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PAST MUSIC DIRECTORS

 

HERBERT LODGE (1948-1953)

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Herbert Lodge was conductor of the Worthing Municipal Orchestra from 1935 until his retirement in 1954. Previously he conducted Margate Municipal orchestra between 1928 and 1939. He composed or arranged various orchestral items including the cleverly titled Tunelandia. He formed a large orchestra and municipal choir, both so highly regarded by the BBC that they broadcast their performances nationally on numerous occasions.


 

JAMES KERSHAW (1954-1967)

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James Kershaw (1954-1967)was born in Oldham, Lancashire and by the age of eighteen he was conducting a cinema orchesta in Manchester. He studied the violin at the Royal Manchester College of Music under Arthur Cotterall (the first leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra) and then continued his career playing in seasonal orchestras at Bath, Blaokpool and Buxton under the baton of Edward Dunn. In 1935 he swapped violin for baton and directed theatre and cinema orchestras in Rochdale, Blackburn, Manchester and Edinburgh and a seasonal orchestra in Blackpool.

He served in the RAF for five years during the Second World War, spending three and half years abroad, and then returned to direct orchestras at Colwyn Bay (3 seasons) and Bridlington (5 seasons) before his appointment as Music Director for Worthing Borough Council in 1954.


At Worthing he continued Herbert Lodge’s duties of directing the Municipal Orchestra in light music concerts and also training and conducting the amateur Municipal Choir and Citizens’ Orchestra.


He conducted seasons of symphonic music with an augmented Municipal Orchestra but with limited resources, often paying for extra players out of his own pocket or arranging the orchestration to allow performances of works that would not otherwise be possible within his budget.


Known affectionately as ‘Jimmy’ to all he was of distinguished appearance, always immaculately dressed and well-coiffured. As a typical forthright Lancastrian he was always kind and supportive to his musicians in both professional and personal matters. Tragically he died in post and a memorial concert conducted by David Wilde was held in October 1968 at the Assembly Hall with musicians from all parts of the country taking part.


Biography of James Kershaw by Robin Knibb.

 

JAN CERVENKA (1967-1996)

Jan Cervenka was born in London of Czech parents and trained at the Royal College of Music, the University of London and the Musik-Hochschule in Berlin. Jan was full time Music Director to Worthing Borough Council – the only such position in the country. He was responsible for the administration and conducting of all concerts sponsored by the Council. He was a conductor for the Royal Ballet and gave many concerts with BBC orchestras. Work abroad included concerts in Romania, Venezuela, Bulgaria and Holland. He was closely associated with the Southern Arts Association since its formation and conducted a number of times at the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.

 

PETER LIPARI (de facto, 1996-1998)

Peter Lipari is Music Director and Conductor of the West Suburban Symphony Society in the USA is an accomplished leader of musical groups in the United States and abroad. His vibrant styles of conducting and audience interaction win the hearts of concert-goers and reviewers alike.

A musical leader of passion, initiative and vision, he has conducted orchestra, choral, opera, and musical theater performances by groups including:

  • Chicago's Grant Park Orchestra, Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Wheaton Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Chicago's L'Opera Piccola, Evanston's Light Opera Works, and Hinsdale's Community House Players

  • St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Eugene Opera in Oregon, and Ohio Light Opera

  • Bournemouth Sinfonietta, City of Southampton Orchestra, Gala Orchestra, Complete Theatre Company, and London Mozart Players in England, the Spoleto Festival in Italy and the U.S., and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in Australia

Lipari is an enthusiastic proponent of contemporary music and has led more than a dozen world and national premieres. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in orchestral conducting from Northwestern University. He also studied at the University of London as a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar, earning a post-graduate diploma in music in the 1980s, and later lived and worked in England for 13 years.

 

ROBIN PAGE (1998-2008)

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Robin Page is Musical Director and Principal Conductor of Thames Sinfonia and the Purcell Orchestra in London, and has conducted orchestras throughout the UK. Abroad he has given concerts and made recordings with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Amor Artis Orchestra of New York and various orchestras in Hungary and Bulgaria. Robin has also conducted a host of open-air concerts with a wide range of artists including the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Humphrey Lyttleton and George Melly.

