Following two degrees in music at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, and university College Cardiff specializing in performance on French Horn, Martin undertook a successful career in education, the majority focusing on school improvement in challenging circumstances. Alongside work, he has engaged at various times in a busy life of music-making as a horn player, organist, harpsichordist, function band keyboard player and conductor of orchestras, choirs and opera companies.
In 1992, Martin formed the New Phoenix Chamber Orchestra, which soon grew to symphonic proportions performing rarely heard large scale works by Mahler and Berlioz, to which was also added a large chorus. The full ensemble gave highly acclaimed performances in the East Midlands, including an open-air picnic concert for 1500 people at Tutbury Castle, and Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony in Peterborough Cathedral with the international bass baritone David Wilson-Johnson. Following a relocation to Norfolk, Martin was asked to form The Wensum Camerata, an instrumental and vocal ensemble, that provided festival concerts for his village and to conduct the Mozart Orchestra based in Norwich, having been its principal horn player.
Martin took early retirement in 2018 and moved to Eastern Cumbria with his wife and four labradors, where he is settling happily into the musical life of Richmondshire and Cleveland and as an organist for his local churches.
Richmondshire Orchestra has also recently worked with the following guest conductors:-
John began conducting aged 15 when he formed his own choir and orchestra. After study at Edinburgh University and a brief spell in Rotterdam, he taught, freelanced as a clarinettist and pianist and continued to learn how conducting works by performing with choirs, orchestras and opera companies.
The highlight of his career came in the 1980s when he was invited to write and conduct the music for the Scottish Theatre Company’s production of Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaites at the Edinburgh Festival; more than 100 performances of that play and others followed, leading in turn to his appointment as Director of Sydney Philharmonia and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, working at the Sydney Opera House and across the country, in New Zealand and Japan.
On returning to Britain, John continued to direct, notably a highly-acclaimed production of Peter Grimes at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre. His interest in music education developed working with gifted young people, first at St Mary’s Music School and then at the Sheffield Academy which he founded. His proudest achievement was in taking the Sheffield Academy from its first 13 students to performing Haydn’s Creation in Sheffield Cathedral.
Retired to Teesdale, he now enjoys making music for the pleasure of it, cycling in the lovely countryside and tinkering with wood in his workshop.
Peter Stallworthy studied piano from the age of seven and some six years later was a prize winner in the National Chopin Competition in London. He studied Music at King’s College, London with Thurston Dart and subsequently piano with Ryszard Bakst at the Royal Manchester College of Music, where he was awarded the Ricordi Prize for conducting.
Founder conductor of the Manchester Sinfonia, Peter participated in a number of conducting seminars with Sir Charles Groves, George Hurst and Maurice Handford, who he succeeded as principal conductor of the Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra before moving to London to take up a marketing position with CBS Records, now Sony Classical.
Over the last thirty or so years, he has established a reputation as a versatile conductor of both orchestras and choirs across the North of England. Since moving to Wensleydale he has recently been appointed as Conductor of the Richmondshire Choral Society and of the Swale Singers. He will also appear for the next season as Guest Conductor of the Richmondshire Orchestra. For many years he was Conductor of the Barnby Choir and gave many concerts as Guest Conductor with both Stockport Symphony Orchestra and Wilmslow Symphony Orchestra. He and his wife Hilary formed Cheshire Chorale and Cheshire Sinfonia some twelve years ago and since then performances of both choir and orchestra have received considerable acclaim. Peter looks forward to building on the Orchestra’s fine reputation over the forthcoming season.
David Emerson’s love of music began at a young age, growing up singing in the church choir at St Laurence, Warborough and later at St Helen’s, Benson, his local churches whilst growing up in South Oxfordshire. He continued his musical education at Abingdon School, both singing and playing the bassoon during his time there, before a degree in Music at Royal Holloway, University of London, studying Orchestral Conducting with Levon Parikian throughout his time there, and a Master’s in Choral Conducting at Birmingham Conservatoire, where he was also a key member of the Conservatoire’s critically acclaimed Chamber Choir, singing as a soloist on two CD recordings with them. He also took on the position of Seraphim Lay Clerk at Birmingham Cathedral, touring to both France and Germany with the choir and singing for live radio broadcasts. He moved to Durham in September 2016, to begin singing with Durham Cathedral Choir as a Lay Clerk, and is really enjoying both the new position and the wonderful countryside. He has also sung with professional choirs Ex Cathedra and OSJ Voices, and as a soloist with a number of ensembles including Barnard Castle School Choral Society, Rugby Philharmonic Choir and Langtree Sinfonia.