Earlier this year I journeyed North to record for Dave Brons` new project `RETURN TO ARDA`
Education & Training
Sir John Cass School, Aldegate, City Of London; Bishop`s Stortford High School For Boys; Her Majesty`s Royal Marines School Of Music, Deal. Kent; Colchester Institute & Cambridge Anglia Ruskin University.
BA (Hons) Music; ABRSM: Diploma Certificate (DipABRSM-Distinction); Grade 8 Flute (Distinction); Grade 8 Saxophone (Distinction) on all instruments; LRSM (Written Paper); RMSM `Cassell Prize` Finalist (Outstanding Performance); Elected to Full Membership of the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) and MU (Musicians Union).
Professional Music/Work History - Playing Career
Following three years of professional study at the RMSM (flute/saxophone/piano) I then served for 3 years as principal flute & saxophonist (commencing at the age of 18) in Singapore and throughout the Far East and Pacific. I then took the principal position for the Plymouth Group Band (Her Majesty`s Royal Marines), then based at CTCRM in Lympstone, Devon. Musical duties (for 10 years) included concerts and recordings (with artists/composers such as Sir Malcolm Arnold, Leon Goosens, Jack Brymer, Lionel Dakers and many others). I was privileged to take part in many Royal and State occasions such as the Trooping of the Colour (for HM Queen Elizabeth II), The Royal Tournament (at Earls Court in London) & the Edinburgh Tattoo (held in Edinburgh Castle, Scotland).
Following my years within HM RM Band Service I moved back to London. I then went on to work, tour and record with the New English Orchestra, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, and various West End Theatres. I also played for and supported many artists, including Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, Carl Douglas (No 1 in the UK Pop Charts with his `Kung Fu Fighting`), Bob Miller & The Millermen (BBC Residency), Roy Castle, The Chequers (2 UK Top 20 hits), Kenny Baker, Don Lusher, Moira Anderson, Marc Bolan (T-Rex), Status Quo, Caravan, Cliff Richard and many others. For two years I also worked on luxury cruise liners for the Anne Bishop Management, St John`s Wood, London. I held the position of principal Saxophone & Flute; duties included classical and jazz recitals, shows, big-band and special functions for diplomats, VIP`s and Royalty, including the Coronation Reception in Holland for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.
During the 1980`s and 1990`s work has included BBC TV commissions such as a weekly series `First Light` (as MD, arranger and performing artist) and approximately 30 BBC Songs Of Praise programmes (which continue). For 30 years I have worked extensively within the Christian Music arena, recording and touring with artists such as Adrian Snell (BBC commissions included `The Passion`, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus), Graham Kendrick (acclaimed modern hymn and song-writer), Chris Eaton (prolific writer for Cliff Richard and others), Sal Solo (from `Classix Nouveaux`), Martyn Joseph, Paul Field and many others. With Adrian recorded and toured (for some 25+ years) on projects throughout Europe and throughout the world, including Israel (where we gave two unforgettable performances at the `Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial` in Jerusalem, for HTV Wales & Israel TV). These were the most moving experiences of my professional career. Work with Adrian include `Alpha & Omega` and `Song Of An Exile` (which received its premier at the Royal Albert Hall, London). These have been performed in most major cities throughout Europe, including Cathedral performances for the Anne Frank Trust.
In 1989 (after journeying to the Islands of Lindisfarne & Iona) I co-founded the musical project IONA (with fellow musician and friend Dave Bainbridge). This was in response to further Judeo/Christian research and in particular the Celtic origins of the Christian faith within these islands. Following two projects with IONA (`Iona` and `The Book Of Kells`) I recorded four solo (collaborative) projects (`Columcille`, `Lux Aeterna`, `Breath Of Heaven` & `God Is Love`) and then further collaborations with IONA co-founder Dave Bainbridge including `The Eye Of The Eagle` (also with the writer, visionary & broadcaster David Adam and inspired by the book of the same name). This project received its premier in Norwich Cathedral for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival and was recorded for Anglia TV & ITV and is now available as a DVD. More recently Dave & I have recorded `Life Journey` (which is inspired by the writing & artwork of Mary Fleeson, who lives and works on the Island of Lindisfarne). There is no doubt that my musical journey has been diverse & extremely rewarding!
