Welcome to my website
Let me tell you something about myself and my speaking topics.
I am a writer and lecturer on music, which has always been an abiding passion.
My home is in London and I travel extensively to music and lunch clubs, literary societies and on cruises to share my musical enthusiasms with my audiences.
These are my current lecture topics:
* La Divina: Maria Callas – the Woman who Changed Opera
* Hope and Glory – The Proud Story of the Proms! 120 Years of the World’s Greatest
* Kathleen Ferrier – Her Life and Legacy: A recollection of Britain’s greatly-loved singer
* Glyndebourne Recorded: Celebrating Britain’s First and Finest Opera Festival
* Mastermind – A personal view! How the Black Chair changed my life
All my lectures use Power Point and feature authentic photographs, music and video recordings to illustrate my topics.
Lectures can be tailored in length or divided over a number of days to suit individual requirements – from 30 minutes to 150 minutes.
I was born and educated in England and have lived most of my life in London, where I am currently based. My home is now in the developing Docklands area near Canary Wharf, east of the City – a stimulating and lively place to be.
For several years I worked in Harrods, the world’s most exciting department store, and met many famous (and infamous) celebrities among its clientele.
I now lecture regularly to societies and music and arts groups around the UK, which appreciate the affectionate humour and freshness of approach that I aim to bring to my favourite topics; recently I’ve been fortunate to extend my audience range by lecturing on Cunard and Saga cruises in the Mediterranean and Baltic. All talks feature authentic recorded audio musical illustrations and, where a video/DVD facility is in place, visual illustrations too.
As writer I have collaborated with EMI and Pearl records on the compilation of CDs and written booklet essays for Naxos, Decca and Pearl operatic issues; as an accredited reference in Grove’s New Opera I gladly accept commissions for magazine notes, programme essays, artists’ biographies and CD booklets.
For relaxation, London’s theatreland provides wonderful entertainment; I love to travel throughout Europe and North America and enjoy studying the history of architecture (particularly the age of Sir Christopher Wren). I am a Freeman of the City of London, a Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Musicians of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, a Fellow of the Institute of Musical Instrument Technology and a member of the Society of London Toastmasters; another passion is collecting musical autographs and research into my family’s history, which has taken me to many parts of England and to San Diego, California; and I fully appreciate my membership of The Royal Over-Seas League, the English National Trust, English Heritage, the City Livery Club, The Samuel Pepys Club and The Irving Society.
I’m delighted to travel throughout the UK or overseas to lecture to groups on any of my topics, so please check out more details about them by clicking on the lecture titles below.
In 2005 a second edition of my book Ferrier – A Career Recorded was published and is currently available from Music Sales and Amazon. This critically acclaimed book is a fully annotated and illustrated study of the recordings of Britain’s best loved contralto, Kathleen Ferrier, the centenary of whose birth was celebrated in 2012. Research into her singing has been a real inspiration and my talk Kathleen Ferrier – Her Life and Legacy reflects my unbounded enthusiasm for her glorious world of music. The book includes much fresh information about recently discovered Ferrier recordings and important new CDs of previously unavailable performances.
My book Glyndebourne Recorded, co-authored with Rosy Runciman, was published in 1994 to celebrate sixty years of Glyndebourne Festival Opera in Sussex and the opening of the splendid new theatre there. My talk, also entitled Glyndebourne Recorded, is the story of the Festival’s unique operatic achievement.
Among the TV shows on which I have appeared, BBC’s Mastermind must be counted the most challenging ordeal! But $64,000 Question was quite a cliff-hanger too, and I very much enjoyed being on BBC Radio’s Brain of Britain and Counterpoint. Hear about the fascinating background to nerve-wracking appearances from one who actually took part. Learn what it is like to encounter Magnus Magnusson face to face! Let me tell you about Mastermind – Secrets from the Black Chair.
Maria Callas is remembered as the most controversial singer to have appeared in the world’s opera houses. Her singing divides music lovers; those who believe she brought more excitement to the lyric stage than any soprano has ever done, and those for whom her vocal imperfections were too great to tolerate. My talk La Divina: Maria Callas, the Woman who changed Opera tells the story of her tempestuous career and private life – and illustrates why her singing still causes such strong feelings in the world of opera.
My talk Hope and Glory – The Proud Story of the Proms tells of the founding and long-lasting success of this most popular of British musical institutions. Here is a story of achievement, sheer joy at music making, which introduces some of the major conductors, instrumentalists and singers who have made the BBC Promenade Concerts famous for over one hundred years.
So if I can be of service to you in any of these capacities, do contact me for more information. I look forward to hearing from you.