy of Music and the University of York.

2019/20 solo recitals have included ‘Night Music’, a programme of evocative music for unaccompanied violin at Lewes Baroquefest 2019 and Bridge Cottage Museum, Uckfield Jan 2020, and a live-streamed duo recital with cellist Sebastian Comberti for Seaford Music Festival Sept 2020.

Chichester Music Society’s March 2021 Newsletter

This month’s edition discusses:

• The Covid crisis continues to have a major impact on our programme schedule with The Student Showcase delayed until May. Further details below.

• Our event with Ashworth & Rattenbury Guitars has had to be postponed until an additional date in September. Hopefully by that time live audiences should be able to enjoy their programme! See full details of our revised programme below.

• The AGM will be delayed this year until 9th June. The Annual Report and Accounts will be emailed to members next month. See Chairman’s Blog.

The Student Showcase Competition, where six selected undergraduates compete for the £1500 Prize Fund (First prize £600) will now take place on Thursday 20th May in the University Chapel.

Auditions will be taking place during April and further details will be published in our next Newsletter.

Chairman’s Blog

Our programme for the beginning of the year continues to be badly affected by the continuing Covid crisis and lockdown, Performers are finding that it is impossible to rehearse in groups and prepare for their concerts and additionally in our case until recently the University has had to work remotely with its students with no visitors allowed on campus.

The Student Showcase has now been rescheduled to 20th May and the event with Ashworth & Rattenbury Guitars is being rearranged for later in September. As was the case last year, members will receive full credit for the postponed events against the cost of next year’s renewal. We are hoping that our summer concert will go ahead as planned on 9th June although we will probably not be able to provide the full interval buffet as usual.

Our AGM has been postponed until 9th June, preceding the concert with Tanya Ursova and Anna Gorbachyova. Members will receive the Report and Accounts for 2020 during April. This has been a very difficult year for our Society but fortunately due to the support of members and generosity of donors, our financial position is secure. The Committee has developed an excellent programme for 2022 including some new faces as well as established friends. Full details will be circulated soon.

The untimely death of our Treasurer, Chris Coote, last September was a real loss and we are currently seeking someone to replace him. If any member is able to help the Committee in this way, I should be delighted to hear from them.

The Committee would like to thank members for their support over this very difficult period. I know how much we all want to get back to normal and enjoy our live music and socialising once again. Do take care and look after yourselves. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Chris Hough

Programme for the year

Thursday 20th May University of Chichester Student Showcase Concert
Six selected undergraduates compete for the £1500 Prize Fund (First Prize £600)

9th June Summer Concert
Tanya Ursova (piano) & Anna Gorbachyova (soprano) perform a programme of Russian music for our summer event. Tanya last performed for the society in 2017 when she presented a lecture recital on the Muses behind the Russian composers. Tonight Tanya returns with her friend Anna Gorbachyova (soprano) with a programme songs for a summer evening. This event will be preceded by the AGM from 7.15pm.

15th September Erin Alexander & the Champagne Quartet
The Quartet will perform a reduced version of one of the great operas, small in scale but including all the best bits!

September (date tbc) Ashworth & Rattenbury Guitars
The guitar duo present ‘A Shared Resonance’, a lecture/recital featuring duets performed on three types of instrument: the Baroque guitar, the Early Romantic guitar, and the modern classical guitar. Each of the guitars has it’s own distinctive sound, and original music that was written for it, or in this case for two guitars. The duo will perform music by some of the major guitarists and composers of the last three centuries to tell the story of how the guitar duet developed and changed, and is still changing

13th October Emma Abbate & the Sacconi Quartet
CMS are delighted to present the highly talented pianist Emma Abbate with the award-winning Sacconi Quartet. The Quartet are recognised for their integrated and compelling ensemble, consistently communicating with a fresh and imaginative approach. Performing with style and commitment and are known throughout the world for their creativity and integrity of interpretation. The Ensemble will play music for piano quintet including Shostakovitch’s brilliant Op. 57 Piano Quintet

10th November Martino Tirimo & Atsuko Kawakami
The brilliant duo return with a programme of music for two pianos

8th December CMS Bursary Holders Concert
This is a special benefit event for Christmas and features some of our recent bursary holders. A retiring collection will be made at the end of the concert and all proceeds will go to CMS charities for the benefit of future bursary award winners and the purchase of musical instruments.
Full programme details will be circulated nearer the time. Wine & mince pies will be served during the interval.

Ensemble Reza emerge confident from pandemic

Mid-Sussex based Ensemble Reza – regulars at the Festival of Chichester – are in a remarkably strong position.

They can confidently say their year of lockdown and pandemic has been a thoroughly good one.

“We have had an exciting year,” says Ensemble Reza managing director Hannah Carter, “and we have got an exciting future.”

In fact, on Tuesday, March 16, they will notch up their 50th virtual Ensemble Reza Midday Music Concert – a weekly commitment which has been a key way the ensemble has navigated all the challenges of 2020 and into 2021.

Read more at the link below.

Chantry Quire Passiontide Meditation 30 March 2021

For several years now the Chantry Quire has performed an annual Passiontide Meditation – a programme of music and thought-provoking readings – in Boxgrove Priory.

The concert has been sponsored by Rathbones, which has enabled us to give the proceeds to support the Aldingbourne Trust, a local charity that does remarkable work with young disabled people; over the years the choir has raised over £5000 for the Trust.  As those of you who have attended previous performances will recall, we have always included a short presentation from a member of Aldingbourne’s staff, and from one of their young clients themselves, to remind us what it’s all about. We feel a special connection with the Trust as the mother of two of our singers was instrumental in setting it up.

But of course Covid-19 has changed everything.  We had to cancel last year’s concert, and we won’t be able to perform this year’s either – or not in the normal way.   We did, however, want to honour our commitment both to Aldingbourne and to Boxgrove.  So our musical director, Peter Allwood, came up with the idea of performing a rather shorter programme of music and readings, which we would all record separately at home, and then have combined – by technical wizardry – into a single video concert.

We are giving it our best efforts: learning the music, following the guide tracks pre-recorded by a group of four young soloists at the beginning of their careers so as to get our timing exactly right, and then recording ourselves at home.  It feels very strange, but it is still wonderful to get back singing together, even if virtually.

This all costs money, of course – the soloists, the musical director and the video producer all need to be paid.  So we appealed to everyone we could think of for help, and the response was amazing!  In fact, we have raised more than we needed, from more than 30 different sponsors – local companies, friends and family, choir members past and present …   We are so grateful to everyone who has helped to make our video dream a reality.

