"As you may know, I recently made a career change, after singing for twelve years with the King's Singers. I am now working as a full time composer, with the main emphasis of my work being on choral composition. I thought you may be interested to know of a few of the things I have been involved with.
The American premiere of my Organ Concerto ORGAN DANCES took place at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania as part of the Heefner Organ Recital Series. The Organist was Alan Morrison of the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. I workshoped my music in Toronto for the Royal Canadian College of Organists, and worked in New York City with the New York Children's Chorus and their conductor Peter Coulianos, for whom I have written a set of songs about the environment, GREEN SONGS.
In the Town Hall in Oxford, England, the Oxford Pro Musica Singers conducted by Michael Smedley gave the premiere of an extended work they have commissioned from me, THE MAKING OF THE DRUM. This concert marks the twentieth anniversary of the Singers.
I went to Syracuse in New York State to hear some new carols THE TIME OF SNOW, THIS JOY and GIFTS that I have written for Barbara Tagg and her choir, the Syracuse Children's Chorus, with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.
In March 1998 1 went to Dallas Texas to work with The Highland Park High School Lads and Lasses conducted by Frank Sargent. They sang my new version of BUFFALO GALS at the South Western Division ACDA Conventon in Corpus Christi Texas.
In May 1998 1 had two visits to the United States. The first on the 3rd to hear the premiere of an extended work JUBILATE that I wrote for colleague Simon Carrington and his choir and orchestra at the University of Kansas at Lawrence. Then I was composer in residence for Keynote Arts Associates "Children in Harmony Choral Festival" at Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida. The Guest Musical Director is Barbara Tagg, and she and the three hundred voice children's choir premiered the new work that I wrote for this occasion.
My biggest project for the year was a commission I received from the Hertfordshire County Music Services. I wrote a thirty-minute space adventure entitled NEWS FROM SPACE, for 2 Narrators, Jazz Singer, Youth Choir and Big Band, that was performed in the Royal Albert Hall in London on the 5th and 6th of June. The choir was made up of children from ninety-eight schools in the county, making a total of about twenty-eight hundred singers – fourteen hundred on each night. This project involved arts and science departments from schools across the county. I have written the text myself, and have received help with the science from Dr. Eric Dunford, Director of Space Science at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford.
A week later, I went to Pretoria in South Africa to undertake workshops with two youth choirs from Pretoria and one from Johannesburg, culminating in the Young South Africa Music Festival in the Opera House on the 14th.
On June 27th in Chester Cathedral in England, my PEACE MASS was premiered by the choirs taking part in the International Children's Choir Festival, hosted by the Chester Music Society Children's Choir and their conductor Martin Cook. The conductor for this performance was Mike Brewer, conductor of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.
I shall be doing a bit of choir conducting. In August 1998 I was conducting a young choir with big band in new arrangements of the songs of Sting, as part of the Europa Cantat Festival in Sweden.
I hope all this will be of some interest to you. I am very excited at the prospect of these projects, and hope that through them I can make some sort of impact in attempting to draw people, particularly the young, to the joys of participatory music making."
With the King's Singers:
Behind the scenes: