Michael is a conductor, composer and facilitator based in Manchester.
He has created work for a range of ensembles, performers and organisations including the London Symphony Orchestra (Serenade), violinist Nicola Benedetti (look mum… no hands!), Bolton Octagon Theatre (#ChipShoptheMusical), Hampshire Music Service (Many Futures; One Voice – the Verbatim Cantata) and many others. His work has been performed across the UK and abroad and featured in numerous festivals including the Tete a Tete opera festival in which his actor-musician opera Thousand Furs was described as ‘inventive’ by the Financial Times and received several five star reviews. He was composer in residence with the Cobweb Orchestra from 2013-5 and a short documentary about his work with the group was broadcast on Radio 3 in January 2017. His Market Songs, a site specific a capella work for 300 singers opened Salisbury Arts Festival 2015, and was performed throughout the city. 2017 saw performances of a new large instrumental work entitled city always being rebuilt, which was performed as part of The Stoller Hall’s opening weekend in Manchester, as well as a new devised collaborative work between Opera North Youth Chorus and Den Jyske (Danish National Opera) performed across Jutland, Denmark in November of that year. In May this year, his Anglo-Icelandic opera #echochamber premiered at Tjarnaboro in Reykjavik – the city’s leading independent theatre. He is also working on another opera with celebrated wordsmith and BBC Radio 3 presenter, Ian McMillan. 2018 will also see the premiere of a new forty-minute song cycle with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG) for over 150 young performers that he will also conduct.
Michael was one of the first conductors to receive a young conductors’ scholarship from Sing for Pleasure – a national charity promoting choral singing – in 2013. Michael has trained school choirs for performances at the Bridgewater Hall and Royal Albert Hall in London, having previously worked for Rochdale Music Service. Last year he was chorus director for Blanche McIntyre’s ambitious production of The Oresteia at Manchester’s newest arts venue, HOME. He leads two choirs in Greater Manchester, Cantare Ladies Choir of Rochdale, and The Sunday Boys – a newly-formed male voice choir who rehearse in Manchester’s Canal Street. He has premiered works by composers Philip Venables, Anna Appleby and Chris Roe, and in spring 2016 made his Bridgewater Hall debut conducting the world premiere of Andrew Keeling and Alison Princes’ Get Weaving – a community opera for over 400 performers – in collaboration with Chetham’s school of music. Last spring he made his debut conducting members of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in collaboration with Hackney Music Service and local schools. He recently was one of five conductors for Mahogany Opera’s Snappy Operas – five new 10 minute operas performed by primary schools – conducting the world premieres in Leicestershire in March 2018, then later at Nevill Holt Opera House.
Whilst his output and work as a musician is extremely diverse, he has a particular interest in working in communities and with non-professionals. As a composition facilitator and music leader he has worked with Cheltenham Festivals, English National Opera, London Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Opera North, BBC Philharmonic, London Music Masters, and Open Academy at the Royal Academy of Music, amongst others.
He is currently undertaking a PhD in Composition at the University of Hull, sponsored by a Musical Cultures scholarship from 2017 Hull City of Culture.
Joshua has been playing piano since the tender age of 4, in solo performances, band scenarios and accompanying soloists and choral groups. After leaving the rural confines of the West Country – complete with Druids, crop and stone circles – Joshua has been Greater Manchester-based for five years and, despite the occasional existential (rain-based) moments of despair, very much enjoys living up here. Following his graduation from the University of Manchester studying Music, Joshua made the ruthlessly pragmatic decision to convert to Law and become a lawyer. Now consumed by regret, he has come stumbling back, a balding prodigal son, keen to develop his piano playing, accompaniment, and Musical Directing skills within the beautiful sounds of Cantare. Joshua hopes to develop an already productive collaborative relationship with the Musical Director, Michael, and looks forward to performing with Cantare for the foreseeable future. Joshua also plays guitar, piano accordion, saxophone, organ, electric bass (poorly) and drums (terribly) and is generally keen to ensure there is – always, now and forevermore – bountiful music in his life irrespective of genre, context or purpose.
The committee Some choir members serve on our committee and help with administration, publicity, etc.
Jackie Holt (chair )
Helen Golding (secretary)
Mary Jackson (treasurer)
Christine Foggon and Mary Jackson (music librarians)
Cornelia Stirzaker (membership secretary)
Joanne Eaves (communications & website)
Carol Ostell (social secretary)