A relative latecomer to classical music, it was a journey down a YouTube video suggestion rabbit hole that resulted in me stumbling upon my first (and still one of my favourite) pieces of classical music, Howard Skempton’s Lento. The simplicity of the shifting chords had me transfixed and I immediately wanted to find out more!
With some pretty basic guitar skills under my belt, I took up the trumpet when I was 16 having acquired a nearly brand new one from my Grandfather, who had had to give up learning many years before, blaming the dog’s howling. Luckily, living in a pet-free household (barring some now deaf guinea pigs) I was able to work through my grades and decided to study composition at Uni.
It was here where I developed my interest in choral music. Having never sung before, a rather desperate choirmaster asked if I’d be interested in coming along to ‘have a little sing’. Before I knew it I had a copy of Handel’s Messiah in my hand and was bumbling through the long runs of semiquavers getting completely lost. However, I loved it and to this day still enjoy singing in choirs around London, having been lucky enough to sing Mass in The Vatican. Parallel to this, I was becoming more involved in contemporary music, writing and performing, culminating in the Chichester Sinfonietta performing the world premiere of my Triangle Concerto!
Upon finishing my degree I spent my summer volunteering at the Dartington International Summer School as a one of the affectionately named ‘Trogs’. It was whilst working with so many talented musicians and participants that I decided that I wanted to work in the Arts, and the following Autumn began working at St John’s Smith Square as their Projects and Events Officer. During those two years I had the great pleasure of organising such events as a 24-hour Music Marathon and an international choral competition featuring Arvo Pärt.
I love working in Communications because it gives me the chance to tell the fantastic stories ingrained in so much of the music we listen to and hopefully share the excitement that I first found at the bottom of that YouTube rabbit hole.
What is your favourite piece of music, and why do you love it?
I can’t look past what I consider to be the most beautiful of all the requiems, and that would be Gabriel Jackson’s. I’m a huge fan of his works and for this Requiem the interspersing of the traditional mass with funeral poems from other cultures and spiritual traditions is, for me, the perfect balance of optimism and comfort.
What do you do with your time when you’re not playing music?
At weekends I like to play rugby with my local club and blame my oven for screwing up all my cooking attempts.