The video will actually be launched at 6pm on the Tuesday of Holy Week, 30th March.  You will be able to access it via the Chantry Quire website, so do please watch it, either then or later – it will remain freely available.  It will include a short introduction from Aldingbourne, and viewers will of course be warmly encouraged to make a generous donation to the Trust.  You may even spot – among the postage-stamp-sized faces – a few faces you recognise!

Chichester Cathedral lunchtime concerts resume

At 1pm on Tuesday 23rd February, Chichester Cathedral’s weekly lunchtime concert series will resume, online, for five weeks. Details of programmes and performers can be found on the cathedral website or by downloading the Chichester Cathedral spring 2021 lunchtime programme.

Each concert will be preceded by a short talk on the programme led by the Cathedral’s assistant organist Tim Ravalde. You can register for these by following this link: Register for pre-concert talks on Zoom.

Future concerts:
Tuesday 23 February, 1.00pm – Charles Harrison, organ – watch this on YouTube
Tuesday 2 March 2021, 1.00pm – Tim Ravalde, organ – watch this on YouTube
Tuesday 9 March 2021, 1.00pm – David Alexander, piano – watch the pre-concert talk and watch the recital
Tuesday 16 March 2021, 1.00pm – Louise Salmond Smith, recorder, and Charles Harrison, piano – watch the pre-concert talk by Louise and watch the recital
Tuesday 23 March 2021, 1.00pm – Maria Luc, piano

Tim says, “We look forward to welcoming our community and beyond back to the Cathedral’s Nave for the irreplaceable experience of enjoying live music in person. Until then, we invite you to join us online for music by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Franck, Handel, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Telemann, Widor and more.”

St Richard Singers: Virtual Come & Sing Stainer’s Crucifixion

Here we are in a New Year with new challenges, almost a full year after we entered the first national lockdown! Things are definitely looking up now with vaccines available and some of you possibly having received a first dose. Unfortunately, in-person gatherings and concert performances appear still some way off. However, we have a treat for you this Lent.

Last year we planned a ‘Come & Sing’ with Stainer’s Crucifixion at the end of March. It had to be called off to everyone’s disappointment just a few weeks before the event. Having sampled the possibilities, and indeed opportunities, which virtual music-making has to offer with our Christmas Carols project (now up on our very own YouTube channel), we would like to invite you to our first Virtual Come & Sing Stainer’s Crucifixion.

If you wish to be part of this project, and enjoy singing a few familiar pieces of great music, please head to our website for more information and payment details.

For £5 you can join SRS for this Virtual Performance of some pieces from Stainer’s ever-popular work in your own time and at your own pace. Please encourage others to join in, as we are no longer limited by time and space.

The edited “performance” will be released online on Palm Sunday, 28 March, exactly a year after the original planned event would have taken place. Once your payment has been received (BACS or cheque) the resources and instructions will be made available to you. Any profits will go to Parkinson’s Disease Association.

Think of the finished product as a TV programme that features yourself which you can re-play and re-play, and which will thrill & impress family & friends the world over.

If you have any question prior to booking, please use the contact form on our website. Please also revisit our website for further updates regarding the Festival of Chichester 2021.

We hope to “see” you at our virtual Come & Sing. Stay Safe and Keep Singing!

Read about Sachin Gunga, MD of St Richard Singers.

Festival of Chichester eyes up summer possibilities with major IT upgrade

The Festival of Chichester is planning confidently for the future with a major IT investment – thanks to generous grant support from Chichester District Council.

CDC is giving the festival a grant of £1,600 towards the cost of a new website and a new vastly-improved event registration system.

Festival chairman Phil Hewitt said: “This is brilliant news for the festival in such an uncertain year – and we are hugely grateful to the district council for recognising the importance of what we do, not just in Chichester but in the wider district. The new systems have been masterminded by our committee member Simon O’Hea who has done a wonderful job in envisaging just how much more efficient we really ought to be… and are now going to be!”

Read more at the link below.

Why live-streaming will never beat live performance…

Chichester Chamber Concerts should have been starting the New Year with a visit from The Bach Players on Thursday 28 January.

Inevitably, it’s not happening – which is hardly the best possible start to The Bach Players’ 25th anniversary year.

But leader Nicolette Moonen (violin) is looking on the bright side. The concert has been provisionally rescheduled to take place on 9 July.

Read more at the link below.

Chichester Music Society’s February 2021 Newsletter

The Covid crisis continues to have a major impact on our programme schedule, with our February and March events postponed until next year. Further details are set out in the Chairman’s Blog, below.

Whilst our February event with Ensemble Reza cannot go ahead, we are pleased to present an update on the activities of one of our favourite groups below.

We are hoping that the Student Showcase can proceed as planned. Brief details of all our forthcoming events appear below.

Chris Hough, chair, writes:

It is with real regret that I have to inform you that we are not able to proceed with our concert on Wednesday 10th February. Due to the continuing Covid crisis and lockdown, CMS has had to postpone the event with Ensemble Reza until next year. This event has been re-scheduled to the 10th February 2022. Performers are finding that it is impossible to rehearse in groups and prepare for their concerts and additionally in our case, the University is working remotely with its students with no visitors allowed on campus until mid-February at the earliest.

For the same reasons, the March concert with the University Chamber Orchestra has also been postponed until next year. Our AGM has been postponed until the event with Ashworth & Rattenbury Guitars on 12th May. As was the case last year, members will receive full credit for the postponed events against the cost of next year’s renewal.

Your committee is working hard behind the scenes to ensure a full and rewarding programme of events in 2022. We are planning to include some new faces as well as established friends including the Rosamunde Trio and Margaret Fingerhut.

These are very difficult times and I know how much we all want to get back to normal and enjoy our live music and socialising once again. Do take care and look after yourselves. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!

Ensemble Reza are special friends of ours & we always look forward to their visits which deliver inspired and committed performances. It is very disappointing that we are unable to see them this year. They have an excellent website & members are advised to take a look and check out the many opportunities to hear them perform.

Hannah Carter, their Managing Director writes:

“As we pass yet another milestone of a missed sextet concert Pavlos reminded us all this weekend of a happier January, when we popped up to London to perform at St Thomas’s Hospital.  We are really looking forward to a time when we can get back together again and take our music out to audiences locally and further afield!

“Talking about further afield, this Tuesday our Midday Music concert will be streamed live from Spain as we are joined once more by the brilliant accordionist Iñigo Mikeleiz Berrade.  This concert will feature music from across the world including Germany, Russia, Brazil and Argentina.

“This Sunday 31st January, we are very excited to launch our unique programme of rehearsals for our Community Orchestra.  We are keen to welcome both our regular members to the orchestra and any new players, so please help us to spread the word by forwarding our newsletter to your friends and family. Thank you!

Finally, we are always keen to support the local Haywards Heath Music Society.  Pavlos Carvalho and Louisa Lam will launch their 79th season of concerts with a pre-recorded programme of music to celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary on Saturday 6th February.  For more information and tickets visit the Society’s website.”

Update to plans for the Festival of Chichester in 2021

We are still looking forward to the 2021 Festival of Chichester between 12 June to 11 July and hoping to be able to return to a lively, eclectic programme of arts events.

However, because of the current circumstances, the festival committee feels that we need to delay our festival entry window from February to March. We will keep in touch with you and confirm closer to the date that the entry window will open on Monday 1 March and will close on Wednesday 31 March. As previously advised, all entries will need to be submitted via a new registration form at You have the usual guidance and information to help you complete your application. If all progresses to plan, the box office at The Novium will open for ticket sales on 1 May.

If the national situation means we won’t be able to progress to a full live festival in 2021, we’ll be planning for a new kind of online festival, perhaps also including some open-air events or socially distanced gatherings, depending on the rules applicable at the time.

We are planning an active publicity programme to develop contacts and to enable us all to work together by supporting each other’s events and maximizing the benefit of all our individual contacts and mailing lists. By working together, we can amplify the message and this will help you to reach a wider audience for the events you are planning.

University of Chichester Conservatoire: download your copy of “Showcase” Feb-Aug 2021

The University of Chichester Conservatoire has one of the largest and liveliest music departments in the UK with a community of over 400 student performers. Its facilities include computerised recording and media studios, well-equipped practice rooms and an acoustically superb performance venue.

Please see Showcase Feb 2020 to Aug 2021 (a 12 MB download) as well as the concerts page.

Support for musicians and the musical community during the pandemic

Established in early 2017, Music in Portsmouth offers classical musicians a voice in the local community. It enjoys around 1,000 unique visits and 3,000 page views per month.

During the current crisis I am:

• Writing profiles of local musicians – whether they be composers, conductors or performers*
• Sharing videos and audio clips, including video-casts and live-streamed concerts – the concert venues are closed but the music goes on
• Sharing articles and other resources which may be of interest.

If you hear of anything you’d like me to share, or if you would like me to write a profile of you, please contact me or message me via Twitter to submit material for inclusion.

Meanwhile, stay well everyone and let’s keep in touch.

* Read about:
Adrian Green
Angelina Kopyrina
Tim Ravalde
Cordelia Hobbs
Catherine Martin
Robert Browning
Jelena Makarova
Erin Alexander
Julia Bishop
Sachin Gunga
Brian Moles
George Burrows
Neil Sands
Philip Drew
Stefanie Read
Susan Yarnall-Monks
Alex Poulton
Stewart Collins
Catherine Lawlor
Crispin Ward
Clive Osgood
Jack Davies
Vincent Iyengar
Jonathan Willcocks
Susan Legg
Lucy Humphris
Nik Knight
Andrew Cleary
Steve Venn
Cathy Mathews
David Price
William Waine
Stella Scott
David Russell
Peter Gambie
Lynden Cranham
Ben Lathbury
Valentina Seferinova
Ann Pinhey
Geoff Porter
Tim Fisher
Terry Barfoot
Angela Zanders
Peter Best
Colin Jagger
Ian Schofield
Matthew Coleridge
Nicola Benedetti
Beryl Francis
Alex Poulton
David Gostick
Stuart Reed
Lucy Armstrong
Roy Theaker
Julia Bishop
Anne White
Wayne Mayor
Stefano Boccacci
Ben Lathbury
Jake Barlow
Penny Gordon
Antonia Kent
John Elder
Simon Wilkins

Chichester Chamber Concerts are now being livestreamed from its own Youtube channel

We now have our own Youtube Channel where you can find the video of Ariel Lanyi’s piano recital on 3rd December. The forthcoming concerts by The Bach Players on 28th January and the Armida Quartet on 25th February will also be available there. In addition, if you have bought a streaming ticket from Chichester Festival Theatre, or if you write to Kevin Maynard at to register your interest, we will send you the link to a specific concert in advance.

If you are looking for classical music in Chichester look no further than The Assembly Room in the Chichester Council House in North Street, where you will find a rich variety of music from Bach to Stravinsky performed by world-class musicians.

Chichester Chamber Concerts is the name of the society which organises these concerts in October, November, December, January, February and March each year.

Founded in 2006 by Michael Nott this series of classical chamber music concerts has gone from strength to strength and has become a popular feature of the musical life of Chichester. String quartets were Michael’s particular love and the Skampa, Danish, Arcadia, Doric, Sacconi, Allegri and Heath Quartets have all appeared in CCC seasons.

Preview: Chichester Music Society: “Continuum” presents an Evening of J S Bach and Sons

Concert postponed to January 2022.

We are delighted that Continuum is returning to the University of Chichester. Since they last performed here, Continuum have been busy performing what had become an annual St Cecilia Day concert in Wells Cathedral, and they sorely missed performing there in November 2020. However, their last concert before lockdown was in February 2020 for the Totnes Early Music Society in Devon, where they performed an all J. S. Bach programme to a large and particularly appreciative audience.

Continuum are Elizabeth Walker – baroque flute, Rachel Beckett – baroque flute and recorder, Sebastian Comberti – baroque violoncello, Michael Overbury – harpsichord. In this evenings concert devoted to the Music of J S Bach and his sons, they present a programme that includes two new arrangements by Elizabeth Walker of J. S. Bach’s Organ Trio Sonatas BWV 525 and 529, together with one of the most reliably attributed Trio Sonatas by J.S. Bach for two flutes and continuo, BWV 1039.

Elizabeth writes “we also include the beautiful smaller Trio Sonata, BWV 1038, also likely to have been composed in Leipzig in 1729, for a series of 500 concerts or more that Bach composed for at this time, and in which his pupils and his sons would have performed as soloists.