I have been joined for my solo recording recordings (TV & concert work) by some wonderful & highly gifted musicians and singers, such as Timothy Brown (Soloist & Countertenor at St George`s Chapel, Windsor Castle & St Paul`s Cathedral), Claire Tomlin (Monteverdi Singers and recording artist for Sir John Tavener), Maire Brennan (the haunting and beautiful voice of Irish/Celtic group `Clannad`) and the Cathedral Choirs of St Edmundsbury and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Liverpool. Since 2004 I have been honored to join the adjudication team at the International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, North Wales. I have attended four of these wonderful and unique festivals so far.
Professional Tuition/Private and Schools Work
In 1992 I returned to three years of further study, this time for a BA (Hons) Music degree. The main reason for this was to further equip me to combine music tuition with my practical (performance) work. For three years I studied with Richard Taylor (principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra), Tim Holmes (saxophonist and soloist with many principal orchestras & modern composers such as Sir John Tavener), Alan Bullard (Piano & Composition) and masterclasses with John Harle (saxophone & composer) and Susan Milan (flute).
Following my studies my family (which included two young children at the time) and I moved from our beloved Suffolk to the City Of Norwich where I established my privaye teaching practice (in 1996). At the heart of my tuition work I have been committed to pass on all that I have learned (and am still learning!) from the many years and experiences that I have been privileged to enjoy within international music making. I am a highly motivated musician, passionate about music, and feel that both activities (tuition and performance) are intrinsically linked, each strand offering complimentary stimulus and energy. I continue to study all aspects of the Arts and am convinced that there is too much to discover in one lifetime!
Alongside a thriving teaching practice here in Norfolk I have also worked within many excellent music departments of both County & Private Schools over the years, including: Colchester Area Music School (1993-1997), Cherry Trees Montessori School Suffolk (1994-1996), Gosfield School, Halstead (1994-1996), Rosemary Musker High School (2000-2002), Reepham High School (2002-2004), Notre Dame High School (2001-2008), NCYM (Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians: 2014-2020) and Norwich School (2001-2022) where I directed lessons and also directed the Senior School`s Junior Jazz Band and Saxophone ensembles (which I also established). I was also an Associate Teacher with the Norfolk Music Hub (County Music Services).
I now concentrate on my own Private Teaching practice and SaxWorld & JazzWorld (exciting new ensembles for Norfolk). For more information please visit: www.SaxWorld.co.uk
My professional tuition programme is designed to offer pupils the opportunity explore & to discover their full creative potential. Lessons are designed to be fun and enjoyable. They are also progressive and will include preparations for academic achievement & success: for GCSE and A level Music courses, ABRSM exams (Grades 1 to 8) and also for ABRSM Diploma (Dip ABRSM) for those wishing to study to an advanced level.
Many pupils take part (and have won first prize) in School, County, Regional & National Music Festivals and Competitions (including Norfolk Young Musician & the BBC Young Musician of the Year, where one pupil, Finlay McEwen, reached the woodwind semi-finals in Cardiff, in 2014). Finlay is now an international professional musician.
I do encourage pupils to be aware of the various styles and idioms that are there to be discovered within the wide landscape of music. Some of these offer the chance to learn the art of improvisation, which releases something of their own `voice` and can bring an even deeper understanding, enrichment and appreciation of music.
Most of my pupils play an active role within School and County music ensembles and contribute greatly to the musical life and activities within Norfolk and beyond. Some are members of junior schools of music (including the Royal Academy of Music & Guildhall School of Music). Others are members of National Youth Ensembles and the prestigious AYM/Aldeburgh Young Musicians programme (which has its base at the wonderful Britten Pears School of Music in Snape, Suffolk). Over the years a good number of my pupils have gone on to higher education and are now teachers themselves or at the early stages of their own professional music career.
My purpose is to equip pupils with good practical skills as well as to assist them to discover a deeper understanding of music - as a means of expression (at any level), as art and also as science (by examining the theoretical and analytical side of music). I do encourage the successive study of Graded tuition (mainly through the Classical and Jazz syllabus of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music). I regard these to be excellent foundational methods of study.
I then encourage pupils to then look beyond these to an even wider landscape of musical exploration - which can lead to a life-long journey of unimaginable discovery and wonder. I consider my role as music teacher to be an honour and a privilege. It is a God given blessing (I believe) to be able to share and to pass on what has indeed been given to me (from years of experience and from the very finest of teachers and colleagues over the years) to those on the threshold of their own journey.
David Fitzgerald January 2023