Issue 20: British Choral Music

Welcome to Issue 20! The more I speak to conductors and musicians around the globe, the more I realise how much British Choral music is admired the world over. Yet it has been unchartered territory for Notes from the Podium until now, so I’m happy to be addressing the omission in this latest issue. And these pieces are sensational.

It was such a pleasure to speak with Aidan Oliver, Chorus Master at Glyndebourne, Edinburgh Festival Chorus and Philharmonia Voices. In 2020 he discovered Holst’s The Hymn of Jesus, the composer’s first major work after The Planets, and created an online project for his Edinburgh singers to do over lockdown. It is a stunning, mystical work based on an obscure Gnostic text originally written in Ancient Greek. Aidan’s extensive knowledge and experience enabled us to dive deep into the role of the Chorus Master.

I was happy to finally track down Paul McCreesh, who is working towards recording Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius (delayed due to Covid). Paul (who describes himself as a bit of an ‘enfant terrible’, and not afraid to challenge convention) specialises in these kinds of large-scale projects and has conducted this piece many times in concert. He is also one of today’s most highly regarded recording artists. Paul’s great affinity and experience with Gerontius meant that we could cover a lot of ground, including Elgar’s own conducting and recording.

And finally, I am delighted to be publishing  ‘Leadership Insights from the Podium: Achieving Harmony in Search of a Shared Vision’ by Robert Lehmann & Elizabeth Goryunova. Robert is an orchestral conductor, violinist, and professor at the University of Southern Maine’s Osher School of Music. Together with Dr. Elizabeth Goryunova from the Leadership and Organizational Studies Department, they interviewed conductors, executive directors and concertmasters on orchestral leadership. The article published today is a synopsis of their longer chapter for the Handbook of Global Leadership and Followership: Integrating the Best Leadership Theory and Practice to be published this Autumn.

As ever, huge thanks to Aidan, Paul, Robert and Elizabeth for their fascinating contributions. I hope you enjoy them.

Happy Reading!

Dr. Hannah Baxter (Editor)