Robin has recorded film scores with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and a variety of orchestras in Eastern Europe. He is Music Advisor to Greek composer Aphrodite Raikopoulou, whose new score to Murnau’s classic silent film, Faust, was premiered in 2012 with the Philharmonia Orchestra to great critical acclaim.

Robin’s strong commitment to Scandinavian music has resulted in many acclaimed performances of the works of Sibelius and Nielsen, notably giving the inaugural concert of the UK Sibelius Society.

Robin’s musical career began as a chorister at Magdalen College, Oxford and then as a Choral Exhibitioner at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He was the Musical Director of Kingston Choral Society for over 27 years, also conducting many other choirs including the London Symphony Chorus and the Halle Choir.

Robin was Professor of Conducting at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall from 2003-6 and has worked with students at the Royal Academy of Music in London, Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. In addition to teaching conducting, Robin has taught music history, musicianship and orchestration at Thames Valley University and Kingston University, and lectured on the history of music for film at the University of Aberdeen.

 

STEVE DUMMER (2008-2014)

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Steve originally trained as a clarinettist under the late, great Jack Brymer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He subsequently studied conducting at the Royal College of Music, under Christopher Adey and Edwin Roxburgh. He has been described by the French conductor and contemporary music specialist Diego Masson as “one of the best young conductors I have ever met”.

 

In 1998, with funding from an “Arts for Everyone” grant, he formed the highly acclaimed group Talkestra, which tries to reach new audiences for concert music with a new way of concert giving. “Strongly recommended” by the BBC, Talkestra performances feature a ‘tour’ of the music to give a better starting point for listening, making the atmosphere of the concert hall less intimidating. Their inimitable approach has led to appearances at Brighton Festival Fringe, Adur Festival, Adur Arts Forum, Arundel Festival giving five world premieres as well as a series of Twentieth Century classics at The Old Market in Hove. The series included a performance of Pierrot Lunaire with the pianist Julian Jacobson as reciter, described by one critic as “the best performance I’ve ever heard”. They are now in great demand for concerts around the country and for education work throughout the South East.

 

He is director of the wind band course at Dartington International Summer School and regularly conducts concerts there with both amateurs and professionals. These have included a collaboration with Harrison Birtwistle on a programme of his music with the Concillium orchestra, many concertos (David Campbell, Nona Liddell, Andrew Ball and Gerard McChrystal amongst others), and some Pro-Am spectaculars including a late night, open air performance of Beethoven’s Battle Symphony with fireworks. He is also a conductor for the European Youth Summer Music Summer School giving the British premiere of Matthew Hindson’s ‘RPM’ in 2003.

 

Other groups he has conducted include Composers Ensemble, Trinity College of Music Music Theatre Group, Essential Opera, Connecticut Comic Opera Company, Concillium, Bravo Productions – Dubai (performances of Hansel and Gretel), Elmhirst Ensemble, Oxford University Chamber Orchestra, Southampton University Symphony Orchestra, Clifton Camerata and the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted the world premiere of ‘Nomade’ by German clarinettist Michael Riessler with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, and in May 2005 he conducted the British premiere of Milhaud’s Medeé with Opera Up Close.

 

He regularly works with student and amateur groups being conductor of Aylesbury Choral Society for ten years and guest conductor and wind coach for Brighton Youth Orchestra which included performances around UK and tours to Hong Kong, Germany and France. He is a regular collaborator with New Music Brighton, the largest composers collective in the UK giving many first performances as a conductor and player. He is musical director of the newly formed COMA Sussex (Contemporary Music making for Amateurs) which recently played in the new Brighton Library to an audience of 250 as part of the Brighton Live Festival.

As a clarinetist he still gives regular concerts throughout the UK and in Europe including recitals at Dartington International Summer School and the Chapel Royal, Brighton and two concerto appearances with Horsham Symphony Orchestra – of which he was a member in the early eighties while at school. He was a member of Juan Martin’s Flamenco Group featuring on the much admired CD ‘Musica Alhambra’ and is a founder member of the zany jazz band Itchy Feet. As a composer and arranger, he has had music played throughout the country including orchestral and ensemble scores, big band charts, a film score for the Brighton Live Festival, and educational music.