Ludlow Song is a Company Limited by Guarantee [and Registered Charity]. It was established in June 2016 for the promotion of English Song, specifically through the annual Ludlow English Song Weekend (LESW), and related activities and events.

Ludlow Song has taken over the running of LESW (now annually, from 2017) from Finzi Friends, under whose auspices it previously ran (normally every three years) from 2001 until 2015; Jim Page gives an excellent account of the early years. We gratefully acknowledge the guidance and support of Finzi Friends to Ludlow Song during the transition.

Our mission is to build a creative, sustainable and fruitful annual song festival based in Ludlow that seeks to maximise audience enjoyment and understanding of art song – informed by the perspective of English Song – by offering thoughtfully curated and accessible performances of high quality, supported by a wider programme of related events

The overarching objective of Ludlow Song is promotion of English Song. We take a broad interpretation of the phrase English Song, focusing on Art Song in the English Language, and viewing the wider context of Art Song through that lens.

We foster performances of English Song, familiar and unfamiliar, as well as new compositions and young composers in this genre, also showcasing and guiding young performers, and with concerts of appropriate choral works. This is achieved through a carefully curated mix of concerts, panel discussions, performance masterclasses and young composer workshops/recitals, and film.

In some years a particular theme will inform LESW (e.g. settings of specific English poets; settings of poetry by North American writers; Anglo-Irish connections in music and poetry), but in others there will be a chance to encounter core English Song repertoire afresh.

The Directors of Ludlow Song are: Anthony Pinching (Chairman); Iain Burnside (Artistic Director); Martin Bussey; Ewart Carson; Paul Ives; and Clare Taylor, who all bring a breadth and depth of relevant expertise, skills and experience to the deliberations. Steve Catanach is Administrator & Company Secretary.

Professor Anthony PinchingChairman

Professor Anthony J Pinching (BM BCh, MA, DPhil, FRCP) is the founding Chairman of Directors of Ludlow Song.

After a busy and fulfilling career as an academic physician in Clinical Immunology (until 2011), Anthony has been pleased to focus more on music and poetry since retirement. He is Director of Pinner Music Festival (from 2016) and of the Music in Pinner Series (from 2018). In the past, he has been a Trustee of Chrysalis AIDS Foundation Charitable Trust (1987-2018), Chairman of Barts Choral Society (1995-2003), and a Trustee of Cornwall Music Therapy Trust (2007-2017). He worked closely with the late Paul Robertson in an innovative teaching programme for medical students on Music & Medicine, at Peninsula Medical School (2005-2011), and arranged several concerts by Paul and the Medici String Quartet.

Anthony has been librettist for Cornish composer, Russell Pascoe, since 2011. Major works on which they have collaborated (assembling/writing poems) have been: A Secular Requiem (2013); Three Masks, One Face (a song cycle of poems by Fernando Pessoa) (2015); the Cantata A Different Child (2015); a Shakespeare song cycle To be a King (2016); a choral work St Eustachius Triptych (2018); and Truro Remembrance Service (2018). He is working with Martin Bussey on a piece about an early Franciscan suffragan bishop in England: Peter, Bishop of Corbavia. Anthony also writes poetry on a range of themes, plays the clarinet (currently ‘resting’) and sings in a local choir. He is pleased to support a range of musical activities and charities.

A love of song had permeated his musical tastes for very many years, and he has found himself unconsciously gravitating towards English Song. Serendipity (a valuable guide!) led to a lively conversation with Iain Burnside during a journey from Cornwall to London, which seems to have sown the seeds for his role in Ludlow Song. Attending the Ludlow English Song Weekend in 2015 was revelatory – discovering many unfamiliar ones, and hearing those that he did know as if for the first time, because of the skillful curation of the event. It has been a genuine privilege to be part of the back-office team that has taken on the mantle.

Iain BurnsideArtistic Director

Iain Burnside is a pianist who has appeared in recital with many of the world’s leading singers (“pretty much ideal” BBC Music Magazine). He is also an insightful programmer with an instinct for the telling juxtaposition. His recordings straddle an exuberantly eclectic repertoire ranging from Beethoven and Schubert to the cutting edge, as in the Gramophone Award-winning NMC Songbook. Recent recordings include the complete Rachmaninov songs (Delphian) with seven outstanding Russian artists (“the results are electrifying” Daily Telegraph). Burnside’s passion for English Song is reflected in acclaimed CDs of Britten, Finzi, Ireland, Butterworth and Vaughan Williams, many with baritone Roderick Williams.

Away from the piano Burnside is active as a writer and broadcaster. As presenter of BBC R3’s Voices he won a Sony Radio Award. For Guildhall School of Music & Drama Burnside has devised a number of singular theatre pieces. A Soldier and a Maker, based on the life of Ivor Gurney, was performed at the Barbican Centre and the Cheltenham Festival, and later broadcast by BBC R3 on Armistice Day. His new project Swansong has been premiered at the Kilkenny Festival and will play in Milton Court in November.

Future highlights include performances of the three Schubert songcycles with Roderick Williams at Wigmore Hall. A Delphian release of songs by Nikolai Medtner launches a major series of Russian Song in the 2018 Wigmore Hall season. Other forthcoming projects feature Ailish Tynan, Rosa Feola, Andrew Watts, Robin Tritschler and Benjamin Appl.

Iain Burnside is Artistic Director of the Ludlow English Song Weekend and Artistic Consultant to Grange Park Opera.

