I was born in 1952 at Pond Hall in Hadleigh, Suffolk, UK. My father gave me a guitar for my 15th birthday in 1967; just in time for the Summer of Love! In 1968 I began a Foundation Year at the Medway College of Art in Rochester. I taught myself some folk and blues, played rhythm for friends playing lead but soon advanced to improvising my own lead by co-opting my long-suffering sister to play interminable 12 bar blues for me. Over the next few years it became obvious I had found my 'calling' and, I am told, I was the toast of Maidstone Folk Club for a while! By 1973 I had moved to more serious guitar playing after borrowing a friend's tape of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos, which I listened to while painting my attic flat in Southampton. This 'Damascene moment' prompted me to teach myself to read and write music and to learn some classical playing. I re-learnt classical guitar playing several times, once with the help of Simon Kunath. I shared life in a student hostel in Winchester with, amongst other people, Johannes Steuck. We were both at Art College there and were also in a band together. (The band had some small success after Johannes and I had left!). Through Johannes, I knew about the Camphill Movement and in 1976 I first met the modern lyre at Thornbury. While at Thornbury I gradually moved from carer to music teacher and director. My first instrument was still the guitar, the lyre remaining an anthroposophical accessory for some years. In the early '80s I studied music therapy in Berlin and also gave guitar and other music lessons. One day on my way to Kreuzberg on the U-Bahn, I was absorbed in composing music and only on my arrival did I realise that I had left my guitar on Nollendorf Platz, never to see it again. I had developed a daily practice routine of playing scales first thing in the morning and so, to avoid music-withdrawal symptoms, the next morning I did my practice on an old second-hand lyre. I was hooked! I moved to Australia in 1984, initially teaching music at Mount Barker Waldorf School. In the first two years there, feeling the lack of music composed specifically for the lyre, I composed my 24 Preludes; a turning point in my compositional career. Between 1989 and 1993 I studied Composition and Music Theory at La Trobe University in Melbourne. To my great good fortune, Graham Leake began a Performance Art unit during this time, which enabled me to learn, in a university context, skills such as the organisation and planning of performance, relating to audiences and so on. Soon after completing my BA (Mus) I decided to launch my full-time career as a touring musician. At the time my main lyre was a Gaertner from Berlin, but on hearing my plans Peter Biffen, luthier, musician and good friend, said he would make me a special lyre. As good as his word, he designed and built my magnificent concert lyre. Since then I have toured extensively in Europe, Australia, Japan and the USA, and continue to do so from my home base in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK.
You May Also Like
Page 1 of