Alan joined the BSO in 2009 for the one-off chance to perform Mahler’s 9th symphony. Having sung in no. 3 with the Halle under Sir John Barbirolli as a boy, and after ticking off most other Mahler symphonies over the years, to experience number 9 was an opportunity not to be missed. But the BSO is a friendly bunch and . . . here he still is. Monday night rehearsals? Well it’s music therapy really – good fun, friends, music-making with like-minded nutters!
Music and friendships have always gone together ever since Alan’s social life as a teenager took off playing viola in the Cheshire and Merseyside Youth Orchestras. After an MA in editing Renaissance music, he studied baroque violin (gut strings etc) in the 1980s with Micaela Comberti and Sigiswald Kuijken and played with all the leading period instrument orchestras. These were the heady days when we were discovering afresh the “authentic” sounds of Bach with Roger Norrington, recording CDs of late Mozart with John Eliot Gardiner and Beethoven symphonies and piano concertos with Christopher Hogwood. The musical highlight was probably playing Handel’s Messiah at the Salzburg Festival with Trevor Pinnock and the English Concert.
That seems a very long time ago now and RSI and assorted shoulder problems led to a move into music publishing, working on the Grove jazz dictionary, and then a varied career ending up as Head of Publishing for the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Alan was a trustee of the Royal School of Church Music for many years, and music in church still takes up a lot of passion and energy. He is now also training as a Licensed Lay Minister.