On Teaching Conducting

Alan Hazeldine

Alan Hazeldine qualified in Advanced Conducting Studies from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1972 and has, since then, built a wide-ranging career in conducting, teaching and performing.

Trained originally as a pianist under Wight Henderson at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, he was a Governor's Recital Prize winner at that college playing Beethoven's Opus 111 Sonata and Liszt's E major Polonaise in his final recital. However he was more attracted to conducting and went on to win a place on the Advanced Conducting Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where, on completion of his course, he was awarded the Principal's Conducting Prize and the Kapsalis Cup for Conducting. He also won a British Council Scholarship and went to Italy, where he studied with the legendary Sergiue Celibidache, and onto Bulgaria where he spent a year working with Konstantin Iliev at the Bulgarian State Conservatoire. Whilst at the Guildhall School, he conducted several concert performances, operas (including Mozart's 'Magic Flute' and 'Figaro', and Milhaud's 'Le Pauvre Matelot') and the European premiere of 'Allegro' by Rodgers and Hart. This led to further work in commercial London theatre where he was one of the conductors on the original London production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar'.

At the same time he maintained his interest in more serious music and was invited to direct a new choir which quickly evolved into the North London Chorus. Under his direction the choir developed into one of the most successful choirs of its type in London winning the first National Federation of Music Societies Music Festival in Brent which was adjudicated by Sir David Willcocks. In addition to its regular concert series in North London, the NLC has performed in St John's, Smith Square and the Queen Elizabeth Hall with the City of London Sinfonia, the Orfeo Orchestra (Alan Hazeldine's own professional orchestra), the City of Oxford Orchestra and the Corinthian Chamber Orchestra. The North London Chorus also visited Belgium where it performed in concerts with Cantores Servadie of Hasselt. During his period of directorship the North London Chorus, with a membership of around 65, performed a wide variety of Music ranging from Bach's B Minor Mass through Haydn and Mozart to Stravinsky's Mass and newly commissioned works on one hand and works by Palestrina and Fayrfax on the other.

His guest engagements have included work with the English Chamber Orchestra, the City of London Sinfonia, the BBC Scottish Symphony Ochestra (with whom Alan Hazeldine recorded the Romantic segment of the comprehensive survey of Scottish Music, devised by John Purser) and the City of Oxford Orchestra. He has also worked extensively in Bulgaria where, after a series of concerts with the Vratza Philharmonic Orchestra both in Vratza and in Sofia, he was created their Permanent Guest Conductor. These concerts led to a concert with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra which included  the first East European performance of the Sixth Symphony by Vaughan Williams. He has since revisited the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra on several occasions.  In the Autumn of 2002 Alan Hazeldine was iagain nvited to Bulgaria where, under the auspices of the British Council, he gave a concert with the fully professional Orchestra of the Bulgarian State Conservatoire; this concert was linked to a series of classes he gave to advanced conducting students at that institution. 

The Orfeo Orchestra, mentioned previously, grew from an orchestra founded by Alan Hazeldine to give orchestral experience to musicians who were in their final years at college or who were still in process of finding their first job. Under his direction it gave up to ten concerts per year, with prestigious soloists such as James Gibb and Raphael Wallfisch, including a concert in the Fairfield Hall, Croydon. Under the auspices of the I.L.E.A. (Inner London Education Authority) the Orfeo Orchestra worked closely with Alternative Opera, also founded and run by Alan Hazeldine, which ran successfully, giving performances of operas by Mozart, Rossini and Gluck, until the demise of the Inner London Education Authority.

In 1997 he was invited to train and develop the Corinthian Chamber Orchestra in London, an amateur group of very high standards. Since that time the group has earned a lot of respect in London, completing a cycle of the Symphonies of Beethoven, linking with the NLC for the Choral Symphony, within two years of their creation.  It is the policy of the orchestra to promote younger soloists with a future; these included So'ock Kim who won the Shell LSO string competition at the age of 16, Richard Jenkinson who is now the Principal Cello with the CBSO, Stuart King who came runner up in a BBC Young Musician of the Year competition and the young Scottish pianist, Jill Morton.

He recently was invited to Cyprus as an advisor to the government who were selecting a new musical director for the Cyprus State Orchestra. He returned there in May 2003, although this time as a conductor, and gave a series of concerts with that orchestra, now a fully professional group of high calibre and aspirations.

During his time at the Guildhall School of Music, Alan Hazeldine has conducted all the ensembles in the college. Performances have ranged from the St Matthew Passion by Bach, through several contemporary concerts to working with the Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall in London.