I've been playing violin since the age of eight and had three teachers, Keith Dawber, Michael Gatward and Krzysztof Smietana. Since I started teaching the instrument I have felt my playing continue to develop; instilling technique in others has helped me reflect and improve my own.
Teaching - is my job. I have taught violin and viola in Wrexham schools since 1994, having some very successful students, many happy students and many many "experiences"! I enjoy my job a lot but the number of hours I teach in schools mean I've never taught that many private pupils. I am available for occasional "consultation" sessions if you think I'm the type of person who might be able to jog you out of a few bad habits. Or tell you how good you are.
Leading - I'm an experienced orchestral leader, having played the solos from (to quote a few) Scheherezade, Capriccio Espagnol, Vaughan Williams "Job" and the first seven Mahler symphonies. In May 2015 I was very proud to lead Wrexham Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Mahler’s second symphony at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.
Soloist - this is what I've done the least of. I've never really made time in my timetable for recitals or concertos, though I've been asked. When I retire from my day job maybe but not at the moment!
Quartets - I'm part of an unofficial collective of quartet playing musicians in North Wales and the north of England who can, in any combination of availability, be available for weddings, functions etc. Plus, with my viola playing taken into account, I can play three of the four parts too and will travel.
Shows - I used to do many shows for music societies in "the pit", and, though a lot of the work has dried up - being superceded by keyboards, or, God forbid, backing tracks - I have in my time played most of the G and S and Rogers and Hammerstein etc. musicals, again on violin or viola.
Wrexham Symphony Orchestra - When I returned to Wrexham from my academic studies in 1994, I never thought rejoining Wrexham Symphony Orchestra, which I'd played in from the age of 12, would become such a big part of my life. But it's in my blood - my Dad was at times Chairman, conductor and principal flute and my Mum still plays in the second violins. I became a regular leader in the late '90s, conducted it for the first time in 1999, joined the committee in 2000 and have gone on to conduct it more than any other person in its history. It has grown from a relatively small group with a varying reputation to a high standard much larger group with a good reputation. Most importantly I feel it has managed this with the same group of core players, almost all of whom could say they play better now than ever before. Many of WSO also play with the Cambrian Orchestra which I also play for and conduct. The Cambrian is usually a weekend group - two rehearsals and a concert - for those of us who want to do even more. With these groups music is my hobby as well as my profession. As a professional musician I could pompously justify participation by saying that I just Want To Give Back To The Community, but I love conducting and playing for these groups and I couldn't imagine not doing so.