Biography

For as long as I can remember, the experience of music has been an essential ingredient of my life. I am a dedicated musician with a wide range of tastes and enthusiasms, from medieval troubadour songs and plainsong, via the great classics of the 18th and 19th centuries to the work of living composers and performers. The essence of my musical upbringing in the Salvation Army (in Cambridge and then Croydon) and subsequent training, at the Royal College of Music (Trombone) and Birmingham University, was range and versatility. For over four decades, I have pursued parallel ‘careers’ in music – as professional producer and performer, both activities being enhanced and informed by a steady flow of research, writing and editing.

Singing

Between 1976 and 1985, following a period of full-time postgraduate research, I combined the post of Librarian, Scottish Music Archive (now Scottish Music Centre) in Glasgow with professional singing, specialising in the tenor concert repertoire. Having been interested in the voice since childhood, I studied privately in Glasgow with the eminent teacher Dr. Joan Alexander. I became a member of Scotland’s only professional chamber choir of that period, The John Currie Singers, and was the tenor soloist of The Scottish Early Music Consort. From 1985, in Manchester, I joined The BBC Northern Singers.  With these ensembles I performed a wide range of the choral repertoire from Renaissance polyphony to new commissions and appeared in subscription series, broadcasts, festival concerts (BBC Proms, Edinburgh Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, New York, Jerusalem Festival), tours and recordings.

Paul Hindmarsh and Fiona Milne

As a concert soloist, I performed with choral societies throughout the British Isles, and was most in demand for baroque and classical oratorio - in particular the sacred works of  Bach, Handel and Monteverdi and the roles of Evangelist in the great Bach Passions.

This busy area of music performance was cut short in 1990 following head injuries caused by a cycling accident.

BBC Music Production

In 1985, I joined the BBC in Manchester as Senior Music Producer for Radio 3 and in a 21 year broadcasting career worked across the full range of the station's programmes, with an emphasis on British, orchestral, choral, chamber and band music. I established the BBC Festival of Brass (now RNCM Brass Band) in 1990 and received several Sony Award nominations, including the feature Elgar's final Enigma – Symphony No. 3, which led to Anthony Payne's historic realisation of this unfinished work, and a bronze award for the drive-time programme, Who Murdered Mozart? During my time at Radio 3, I also encouraged the commissioning of a number of major works for brass band, including Paganini Variations (Philip Wilby), Songs for BL (Elgar Howarth), Whitsun Wakes (Michael Ball), Prague (Judith Bingham) and The Maunsell Forts (John McCabe).

I had a great time producing the Sunday evening series Choirworks (now called The Choir) for four seasons and worked as hard as I had ever done in producing and often scripting the Saturday afternoon series Discovering Music for a further three years.

Dimpho de kopane

Working regularly with the orchestras of the North of England  - Hallé Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestra of Opera North – brought me into contact with some of the world's greatest soloists and conductors. No wonder I enjoyed my job so much!

Working with bands

In 1990, having returned to my roots by working with brass bands in BBC studios, I was invited to become the Musical Director of the famous Besses o'th' Barn Band. This appointment re-kindled my love for the medium and initiated a deepening involvement in the amateur musical communities in the UK. For three years, I directed Besses in a range of broadcasts for BBC Radio 2 and 3, its busy concert schedule including festival appearances at Lichfield, Chester, Newbury and Harrogate, and in contests (including the 'Open' and 'National' championships). From time to time, I continue to work as as guest conductor or coach with other bands in the North West, including Fairey, Foden's and Leyland. 

Paul Hindmarsh and Besses

I am pleased and proud to have been able to commission over 30 new works for the brass band medium, either through the BBC or through the Brass Band Heritage Trust, which I founded in 1996. In 2005, I was both surprised and honoured to receive the Iles Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians for services to the brass band community.

I left the BBC in 2006 to set up my own production company specialising in music journalism, production and editing and in 2012 began a music publishing enterprise to make my work and others more widely available. I have been Artistic Director of the RNCM Festival of Brass since 2005. For tex years (2007-17) I served as Director of Concerts for the Manchester Mid-day Concerts Society at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, and was privileged to curate the Society's centenary season in 2015. 

In 2006 I was invited to become Editor of Brass Band World, a monthly magazine for the brass band community. Since summer 2010, I have enjoyed serving as Features Editor of The British Bandsman, writing regular features, reviews and reports for this long established magazine, which celebrated 125 years in 2012.  I am a regular contributor of programme notes for major recording companies, including Chandos, Hyperion and the World of Brass labels. As consultant editor for Faber Music's prestigious Brass and Wind Band Series, I enjoy close working relationships with some of the brightest composing talents writing for brass and wind bands.

Writing and research

Since the mid-1970s, historical and analytical research has provided an additional dimension to my musical life. British music of the past 150 years has been my special field of interest. My Thematic Catalogue of the music of Frank Bridge (1879 – 1941) became the standard reference work on this composer. It was substantially updated and revised in 2016 as Frank Bridge: The Complete Works.

FB - cover

A number of articles and CD notes on Bridge’s music have followed, including the acclaimed orchestral music series from Chandos, for which I was also the music editor and programme consultant. Along side this, I prepared many hitherto unpublished works by Bridge for publication, and also adapted a number of theatre and radio works by his pupil Benjamin Britten for the concert hall, including Johnson over Jordan and King Arthur (Suites for both orchestra and brass band).

I am currently working on a biography of the composer Wilfred Heaton (1918 - 2000), whose complete works I have edited for publicaiton in the Wilfred Heaton Edition.

Wilfred Heaton

Trusts and committees

Over the past 35 years, I have been privileged to serve on a number of musical committees. Whilst living in Scotland, I served on the Music Committee of the Scottish Arts Council and the BBC Scotland Music Advisory Committee. I was a member of the Executive Committee of the British Federation of Brass Bands for three years and also served as a Trustee of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and the Wilfred Heaton Trust. I am currently a trustee of the John Golland Trust in adition to the Brass Band Heritage Trust.