The six sonatas for organ “à Clav. E Pedal” are extremely beautiful but challenging to play for any organist. It is believed these sonatas were also compiled around 1720, written out by his son, Wilhelm Friedemann Bach and his stepmother, Anna Magdalena.

Johann Nikolaus Forkel (22 February 1749 – 20 March 1818), Bach’s biographer, commented:
“Six sonatas or trios for two keyboards with obbligato pedal. Bach composed them for his eldest son, Willhelm Friedemann, who, by practising them, prepared himself to be the great organist he later became. It is impossible to say enough about their beauty. They were written when the composer was in his full maturity and can be considered his principal work of this kind”.

It is not known exactly when Wilhelm Friedemann Bach wrote his youthful flute duets, but we do know that Quantz would have had them before 1741, because they appear in his book of ‘Solfeggi’ which Quantz compiled for Frederick the Great. Scholars have looked at the manuscripts and detected from the handwriting, that W. F. Bach could have written the first two duets as early as 1724, when he was still in Leipzig with his father.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the fifth child and second (surviving) son of J S Bach. He became an extremely influential composer working at a time of transition between his father’s Baroque style and the classical and romantic styles that followed. His personal approach, an expressive and often turbulent one known as empfindsamer Stil applied the principles of rhetoric and drama to musical structures. The manuscript Notebook was presented by J S Bach to his second wife in 1725, so C P E Bach was no more than 11 years of age when he composed these Two Marches and Two Polonaises. Simple, but well characterised, they shed an interesting light on domestic music-making in the Bach household.”

Review: Chichester Music Society – David Owen Norris

Chichester Music Society was pleased to welcome David Owen Norris on 9 December at the University of Chichester when he gave his lecture-recital entitled “Beethoven at the Piano – a Path of his own Discovery.” This concert was live-streamed courtesy of the University.

David Owen Norris is a consummate and experienced lecturer and pianist, performing all over the world and presenting regularly on BBC radio & TV including BBC Proms Extra.

He started his lecture/recital on a historical note, pointing out that Beethoven had had lessons on the harpsichord, but that he was a self-taught musician on the piano. He was of course an exceptional pianist as well as a composer, able almost effortlessly to improvise, as he showed aged 21, when he just added variations to his performance of his own work, the Righini Variations, by playing new variations in the elegant style he had just heard for the first time.

Throughout his presentation, David Owen Norris played a wide range of illustrative excerpts from Beethoven’s compositions to emphasise the points he was making. He explained that Beethoven, over the coming years, began to create his own style of playing in his compositions, such as adding scales and trills from 1791. The result was that we began to hear phrases such as “mercurial characteristics” or “irreverent impudence” that surround reviews of his music.

David Owen Norris then played the Moonlight Sonata, Opus 27, No 2, which was written in 1802 when Beethoven knew he was going deaf, the final movement a poignant reminder that the composer did not accept this threat to his life of music. The transformation from the tranquil first movement to the finale was ably played by the pianist, where he created endlessly varied colourings and subtle changes in dynamics and phrasing, with a firm and exciting finale. A real loss to members that no audience was able to be present to enjoy this fine performance.

The second piece was the Sonata Pathetique Opus 13, which was written in 1799. Again, this was beautifully performed, with the pianist ably interpreting the fiery and darker elements of the music.

The final piece was a special composition for the evening. David Owen Norris created a possible scenario imagining that were Beethoven alive today, being Christmas, he might have added a set of variations on a Christmas carol to his catalogue of works. Thus, our lecturer and pianist gave us a set of Christmas variations written in the style of Beethoven. This was an exercise which really worked and seemed to this reviewer to be eminently possible and would believably be approved of by Beethoven himself!

Chris Hough, Chairman of Chichester Music Society, thanked David Owen Norris, and said, “This was a wonderful evening, and it was fitting to have such a remarkable and sensitive pianist and presenter to end our 2020 celebration of Beethoven’s birth 250 years ago. What a delight to be able to enjoy David’s remarkable compositional skills and share his fascinating interpretations and insights into Beethoven’s great music.”

Festival of Chichester: The Festive Jazz Café

Each December, the Festival of Chichester puts on an exciting evening of jazz and readings to celebrate the Christmas season and to raise much-needed funds to kickstart next summer’s festival. All the performers are giving their services free so if you enjoy the festive fun, please consider making a small donation.

This year, it is going virtual.

You can enjoy online fantastic jazz from The Dream Duo, Julian Marc Stringle (vocals and clarinet) with Dominic Ashworth (guitar) plus stimulating Greek-influenced jazzy sounds from Pavlos Carvalho with Rebetiki Serenata.

Guest poet is Romani writer Raine Geoghegan, plus dramatized readings from A Christmas Carol by Gareth Williams – film/TV/stage actor and ex-singer with the million-selling group The Flying Pickets….remember Only You? That’s Gareth! Also featuring actress Paula Tinker with festive readings.

Come back to the page linked below on Friday 11th December for a 7.30pm première. All the performances will be available to view throughout the rest of December.

Chichester Music Society: David Owen Norris: ‘A path of his own discovery’: Beethoven at the piano

Wed 9 Dec 2020 7:30pm, Chapel of the Ascension, Bishop Otter Campus, University of Chichester. Links below.

David Owen Norris is a pianist, composer and broadcaster. He won the Prize of the City of Geneva in the Geneva Competition, and the Accompanist’s Prize at Leeds; and since his appointment to the prestigious Gilmore Artist Award, has performed all across the world, with four appearances in the BBC Proms, concert tours of Europe, Australia and North America, including performances at Sydney Opera House, the Kennedy Centre, Lincoln Centre, Ravinia Festival Chicago, the South Bank Centre etc. and a discography of 60 commercial CDs including his own Piano Concerto with the BBC Concert Orchestra, and his oratorio Prayerbook. His other compositions include a Symphony, a Piano Sonata, the oratorio Turning Points, and the multi-media tribute to the passing seasons, HengeMusic.

His Chord of the Week programmes on BBC2 television were a popular feature of the Proms for six years. His Perfect Pianists is often shown on BBC4. He has contributed to programmes on Parry, Vaughan Williams, Mendelssohn & Elgar, including ninety minutes on BBC2 dedicated to Elgar’s Piano Concerto, with a full, filmed performance with the BBCSO. His first TV presentation, The Real Thing? from 1990, was hailed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘the most literate and probing programme on music for many years’, and his most recent Chord of the Week was reviewed by the Observer as ‘the most consistently intelligent three minutes you’ll watch on this or any other television this year’. The Beethoven 9 app for which he wrote the book and the analyses won the Best Music App Award.

