Who's who on the Finzi Friends committee
President: Iain Burnside
Chairman: Martin Bussey
Martin Bussey is active as composer, singer and conductor in a wide variety of fields. His songs and choral music are reaching a growing audience, with recent performances on BBC Radio 3 of works written for the BBC Pilgrim Consort and frequent performances of settings of English poets such as Gurney, Hardy and Emily Bronte. He was for fourteen years head of Academic Music at Chetham's School of Music and continues to be conductor of Chetham's Chorus and Chamber Choir working regularly with conductors such as Paul McCreesh, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Jac van Steen. He has directed Chester Bach Singers for twenty-one years, with English Choral music a core ingredient of concerts. He sings regularly with the choir of Manchester Cathedral and teaches singing at Manchester University.
Vice-Chairman Jim Page
Jim Page spent most of his teaching life at Bromsgrove School, finishing as Head of the Lower School. Since retirement he has been busy in various spheres of the literary and musical world. He started Bromsgrove Concerts in 1963 and was at the heart of that organisation for thirty-six years. He has been Chairman of the Housman Society for over twenty years and joined Finzi Friends in 1993. For Finzi Friends he is the Administrator for the Ludlow Weekend of English Song, which was first held in 2001 and is in charge of the Sales Stall. His awareness of Finzi began in his thirties but he also has a passionate interest in much other music especially the operas of Berlioz, Richard Strauss, Janacek and Britten, though it is in Beethoven's quartets that he finds the ultimate listening experience
Newsletter Editor - Eric Hazelwood
Eric is the Secretary and has the responsibility for the production and editing of the biannual Newsletter, as well as Membership Secretary. He is keen to see that Members are kept informed and that Members become involved, whatever they have to say.
As a Chartered Engineer (now retired) he spent a lifetime in the nuclear industry which took him abroad, including the Far East and consequently, an opportunity to experience different musical cultures. Music in the home, where his trumpet, accompanied by his wife on the piano, is kept busy, has balanced the working environment and kept alive a love of music.
An upbringing in church tradition established a love for music and particularly choral singing. Over the years this has involved a number of Choral Societies and a Chamber Choir and he is currently singing with the Uppingham Choral Society as well as supporting his village Church where he serves as the Churchwarden.
He has a love of poetry, and English music in particular, which made the music of Gerald Finzi a natural choice, but membership of the RVW Society and a Friend of the Dymock poets has established that English tradition and indulging in the annual English Music Festival at Dorchester on Thames is a welcome addition.
His respect for the Finzi Friends and its dedicated team of enthusiastic leaders has encouraged him to give something back with their infectious enthusiasm and commitment being a worthy example
Paul is best known as a choral conductor. He conducted Bach Choirs in Chester and Leicester before moving in 1992 to the Birmingham Bach Choir and the Whitehall Choir in London. He taught at the Royal College of Music1995 to 2008 and now teaches choral conducting at the Birmingham Conservatoire and at Oxford University.
Until 2001 Paul was Artistic Director of the Lichfield International Arts Festival and the Abbotsholme Arts Society, posts he relinquished in order to pursue a freelance musical career. He was Senior Producer for BBC Radio 3 in the Midlands until 1990.
Paul Spicer's large-scale Easter Oratorio was recognised by Gramophone Magazine as 'the best of its kind to have appeared ... since Howells's Hymnus Paradisi.' The Deciduous Cross, for choir and winds, based on five poems by RS Thomas (2003), was recently recorded by the Whitehall Choir. A recording of his complete works for organ was recently released from Truro Cathedral. A recording of his shorter choral works was released in 2009.
Paul's biography of Herbert Howells (Paul's teacher at the Royal College of Music) was published in 1998 and has been reprinted twice. He is presently working on a biography and study of the music of Sir George Dyson and also on a new large-scale choral and orchestral work, an Advent Oratorio, to a libretto by Dr. Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham. Besides these major projects, each July he runs a choral course/Arts Festival called the English Choral Experience at Abbey Dore in the Golden Valley of Herefordshire (www.englishchoralexperience.co.uk).
Paul Spicer is a member of the Council of Lichfield Cathedral, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Honorary Research Fellow of Birmingham University, an Honorary Fellow of Birmingham Conservatoire, a Trustee of the Finzi Trust, Vice-President of the Herbert Howells Society, and Advisor to the Sir George Dyson Trust.
Paul was invited to join the Finzi Friends committee in September 2013, having been a member of Finzi Friends with his wife Pat since 1995, during which time they have attended events at Ashmansworth and all the Ludlow weekends. He attended his first Finzi Friends committee meeting in January 2014. They live in East Horsley, Surrey.
He retired from the Defence Electronics industry in 2004, after over 40 years as a Chartered Engineer, specialising in naval and airborne radar and command systems, in order to devote more time to opera, choral music and other interests. He served on the committee of Surrey Festival Choir for 20 years, the last 10 as chairman. Surrey Festival Choir was formed out of the Surrey County Music association which was founded by Vaughan Williams to encourage participation in music throughout the county. He has also participated since the mid-1970s in the Leith Hill Musical Festival, also founded by Vaughan Williams in 1905.
Pat and Paul attend the Three Choirs Festival every year and meet huge numbers of audience members by acting as ushering stewards at the concerts and other events.
Having studied with a number of distinguished voice teachers, Paul has performed in over 25 operas and many concerts in London and Surrey over the past 30 years. He first encountered, and was attracted immediately to, the works of Gerald Finzi in the baritone songs and choral works, in particular Intimations of Immortality.
Treasurer Adrian Williams
Adrian Williams is an actuary and management consultant whose professional life was focused on the application of mathematics and statistics to the improvement of strategy and operations, for organizations in both the public and the private sector. In 1992 he was elected President of the Institute of Management Consultants. He was a Founder Member of the Guild that became, in 2004, the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants, and served as that Livery Company's Almoner for eight years.
He retired from active business at the earliest possible opportunity and for the past twenty-five years has pursued activities as varied as learning Classical Greek, chairing the International Society of Meccanomen, fell-walking in the Lake District and Snowdonia, and teaching himself the classical guitar. In this last endeavour he has been conspicuously unsuccessful, having instead to seek his musical consolation in the talents of his three sons. He came to Finzi through finding, in a sale, an LP that he bought for the Holst on Side 1; on Side 2, he found Wilfred Brown's performance of Dies Natalis – an epiphany indeed. He became a member of Finzi Friends in 2001.
Jennie McGregor-Smith has spent most of her life working either professionally or voluntarily for charitable bodies, most of them in the arts. After 25 years with Bromsgrove Concerts promoting chamber music, with an emphasis on unusual repertoire and new work, she is now retired. However, not being able to get rid of the promoting bug, she currently puts on summer vocal concerts in Tardebigge Church, trying to help raise awareness of the pleasures of English Song.
She became a Finzi Friend in 1984 in time for the second of the triennial weekends of English Music, and more recently has very much enjoyed being on the committee and part of the team organising the Ludlow weekends of song. In 2002 she published a biographical study of a Bromsgrove Victorian architect, and in 2008 published a book on the Victorian expansion of Bromsgrove. She is the Victorian Society caseworker for the Bromsgrove area. Recreation is opera of the Britten, Janacek, Strauss variety, chamber music, theatre, concerts and gardening