MUSICAL DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR
Julian Harris has had a long and varied career embracing work at the R.S.C. and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. He has played and conducted all over Europe including Saint Peter’s in Rome as well as in the country’s major halls, including the Queen Elizabeth and Cadogan Halls in London.
Julian is increasingly in demand in the Midlands and in London as a conductor, composer, arranger, accompanist and teacher. He has conducted Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral and led the Sunday services at St Mary le Strand. Nearer to home, the fourth Ilmington Music Festival saw him accompanying trumpeter, Simon Lenton, and soprano, Mollie Smith and he has conducted concerts for charity and choir all over the North Cotswolds.
He currently conducts 5 choirs; 3 under his ‘St James’s Singers’ (SJS) banner, the Banbury Choral Society and the Ilmington Festival Chorus. These activities absorb the majority of his time. Highlights have included a concert at Broughton Castle to launch The Friends of Banbury Choral Society and a commemoration of WWI called War and Peace with SJS. He recently made his debut as a tenor soloist with I Fagiolini singing early Renaissance works. His singing work also embraces a Kodaly Singing Class at his local school, to reverse the current disastrous decline in school music provision.
His teaching embraces A-level/GCSE, theory, piano and singing as well as the Kodaly Method.
In April 2015 Julian conducted the 30th Anniversary Gala Concert of the Saint James’s Singers who celebrated with a performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, and he celebrated in style on September 12th 2015 with a fireworks concert entitled ‘Long to Reign over us’ to mark HM the Queen becoming the country’s longest reigning monarch. In addition, he toured in Venice, playing in La Pieta, Vivaldi’s Church, on the ancient Vivaldi organ.
His schedule continues to keep life very busy.
DAVID PALMER - ACCOMPANIST & ASSISTANT MUSICAL DIRECTOR
David Palmer recently graduated from Oxford University (Worcester College) with a First-Class BA in music, and now works as a freelance composer, pianist and tutor in Oxford. A former Oxford University Music Society president and OUMS Chamber Music manager, David held an academic scholarship, an Instrumental Award, and a scholarship to perform with the University’s contemporary music ensemble.
Before beginning his composition studies with Robert Saxton in Oxford, David was a composer for the National Youth Orchestra GB (2014-16) and attended the Junior Royal Northern College of Music (2012-16). Awards at the JRNCM included the Friends of the JRNCM Ensemble Prize, Director’s Prize, and Peter Redfearn Memorial Prize for Composition.
David currently studies composition with Richard Barrett in The Hague, and piano with Ronan O’Hora in London. He enjoys a busy teaching schedule in Oxford, and currently works with Oxford Youth Choirs, Banbury Choral Society, and Christ Church Cathedral School.
Since Banbury Choral Society was founded in 1942, it has been fortunate to receive the support of some exceptionally talented accompanists. Banbury Choral Society feels it is important to acknowledge them.
1942 Mary Barry - Mary evacuated from London during the war and came to live in the Banbury area. She returned to London after the war ended.
Late 1940s Betty Hobbs - Betty was a good friend of Goeffrey Furnish (the first conductor to lead Banbury Choral Society).
1950 - 60s Ena Grubb - Ena was a well-known Banbury piano teacher.
1960s Thelma Robinson - Past Head of Music at Tudor Hall School.
1974 Anthony Swift - Local pianist and piano teacher as well as an honorary member of BCS.
2004 Jo Benlalam - Music teacher at Tudor Hall School.
2009 Elsa Williams - Local musician and teacher.