His many radio presentations have included the Playlist series on Radio 4, and In Tune and The Works on radio 3, where he made his 28th appearance on Building a Library last December. Recordings recently released include Mozart on fortepiano for Hyperion, featured in the New York Times, and the complete Chamber Music of Grace Williams, which was a Guardian CD of the Week. He will shortly conclude his complete survey of Sir Arthur Sullivan’s songs on Chandos.

In this evening’s lecture/recital David Owen Norris begins by tracing the development of Beethoven’s stylistic traits from the variations: triple-time Adagios, such a metrical minefield for performers throughout his work; the ridiculous jokes, the baffling dynamic shifts, the exploitation of each end of the keyboard, even the boldness of tonality – all is here in embryo.

He then turns his attention to Beethoven’s two most remarkable sonatas composed before deafness put an end to his performing career: the Sonate Pathétique, Op. 13 (1799) and the Fantasy-Sonata Op.27 No.2 (1802 – the Moonlight Sonata). Op.13 shows us how Beethoven’s pianism came out of his harpsichord playing – the first edition describes it as being ‘for harpsichord or pianoforte’, and Beethoven arranged many of its details with that in mind. The Moonlight, from the same year as the Heiligenstadt Testament, Beethoven’s open letter of despair to the world, can be read as a personal response to the onset of deafness – it is dedicated to the pupil he had hitherto hoped to marry.

Festival of Chichester annual public meeting switches to Zoom

Organisers of the Festival of Chichester are setting the ball rolling for next year with their annual public meeting.

The plan is for a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, November 17, beginning at 7pm. Drop us an email to to receive details on how to confirm your attendance.

Read more at the link below.

Profile: Susan Yarnall-Monks, soprano, lecturer and voice coach

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 I didn’t want to – but it was various performances that made me consider taking up music as a career. While at school I played the part of Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, which was hugely challenging but which left me with a love of Mozart. My piano teacher got me into singing but my parents only found out that I had a talent for it when I surprised them by winning a local Eisteddfod!

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

For any woman who wants to combine a professional career with bringing up a family, there will always be sacrifices and compromises to make. I’m not complaining, as I have a wonderful family and have had a wonderful career.

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

One of the main challenges is trying to achieve a high quality of music-making in a concert if fellow musicians are stressed or nervous. Quite by contrast, rehearsals are a pleasure, where one can work on different interpretations of the work in a generally more relaxed atmosphere.

I teach on the BMus Vocal Performance degree at Chichester University. I like to give my students the challenge of singing in different languages, in particular French, German and Italian. Last year my students’ repertoire extended to works in Dutch, Finnish, Polish, Swedish and Welsh, which was a challenge for me and them at times!

Are there any composers with whom you feel a particular affinity?

I have an eclectic musical taste and refuse to be ‘put in a box!’ I love Mozart, Howells, French Romantic composers and Poulenc in particular, but also Scottish songs for Burns night and works by Gershwin.

Which works do you think you perform best?

Art songs, which are miniature narratives capable of picture painting. Oratorio, Opera and Renaissance music.

Which performances are you most proud of?

Singing Fauré’s Requiem, Brahms Requiem and Carmina Burana with the Southampton Choral Society, and Poulenc’s Gloria and Mozart’s Requiem with the Renaissance Choir, because I felt all the musicians were as one with the music.

What are your most memorable concert experiences?

When I visited Berlin last year, I was able to attend Daniel Barenboim’s final concert with the Berlin Phil, an incredibly moving performance from a man who has given so much to the musical life of the world. Richard Goode used to perform regularly at Bath Music Festival: he was able to extract so many colours from the piano, you could hardly believe that he was actually playing just one instrument! Also memorable was Eugene Onegin with Susan Chilcott and Thomas Hampson at the Bastille Opera in Paris because I was introduced to Tom afterwards when we were enjoying a post-performance supper and…because the singing was so electrifying.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

Be flexible and adaptable, remain creative and willing to explore. It’s a tough world out there. Get to know (and perform) music that many people don’t know; there is a lot of good contemporary music around at the moment, and you will get noticed that way. One favourite of mine at the moment is Michael Nyman’s If, with words based on Anne Frank’s diary, because it so poignant and deceptively simple.

How would you define success as a musician?

In my opinion success can be defined by whether you’ve been able to communicate a shared moment. The pianist Malcolm Martineau once spoke about the magic triangle of singer, pianist and audience and the real connection that worked between all three at a masterclass many years ago, and last year heard I him accompanying the soprano Anne Schwanewilms at Wigmore Hall when this was very evident.

Come and hear some of my students sing!

On Tuesday 17 November there will be an English Song Concert given by the University’s B.Mus Vocal Performance degree singers at the University, which will be live-streamed.

Such students need all the help they can get. I am optimistic, though, as although the delivery of musical performance may alter, musicians have shown great adaptability in the current crisis.

Susan Yarnall-Monks is an Associate Lecturer and Vocal Tutor at the University of Chichester Conservatoire. She is a professional soprano and she also enjoys singing with the Renaissance Choir where she is a frequent soloist. She has sung at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline and in New York as well as European tours of France, Poland, Spain and Italy. Her love of French and English song has led to many recitals and recordings.

She was awarded her PhD (2007) from Sheffield University for her research into the Perception of the Singing Voice. She taught Singing and Music at Kingswood School, Bath for many years and recently retired from teaching voice at St. Paul’s Girls School, London. Susan took part in the Master Teachers Week at Princeton University USA. She is currently President of the European Vocational Training Association (EVTA) which involves organising international conferences for singing teachers from around the world.

She continues to teach singers of all ages and abilities and enjoys the challenge of helping anyone find their voice. She is a Licensed Lay Reader and also runs the Birdham Village Choir, and enjoys sailing, gardening and embroidery.

For her musings, see her blog at To view her more than 100 daily video singing exercises, visit The Renaissance Choir’s YouTube channel.


Plans for the Festival of Chichester 2021

We are looking forward to the 2021 Festival of Chichester, which will run between 12 June and 11 July, and are hoping to be able to return to a lively, eclectic programme of arts events.

It was such a disappointment to be forced to cancel the fantastic plans we had lined up for the 2020 live festival, but we’ve been very pleased with the positive responses to our Virtual Festival, which helped us keep the festival flag flying and stay in touch with our loyal audiences. Now it’s time to start planning for the next festival.