Martin BusseyDirector

Martin Bussey combines the roles of composer and conductor. He currently directs the Chester Bach Singers, the BBC Daily Service Singers, and is a vocal tutor at Manchester University. He is Chairman of the Finzi Friends. Martin’s Mary’s Hand, a one-woman show created with Di Sherlock and mezzo-soprano Clare McCaldin, premiered in the summer of 2018 to great critical acclaim. The Independent in its five-star review considered the piece outstanding with evocative music, while The Stage called the music linear, finely-wrought and daringly spare. Further performances are planned throughout 2019. Recordings include Through a glass, a recording of songs, by Marcus Farnsworth, James Baillieu and an ensemble directed by Thomas Kemp on Resonus Classics. The Observer described Through a glass, darkly as ‘an enthralling piece, which makes a philosophical exploration of dreams and reality’. Martin was a Choral Scholar at King’s College, Cambridge where he studied composition with Robin Holloway and singing with John Carol Case, after which he studied at the Royal Northern College of Music. He ran the aural, academic music and choral programmes at Chetham’s School of Music, where he taught from 1988 to 2013. Future plans include a CD of Martin’s choral music sung by the London-based professional choir, Sonoro, to be released by Resonus Classics in 2019. Martin has a long association with Ludlow English Song, where many of his songs have been performed to much acclaim. 1916, a song cycle based on the Irish Easter Rising was given its first performance at Ludlow in 2018 by Gavan Ring, Carolyn Dobbin and Iain Burnside.

Martin has co-ordinated the Young Composer Platform since its inception, enabling talented young composers to work with leading figures including Judith Bingham, Huw Watkins, Helen Grime and Tarik O’Regan, and hear their works performed at Ludlow. He feels this is a distinctive and well-established feature of the Ludlow Weekend. The enthusiasm of the audience for young composers is testified by the number who attend their workshop. The depth of knowledge of English song demonstrated by audience is another characteristic – they really know their stuff! But they are by no means stuffy in this – humour is a characteristic of many of Iain Burnside’s programmes and the audience readily respond!

Dr Ewart CarsonDirector

Dr Ewart Carson was born in Liverpool and educated at Liverpool College and at the University of St Andrews. Following a short period in industry working for Philips, he moved to what is now City, University of London. Professionally a Chartered Engineer, he was Director of Health Sciences there and headed a Department that was applying engineering and IT in medicine. This involved working with leading medical teams across Europe in areas as diverse as intensive care medicine, diabetes and telemedicine. His position at the university is now that of Emeritus Professor in Systems Science.

In 2001 Ewart and his wife moved to Ludlow, as they wanted to live in a small town in which there was a good deal of activity, particularly in the arts. It ticks the boxes! Since then they have both been active in a range of volunteering roles, particularly in St Laurence’s Church, one of England’s largest churches, and one that is becoming increasing prominent as a regional performance centre for the arts.

Amongst Ewart’s several activities there, he chairs the Arts Committee, which has responsibility for over 30 concerts each year. As well as promoting its own Summer Arts Festival, comprising principally chamber concerts and organ recitals, they delight in being able to host events of national importance such as the Ludlow English Song Weekend. A major recent achievement has been that of securing a Steinway Model D piano which has been totally rebuilt and re-voiced to the highest concert standards. This will not only enhance the quality of musical provision during the Weekend, but will also provide performance opportunities for young pianists and other chamber musicians, particularly those from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with whom there is a collaborative agreement.

As the Ludlow-based Director of Ludlow Song, Ewart is able to use his local knowledge to help with arrangements in Ludlow, seeking to ensure there is a warm welcome and artistically stimulating environment to all who are involved in the Ludlow English Song Weekend, whether as performers or audience members.

Paul IvesDirector

Paul Ives is a founder director of Ludlow Song. He joined the Finzi Friends committee in 2014, having been a member of Finzi Friends with his wife Pat since 1995, since when they have attended events at Ashmansworth and all the Ludlow weekends. 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, vocal and choral music and other interests. He served as a committee member and chairman of Surrey Festival Choir, which was formed out of the Surrey County Music association 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, which was directed by Vaughan Williams from 1905 to 1953.

Pat and Paul have attended the annual Three Choirs Festival since 1987 and have met huge numbers of audience members by acting as ushering stewards at the concerts and other events.

Having studied singing with a number of distinguished voice teachers, Paul has performed in many operas and 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 and his instrumental works.

LESW has been a unique festival since its inception in 2001, held since then in the town that seems to epitomise English song through its connection with the poetry of A E Housman. However, although rooted in the golden age of 19th and 20th Century British vocal music, it captures the influences of English speaking countries throughout the world, as well as those of lieder, mélodie and other art songs, to present a contemporary setting for the appreciation and discussion of song in its widest connotations.

Dr Clare TaylorDirector

Dr Clare Taylor was a founder of the City Music Foundation with Roger Gifford and has been a Trustee since the beginning. Clare trained as a doctor at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College and spent time in laboratory research obtaining a PhD at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund before going on to becomes a consultant haematologist and a Fellow of both the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists. Before deciding on a career break to support her husband in his role in the City, Clare was a medical director with the UK blood services, and a consultant to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency as well as holding an international role in haemovigilance .

Alongside her medical career, Clare has been immersed in music all her life having musical parents and musical children. She sang with the choir of St Barts the Great for many years, and with the Tallis Chamber Choir, as well as Collegium Musicum for whom she was a soloist in St John’s Smith Square. In 2000 she was a founder member and then a trustee of the Choir of the 21st Century. She has sung under the baton of many conductors including Thomas Ades, Martyn Brabbins, Hilary Davan Wetton, Mark Elder, John Gardner, Roy Goodman, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Richard Hickox, Neeme Jarvi, Stephen Layton, John Lubbock, Charles Mackerras, Roger Norrington, Andrew Parrott, Jeffrey Tate, and Guy Woolfenden.

Clare is also a director of Ludlow Song and a trustee of Two Moors Festival. She is a liveryman of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and a freeman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. Clare has hugely enjoyed the opportunity to make this career change from medicine to music.