To the Manor Born!

It would seem inevitable that Ian would combine a career as a freelance musician with that of an instrument technician.  He was born in Wimbledon into the largest family-owned piano tuning business in the country.  As a 15 year old he was taught to tune pianos and began to develop an ear for the finer points and intricacies of musical sound.  Despite the non-woodwind aspect to this start, Ian became more interested in pursuing his interest in playing the clarinet and alongside his studies as a clarinettist he also undertook the Merton College City and Guilds of London Institute diploma course in Musical Instrument Technology.  He was to gain his A.R.C.M. as a clarinet player in 1974 and in 1975 became the first student to aquire the City and Guilds diploma with honours.


Ian's career since then has pursued both of these interests, gaining much experience as a woodwind technician alongside opportunities to play at a professional level.  As a clarinettist he played as principle with the English Festival Opera until its demise, as well as working as a freelance extra for orchestras like the B.S.O., National Symphony, London Theatre Orchestra, Vienna Touring Opera, Ellen Kent Opera, to name but a few!

An additional interest in conducting led him to seek opportunities to direct chamber orchestras, amateur symphony orchestras and bands, and choirs as the occasions arose.  This interest has now led to him being constantly called upon to direct for larger music theatre companies around the South and since 1991 Ian has worked regularly with societies from Bournemouth, Southampton, Swindon, Woking, Romsey, New Forest and Poole .  He has now notched up over 60 shows with many of these receiving National awards as well as being the recipient of several awards himself.

Like all freelance musicians, Ian has had many opportunities and requests for teaching and soon after moving to  Southampton, he became the clarinet teacher for the University of Southampton.  Ian has found that his combined professional experiences enable him to assist students over most technical hurdles.  A detailed understanding of woodwind acoustics combined with his knowledge as a technician, helps him to separate performing issues that the player can put right, with those where the instrument might require specialist attention.


As the music department at the University grew in both numbers and stature, Ian has grown with it.  He formed the University Concert Band in 1992 and became Head of Woodwind Performance Studies in 1999.  In this capacity he has now developed wide-ranging academic interests in performance generally and woodwind performance specifically, developing seminars in woodwind acoustics, historical performance practice and the relationship between the performer and the composer. 


All his professional life, Ian has sustained a woodwind repair workshop and enjoys the challenges and rewards it brings.  From fully restoring older, high quality instruments for Clarinets Direct, to assisting students of all ages, sometimes just to get the best from their instruments with minor alterations and sometimes assisting in a matter of ease of sound production.



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