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 playing at a professional level. He played as principle with the English Festival Opera, as well as working as a freelance extra for orchestras including the B.S.O., National Symphony, London Theatre Orchestra, Vienna Touring Opera, Ellen Kent Opera, Regency Opera, to name but a few!
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, to keeping budget instruments going for local schools. He takes particular interest in giving the customer best advice and, where possible, a range of options when it comes to servicing or restoring an instrument. In recent years he has worked closely with Clarinets Direct, often restoring valuable older instruments back to their original playing condition, to be used again by today’s professionals and keen amateurs.
Ian became the clarinet teacher for Southampton University in 1985 and, as the music department grew in both numbers and stature, Ian grew with it. He formed the University Concert Band in 1992 and became Head of Woodwind Performance Studies in 1999, holding this position until the compression of the music course in 2018. Whilst in this capacity he developed wide-ranging academic interests in music performance generally and woodwind performance specifically. He has carried out some original research into the behaviour of woodwind instruments when not played correctly, and developed seminars in woodwind acoustics, historical performance practice and the relationship between the performer and the composer. His 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.
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 70 shows with many of these receiving National awards as well as being the recipient of several awards himself.
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