David W Solomons’ Music Site
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So who is this chap?


Born in 1953 in Oxford, England, my musical life began relatively late: wielding a violin at age 14 at the Municipal Grammar School in Wolverhampton . . . a.k.a. the Muni

I showed an immediate inclination to make up my own tunes.

The first of many musical collaborations also began around then, with a French pianist and a German trumpeter/organist/composer. The latter, Burkhard Mohr, now has his own page here


Eventually, after picking up modern languages at the Muni, with lots of help from family and aforementioned penfriends, and choosing the classical guitar as my preferred instrument, I moved on to Christ Church at Oxford University, to study French and German and, as a late blooming soprano, to vie with the visiting ladies in the College Choir for the top notes!. . . Well, eventually the voice gave in to the requirements of adulthood and crashed a fifth overnight, so I settled on alto as my preferred range. For a few months, however, I had the enviable knack of singing two notes at the same time: I wish I had recorded that!


In Oxford I met lots of great musicians, two of whom had important influences on my compositional style:Chris Benson, who introduced me to the beauties of the cello and also of the Beatles (yup! I hadn't really noticed them before!!!) and  Gerald Garcia, with whom I played the odd (often very odd) duet from time to time.

Of course, singing had also become very important, and I eventually picked up the knack of singing while playing classical guitar at the same time.

By the time I had finished my degree and went to Westminster College to do teacher training, I had built up a repertoire of songs for alto and classical guitar, such that the head of music there expressed his concern that I was limiting myself too much to that genre.

He was, of course, quite right!


Nevertheless I got right into the musical life there, performing in Fiddler on the Roof (as an orchestral guitarist), the Sea Symphony (as a tenor!!) and "Quadrangles", a college concert, which saw the first ever public performance of a work of mine: "Song to Idleness".


My professional (languages) career then took me to the hotellery school in Illkirch Graffenstaden, near Strasbourg, where I taught English as a foreign language and occasionally took advantage of the gorgeous food provided by the catering pupils there. In Strasbourg itself I joined a madrigal choir and was introduced  - by Richard Gofton - to the joys of Monteverdi.


This Strasbourg period only lasted 8 months, however, and I then I had to find a proper job! I taught French, and also fencing!!!, at Oakham School for a year, but soon realised that teaching was not for me. One thing I did learn to do there, however, was to play double bass in their staff jazz band!


After finally deciding to leave teaching, I joined the Civil Service and moved to London . . . soon gravitating to the translation service of a big government department. By 1981 my sight reading had also improved enough to sing at a city church and I joined the choir at St Michael's Cornhill as the Cantoris alto.


Those were heady days, filled with lots of brainstretching sight reading, a little matchmaking (!), lots of champagne buffets at various luxuriously appointed guild halls, and oodles of concerts to sing in.


In 1991, the translation service had to move up North, however: Our London rent had got too high! So I bade farewell to St Michael's and moved quite quickly into the musical life of the Cathedral at Manchester, where I sang until 2003:

sometimes with the professional choir, but concentrating mainly on the Voluntary choir, for whom I wrote the odd piece, including the Mass for Men's Voices and organ , and, off and on, the Cantata Choir, who have also sung pieces of mine, in particular the Manchester Magnificat and my Christmas song Alleyways




Things have moved very fast in the last few years, despite (or perhaps because of?) the fact that I no longer play guitar much, due to RSI . This has prompted me to write for a much wider range of musicians, since I no longer write just for myself.

The old head of music at Westminster would be pleased, I like to think! . . . .



The Net was also an important factor: The first encounter I had with musicians online was on rec.music.compose: a chat area for trying out compositional theories of all kinds on each other, introducing each other to our music and, of course, just a little bit of flaming!


Those were the days when MIDI was king, due to the low speeds of modems. Ask us to download an mp3 and we'd not come out the other side with the piece safely installed on the hard drive until the conversation had gone onto other things! But, provided the recipient's computer had a reasonable sound card, MIDI was OK . . . sort of! It was enough to allow sensible discussion of each others' pieces, anyway, and . . to be honest . . . some midi files were incredibly lifelike. I even housed the composers' forum "La Musique Petite" for a while, which enabled me to meet "classical" composers of many different types. As time progressed, my methods moved away from MIDI and, in order to avoid the copyright protection (and quality) problems inherent in the MIDI format I also removed all such files (including La Musique Petite) from my site (apart from my Communion Service) and I have now gone "totally real" i.e mp3. . . and, of course, videos...


I am also making the acquaintance of many more musicians through the Web various bulletin board areas, (especially the Classical Music Makers earlier on and  now the Delian Society) and doing online collaboration projects with several of them, as a composer or as a vocalist, or both. . . These include remakes of baroque music, nursery rhymes, re-arrangements of folksongs and of German carols, electronic realisations of my pieces from MIDI originals, multivocal performances of music by Hal Owen, Bill Sveglini, Edward Gold, Anthony Frost and many more.


The CD Wildlife in the Nursery is also a result of such collaboration. It is a pot pourri of nursery rhymes, some traditional and some original, blending my singing with the coloratura techniques of various animals as controlled and trained by Lorin Swelk


A gratifying proportion of my music is now published and is being performed by professional musicians. These include


The Cámara Klezmer Trío


The Iris Clarinet Quartet (Japan)


Mark Rowlinson (bass singer)


David Roberts (bass singer)


Safe Sax


David Barclay (tenor singer)


John Ketterer (baritone saxophone)


Franck Leblois (bassoon)


The Fell Clarinet Quartet


City Brass Quintet


Lola Lacomme - Clarinet

Eugénie Ricard - bassoon

Stefan Denk - piano,

in the Fou de Basson festival


Paolo Gavelli (Klezmer clarinet, ocarina and Fujara)

 


Serenade Duo (Michelle LaPorte and Gerry Saulter (flute and guitar)


Duo Musaikon (Davide Compostella and Alessandro Balsimini) (clarinet and guitar)


Flubasstar - flute, guitar and double bass trio


Flutar - flute and guitar duo


Tubalaté - tuba and euphonium quartet


Paul Wehage - saxophone solo


Robert Billington - flute solo


X-tet - recorder trios


Spectrum - duet for bass sax and cor anglais,


Camerata Ensemble - string quartet


Thalia - wind quintet


Ronald Frost - organ solo


Stephen Taylor and Jonathan Leonard - alto and piano


Mark Crayton and James Janssen - alto and piano


Bruce Paine and Rex Button - guitar duos and guitar solos


Simon Clulow and Cobie Smit (countertenor and guitar)


The Alteri Chamber Choir


Foothill High School Clarinet Quartet


The Aurora guitar trio: Alessandro Balsimini, Michael Fiorin and Andrea Torresan


Chatfield Senior High School Choir (“Chantons”)


Nancy Tyler (flute soloist)


Daniel Mihai


and many more . .