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.
ELSA WILLIAMS - ACCOMPANIST
Elsa Williams was a junior exhibitioner at Trinity College of Music and studied Music and French at Reading University. She went on to teach French for many years but has always maintained a keen interest in music, playing in various chamber music ensembles and accompanying solo singers and instrumentalists. As well as being the rehearsal pianist for the Banbury Choral Society Elsa also accompanies the Warriner Choral Society.
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.