Because of the current uncertainty, the festival committee feels we have to keep our options open to see how the situation develops. We are therefore postponing entries from the usual November to end of January time frame to a month-long entry window in January, which will now be open from 1 to 31 January. We are also developing a new online entry system designed to streamline the process. We will keep you updated with this as work progresses.

This year our usual autumn public meeting will have to be a virtual one. The plan is for a Zoom meeting on Tuesday 17 November, beginning at 7pm, when we can update you with news of what the plans are for 2021 and of course hear all your helpful feedback, suggestions and advice. This meeting is open to anyone to attend and speak. Please email if you would like to receive the Zoom link.

If the national situation means we won’t be able to progress to a full live festival in 2021, we’ll be planning for a new kind of online festival, perhaps also including some open-air events or socially distanced gatherings, depending on the rules applicable at the time. We are very grateful for the fantastic support we’ve had from our organisers and audience members. You deserve a great festival and we will do all we can to provide the best festival the times will allow.

“Beethoven the Revolutionary” with Angela Zanders

This year we are celebrating the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and I shall be giving a lecture-recital on ‘Beethoven the Revolutionary’ on 14th October at 7.30pm for the Chichester Music Society, held at the Chapel of the Ascension, Chichester University.

The event will be live-streamed so that you can watch it free of charge on your PC or another device. Read more on the concert page below.

If you wish to attend, tickets must be purchased in advance – details are available on the CMS website.


Erin on a High Note!

Chichester Music Group welcomed back Erin Alexander [soprano] and Nick Miller [piano] on 29 September to the Society’s first “socially distanced” concert at the University of Chichester, which was also live-streamed. This was a new experience for both the performers and the audience and, given these unusual circumstances, it was an enjoyable experience for all.

This concert was entitled “On a High Note”, which tells the story of soprano Graziella Scuitti (1927–2001), a contemporary of Maria Callas. Erin Alexander played the Italian singer, and she expertly maintained an effective Italian accent when in the role. Nick Miller was an adept interviewer and they both created a believable platform, as they developed the life of Graziella Sciutti.

Graziella Sciuitti’s stage career began in 1951 as she sang the role of Elisetta, the woman in The Telephone, which Erin performed with humour and skill, and then she sang songs from the characters that became Scuitti’s celebrated favourites, which during her career she performed over a hundred times each, Susanna, Despina, Rosina and Musetta.

The audience therefore enjoyed a wide selection of arias from Bach, Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, and Puccini. Erin Alexander’s performance was engagingly dramatic, and she sang with a very self-possessed vibrancy, particularly rising to the challenge of singing in the character of another opera singer. This was an extremely rewarding performance.

The accompaniment by Nick Miller was very supportive yet so buoyant that it led to a highly effective performance by both musicians. They are to be congratulated for producing a near to perfection performance both musically, as well as in the acting necessary to make the format of the evening believable. The small audience that was allowed was very appreciative.

At the short interval the Chairman of the Chichester Music Society, Chris Hough, explained that this concert was dedicated to Chris Coote, the Society’s Treasurer, who unfortunately had just tragically died after a short illness. He said, “This was a concert that Chris Coote would have loved. He was especially committed to the development of young, gifted artists and took a keen interest in our Charity and its work. Chris had many friends in the musical world, especially in the Chichester and Bognor Regis music scene. His financial skills as an actuary, and musical temperament gave CMS an excellent treasurer. He was a talented accompanist and a fine musician. We shall miss his wit, his friendship and expertise. Erin and Nick have produced a torrent of lovely music which we have all thoroughly enjoyed. They are to be congratulated.”

Erin Alexander then closed the concert with a poignant performance of the piece when she had first met Chris Coote at a Showcase Concert Competition. This was the competition which Erin had won. She said he was one of those rare individuals who always had time for her, was always ready to provide help and advice, and as she said “he was so generous, with his time, his love, his soul, particularly for all of us young musicians, and even offered accommodation at his home when she was performing.”

University of Chichester Conservatoire: download your copy of “Showcase”

The University of Chichester Conservatoire has one of the largest and liveliest music departments in the UK with a community of over 400 student performers. Our facilities include computerised recording and media studios, well-equipped practice rooms and an acoustically superb performance venue.

Please see 31 Showcase October 2020 to January 2021 (a 12 MB download) as well as the concerts page.

The Doric Quartet set to open 2020-21 Chichester Chamber Concerts

The Doric Quartet open the 2020-21 Chichester Chamber Concerts series which will go ahead in extraordinary times (Thursday, Oct 1, 7.30pm).

Concerts will be once a month until March in the Assembly Room, but seats will be limited to approximately 40 (against a usual capacity of around 170), with tickets available from Chichester Festival Theatre. But to help accommodate the usual demand, the concerts will also be live-streamed on YouTube, with online viewers asked to make a donation.

Read more at the link below.

Soprano Erin Alexander to sing for Chichester Music Society

Chichester Music Society (formerly Funtington Music Group) welcome back Erin Alexander (soprano) with Nick Miller (piano) for a show which was to have been their first under their new name in June.

Erin and Nick will present On A High Note, the story of soprano Graziella Sciutti. The singer was a contemporary of Maria Callas and helped pioneer the movement of opera singers becoming actors. Erin will sing the arias by Mozart, Verdi, and Rossini which made Sciutti’s career.

The recital will be in Chichester University’s Chapel of the Ascension on Tuesday, September 29 at 7.30pm.

Read more at the link below.

If you click through to the concert page, you can read details about how to access the livestream of this concert.

Read a review.

Singing to return to Chichester Cathedral

The lay vicars of Chichester Cathedral will return to singing services from Sunday 13 September.

Earlier this year, the Cathedral’s choir, which is made up of six lay (adult) vicars and 14 (boy) choristers, were silenced as the country went into lockdown.

However, following guidance on singing issued by the Government and Church of England, the lay vicars will return to sing their first service at 9.30am this Sunday.

Read more at the link below.

Profile: Crispin Ward, composer, conductor, university lecturer

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 remember that when I was young I used to sneak down after bedtime and sit at the bottom step and listen to music being played on my parent’s stereo, in particular I recall Mozart’s Magic Flute, Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Fidelio.

