I was born in London and started playing the piano at the age of five. I wasn’t keen on the idea at the time particularly so since I had a very strict teacher (who I thought was very old – in reality she was probably in her 40s !). However, I soon started to enjoy the lessons and she indulged my varied tastes in music, teaching me Russ Conway’s ‘Side Saddle’ as well as the easier pieces from Bach’s 48 Preludes & Fugues. I then wrote a musical in my late teens but was strongly advised by my parents that I should get a ‘proper qualification’ first (as a lawyer) before concentrating on writing music.
In retrospect I think I should have rejected this advice (!) but I did go on to qualify as a solicitor and it’s fair to point out that I very much enjoyed my time as a lawyer: I formed my own practice specialising in employment law and fought many battles, mainly on behalf of employees who had been unfairly dismissed and/or discriminated against, but also on behalf of employers, promoting best practice. However, I always hankered after writing music and after three decades as a lawyer I decided to sell my practice and concentrate on composing.
My first step was to obtain a Diploma in Music from the Open University and, after that, I undertook a Composition Course at the University of Cardiff under the composer Gareth Churchill. I then started composing in earnest.
I began by experimenting with a long piece for solo piano, part of which I played ‘in public’ on one of the pianos deposited around Bloomsbury in London during the Bloomsbury Festival (!) – that was in 2012, I think, and it was a lot of fun.
I then moved on to write my first piece for string orchestra entitled The E Suite (2013). It was initially in three parts but later extended to four in 2017. Memories of childhood and reacting to unforeseen and challenging situations were the main ideas behind the piece.
In 2014 I wrote my first piece for orchestra, a short composition entitled Prelude. The piece was performed by an amateur orchestra in London shortly after it was written. Two pieces for string orchestra followed between 2015 and 2017: Keeping Faith and A Little Light Pastiche, a short upbeat dance piece. During this period I also wrote a number of songs, one of which, All in Your Hands (a ballad), was performed by the singer and composer, Janet Oates, accompanied by the pianist and composer Derek Foster, at the annual London Composers’ Forum Concert in 2015.
In 2018 I composed Remembering, a quiet, contemplative piece for solo piano.
My latest piece, which has been over 18 months in the making, is Five Stages, a piece for full orchestra – unsurprisingly in five parts (!), each part focusing on a particular state of mind or mood which moves to a different one in the next part until a conclusion of sorts is reached in the final part.