When I went to school there was government support for music education, something sadly lacking now. There were free instrumental lessons in school and I started on a tenor horn. My teacher Graham Johnson was inspirational and he encouraged me to join all the local county bands. This opportunity is being denied our children now with only the wealthy being supported in this way.

When I was a senior at the Royal College of Music I was encouraged to take up conducting and my teacher, Christopher Adey was an absolute inspiration. I copied his style so closely my friends used to call me Little Chris.

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

There seem to be three main challenges for me. One is to try to put self-doubt behind me and ignore the negative comments from others whilst still striving to constantly improve.

The second is a lack of a clear career path: it is sometimes a challenge to decide which way to go, which direction to take, when deciding what to do next. Each concert is often a self-contained entity and each might, or might not, lead to something else. It is always difficult to know which jobs to take and which to leave alone.

The third challenge is trying to persuade people that this is the way that I, and my colleagues, make our living. Although I love my job, it is not my hobby.

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

Music has taken me all over the world and introduced me to princes, presidents and celebrities. It has given me friendship and allowed me to contribute to the lives of others. One thing I have noticed about working in this field is that those musicians at the very top of the profession are almost all really very nice people.

How would you describe your musical language?

I am what some might describe as classically trained. This misnomer is a really loose term but I think it describes what I do. I am absolutely not a musical snob and I enjoy many forms of music but I am only really any good at one type. The composers with which I am most at home would be Mozart, Beethoven, Shostakovich and Weinberg. I wanted to be able to play the piano like Oscar Peterson but I really can’t, other priorities got in the way and I didn’t practice my jazz piano enough.

How do you work?

When I am composing I follow the brief. If it is a commission, what do they want? Who is the soloist and how do they play? If it is film music, then what does the director want an audience to feel at any given moment?

The actual composing is done in my head and I write the melodies and harmonies down on manuscript paper (the old fashioned way) with notes to myself as to structure, I then put it onto a computer program. I use Sibelius notation software. If the client needs to listen to it then I use a programme called Logic with a virtual orchestra from Spitfire Audio called BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Which works/performances are you most proud of?

I am proud of a very few things.
I am proud of my French Horn playing in Mozart’s Magic Flute with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants.
I am really proud of the education project I developed in Moldova which tripled the salaries of the musicians whilst reaching many thousands of school children in the poorest country in Europe.
I am really pleased with my new score to the black and white silent film Battleship Potemkin which I have just finished.

Are there any composers with whom you feel a particular affinity?


Which works do you think you perform best? Why?

Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony and Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony because I am sure I understand what they are feeling.

What are your most memorable concert experiences?

I took Messiah to Chisinau (Moldova) – neither the musicians nor the audience had ever heard it before. There used to be a tradition that the audience would stand during the Hallelujah Chorus (it was said that King George stood at the first performance, as he said that he felt the presence of God, so everyone stood from then on). This tradition died out in around the 1960s. The chorus is the end of the second part (of three) and the audience in Chisinau had a translation in their programmes, however when the Hallelujah was about halfway through people started to stand up. At the end they were completely out of control, clapping and screaming, and stormed the stage. It took us a while to calm them down but at the end of the Amen chorus they erupted once again.

Also playing the French horn in Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder in Berlin with Abbado, Norman, Sukova, Langridge et al when I was 23 was simply amazing. To this day I meet people who played this concert and we all still remember it with pleasure.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

Only become a professional musician if it is the ONLY thing you could imagine yourself doing. It is full time!!!

How would you define success as a musician?

I will let you know, I have yet to meet anyone who really feels as if they have truly made it.

How are you keeping yourself usefully occupied and sane under lockdown?

I am writing my PhD and am trying to improve my Russian.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

In no particular order but combinations of…. family, beer, food, mates, the pub, walks, good music, cricket, rugby, London Irish winning/Harlequins losing (a very good day when both happen on the same day), the novels of Rex Stout.

Crispin Ward studied conducting for four years at the Royal College of Music. He has worked with many inspirational musicians such as Claudio Abbado, Zubin Meta, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Bill Christie, Leonard Bernstein, George Solti and Ravi Shankar.

For four years he gained British Foreign Office sponsorship that supported his efforts as the artistic director of the National Chamber Orchestra of Moldova. This involved conducting this, and other orchestras, in Moscow, Kiev, Odessa, Bucharest, Tver, and around the former Eastern Bloc.

Whilst working in Moldova, he instigated and sourced funding for a music education project with the orchestra. This involved over two hundred performances in schools to some 12,000 children, was backed up with considerable resources for teachers and tripled the salaries of the orchestral players. It has generated a huge interest from amongst the pupils and it receives many letters of thanks on a daily basis.

As a result of his extremely successful work in the whole sphere of Moldovan music, Crispin received the title of Om Emerit in Republica Moldova from President Vladimir Voronin. This is the highest award that a foreign national can receive and is the equivalent of a British Honorary Knighthood. Last year Mr Ward was given full Moldovan citizenship and a Moldovan passport in recognition of his continuing success in developing Moldovan musical excellence and East/West relations.

Crispin is Head of Orchestral Studies at the University of Chichester, which boasts the second-largest music department of any university in the UK.

Visit his website for further info.

Chichester Music Society: livestream of Pavlos Carvalho playing Bach Cello Suites on 9 September

Please see a previous news item about this concert.

Arrangements have been made to live stream our concert with Pavlos Carvalho on Wednesday 9th September at 7.30pm in the University Chapel.

On this occasion the live stream will be carried by the University’s in-house system, ‘Chiplayer’. Click on the link below and it will take you straight to the livestream. If you click into the link before the live stream starts you will be taken to the site and it will say “this page will refresh when the webcast starts”. The concert will begin at 7.30 pm and once you have linked onto the site, no further action is required.

I do hope that you will enjoy this live-streamed event. This will be the first time we have attempted to live stream our events so it will be a bit of a learning process all round, please bear with us!

“Discovering Women Composers” With Angela Zanders

A ten-week online music appreciation course, starting on Monday 21 or Wednesday 23 September.

Women have been composing extraordinary music throughout history, yet only now in the 21st century is much of this music being heard and appreciated for the first time.

On this course, Angela explores the stories of numerous women composers who have been forgotten by history, illustrating her talks with some of the sublime and inspiring music which deserves a valued place in the classical music repertoire.

See the poster for details and how to register.

Chichester Chamber Concerts series update

We are delighted to announce that our new season of concerts will take place in the Assembly Room starting on 1st October. The concerts will also be live-streamed by MD Music Production, directors David Greenlees and Mark Mawson.

Seats in the Assembly Room will be limited to approx. 40, so hurry to get one from Chichester Festival Theatre via – tickets can be ordered online or by post (Chichester Festival Theatre, Oaklands Park, Chichester, PO19 6AP); no telephone or in-person bookings at the moment.

We will be live-streaming a rescheduled concert on 10th September by the Trinity Ensemble (seats in the hall sold out) – see CCC website for programme details – live stream tickets £9:

We are thrilled to be welcoming our audience back to hear wonderful musicians live in the Assembly Room, and to welcome the musicians themselves who have been deprived of their livelihood and the joy of sharing great music with their audience.

We look forward to the day when restrictions will be lifted and we can welcome everyone back to the Assembly Room.


Profile: Jonathan Willcocks, composer and conductor

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 used his baton to bring in various parts – I originally thought that this was entirely to show me which instruments or singers I should watch!

My early musical training as a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge from the age of 8 to 13 has been the most important influence on my musical life and career as a composer and conductor. Life as a chorister involves full immersion for at least 4 hours a day preparing for around 8 services a week. Quite apart from the obvious superb musical foundations, other spinoffs include self-discipline and the building of self-confidence.

I’ve had the fortune of conducting some wonderful choirs and ensembles over the years. I moved to the Portsmouth area in 1975 to take up the post of Director of Music at Portsmouth Grammar School. This led to my also being appointed as conductor of the Portsmouth Choral Union and then in 1979 the Chichester Singers, I agreed to stand in at short notice to conduct a concert when Anne Lawrence, its founder, had to retire suddenly as the result of illness. Over forty years later I am still enjoying making music with them!

Again, some fortune led me into composing: I started writing music not out of any burning urge to compose but because friends at school and university asked me to. One of my earliest large-scale works was “Voices of Time” commissioned by Portsmouth Choral Union in 1980 on the occasion of its centenary, and published by OUP. This led to further commissions. You can visit my website to see a list of all the works that I have composed.

What have been the greatest challenges of your musical career so far?

Every rehearsal is a challenge! Concerts work well if rehearsals do. Rehearsals lay the foundations for excellent achievement but they can be hard work, and you have to be both organised but also imaginatively flexible.

What for you are the particular pleasures and challenges of collaborating with other musicians?

A musical performance is very much a team effort – everyone has something potentially to offer. I get a lot of pleasure in enabling others to perform uplifting music, sometimes to a standard quite beyond what the individual may think they are capable of. That’s one reason why I particularly like working with amateur musicians.

How would you describe your musical language?

My background is in classical music written for an ecclesiastical setting. I try hard to make the piece technically match the ability of the ensemble that commissioned it and to make whatever I write challenging but accessible.

How do you work?

I sit at my desk with a pencil and manuscript, and work in shorthand. I can hear the music more clearly in my head if I don’t use the piano. I then transfer this initial draft to my computer using Sibelius software; this is very much part of the creative process, and it enables me to revisit and revise my work to develop it nearer to its completed form.

Time management skills are useful here, it has never worked for me to wait for inspiration to strike. When working on a composition I force myself to work in a disciplined way and I’ve never missed a commission deadline.

With choral compositions, I’ll start with the text. The mood and message of the words need to be mirrored in the music. With instrumental pieces there are different constraints but the music must still suit the occasion and ensemble for which it is being written.

Are there any composers with whom you feel a particular affinity?

My interest in counterpoint means that I have a strong affinity with the music of J.S. Bach (for example his B Minor Mass), Mozart (for example his Requiem or the final movement of his Jupiter Symphony) and Elgar, who skilfully knits together various different voice parts using one rhythm. With composers like Wagner, for whom harmony is more dominant, I feel that the listener is missing a vital dimension of the subtle interrelation of voices and instruments.

Which works or performances are you most proud of?

Performing what in my opinion are the truly great masterpieces, for instance by Bach (as above), Brahms (for example his Requiem) and Britten (for example his War Requiem).

What are your most memorable concert experiences?

Conducting Dame Janet Baker in The Dream of Gerontius, and (on several occasions) Sir Willard White in Elijah and other works count among my most memorable concert experiences. Also there have been a number of instances where I have been asked to be guest conductor for what seemed like an unpromising group of players or singers, which brought unexpected joy and satisfaction in the end.

What advice would you give to those who are considering a career in music?

As a former director of the Junior Academy, Royal Academy of Music in London I was always candid with students: while encouraging them to strive to fulfil their potential I would also counsel them to consider making a career out of doing something other than music, and keeping their exceptional abilities as players or singers as a lifelong amateur love, rather than trying to earn a living at it. Music is an extremely tough and competitive career, and you have to be exceptionally good at what you do but also have a lot of luck. You also need to have other attributes, you need to develop associated business skills, such as in how to market yourself effectively, and be entirely reliable. The music profession is very unforgiving of sloppy time-keeping or unreliability. For many, it may be a better idea to extract pleasure from music as a serious hobby rather than endure the uncertainty and stress of trying to earn a living from it.

How would you define success as a musician?

Feeling fulfilled and enabling others to feel fulfilled. Leading a rehearsal or a concert in which amateur musicians have achieved more than they thought that they possibly could continues to give me great satisfaction.

What are your observations about the current pandemic situation?

It’s pretty dire. There’s little or no work for professional singers and instrumentalists, many of whom are not eligible for Government support, yet they need to keep practising. Cathedral and church choirs are faced with a huge break in the continuity of choristership: they need day-in, day-out practice, and for skills to be passed on from older to younger singers. Some amateur choirs are faced with the danger of “evaporation” if they are unable to meet and rehearse in the near future. A Government may be able to stop and start the economy, but you can’t do this with music for which continuity is so vital.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Willcocks’ published music includes major choral works, music for children’s choir, many shorter pieces (including anthems and secular choral music), orchestral and instrumental works. Jonathan’s has many recordings, and his music is frequently performed and broadcast in many parts of the world. Read about his choral work A Great and Glorious Victory.

Jonathan is currently Musical Director of the Guildford Choral Society, the Chichester Singers, the Leith Hill Musical Festival and the professional chamber orchestra Southern Pro Musica.

For a full biography of Jonathan, please visit

Privacy notice | Site design copyright ©2021 Music In Portsmouth. Logos and images of participating performers may subject to additional copyright restrictions. Please be courteous and ask before using.