Frank Lennon

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Frank studied the violin with Rudolph Botta from the age of 12. He led the Xaverian College Orchestra and became a member of the Royal Holloway College Orchestra as an undergraduate. After taking a degree in History and a research degree in American Studies at the University of Manchester, he began a career in lecturing at De La Salle College in Middleton, Manchester. Although now retired, he became head of American Studies at Liverpool Hope University College. Frank joined the Manchester Beethoven Orchestra in 1982 becoming leader of  the orchestra in 1991. He took over as conductor in 2004

While Frank has played in theatre shows and, occasionally, in Chamber Groups, he enjoys orchestral music most of all. He has conducted concerts for the Gorton Philharmonic and Salford Symphony Orchestras and worked with the Warrington Youth and High Peak Orchestras. He was the Music Director for Eric Proctor’s oratorio The Prodigal Son with the Peel Singers. Frank continues to play the violin in local ensembles, including the Amaretti Chamber Orchestra.

John Crosdale

It was with deep regret that we announced the death, in October 2004, of our Conductor and Musical Director, John Crosdale. John served the orchestra for 36 years giving freely of his professional experience as a fine conductor and orchestral player. His good-natured direction of our orchestra ensured that rehearsals and concerts were always an enjoyable experience for all members. His sure and relaxed command invariably brought the best from the orchestra. Through his many friends in the musical world, he was able to attract the finest performers and enable us to perform at prestigious events. Not least , it was through his generosity in giving his time for the orchestra, that we have been able for so many years to give the proceeds from almost all of our concerts to charity.Luke was b orn in Stockton-on-Tees in 1981 and started playing the violin at six years old under the direction of Martin Bainbridge. At the age of 9 he  bec ame a member of the National Children’s Orchestra and played with them until he was 14. Having passed Grade 8 with distinction at 15, he went on to become a member of the Northern Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. In his first year he was awarded the Tippett prize for the most promising play er. In 1997, whilst at Sixth Form, he began studying with Gillian Bradley at the Royal Northern College of Music’s Junior Department.

John Crosdale

John was born in Manchester, the son of a policeman who played the trumpet in the police band. As a young child he suffered badly from asthma, and went to boarding school in North Wales until he was 11. He then returned full time to Manchester and attended the Manchester Grammar school, where his school report told him that he was mistaken to think that a good career could be made out of music, a piece of advice that he chose to ignore

He studied piano, and later began to learn the trumpet from his father. A period of National Service followed with the RAF Band, and he then studied music at the Northern School in Manchester. After graduating from the Northern, he gained his first professional post as Second trumpet in the Scottish National Orchestra, and also played for Scottish Ballet and Opera. He then returned to Manchester to freelance with the leading northern symphony orchestras before joining the Hallé. It was at this time that his interest in conducting really developed, and he was fortunate to have the support of Sir John Barbirolli in gaining a scholarship to study conducting at Tanglewood in the USA, where he worked with Aaron Copland and with Pierre Monteux. Further studies followed with George Hurst at Canford, and at Hilversum in Holland.

John always gained great pleasure from working with young people and developing their interest in the opportunities which existed within music. He worked for Trafford Education Committee, teaching both within the classroom and as a peripatetic brass teacher. He was also responsible for the foundation of a dance band for young musicians, to fill what he saw as a gap in the market. He conducted “Sweet Rhythm” for many years, before becoming its president.!

Throughout his life, John particularly enjoyed working with amateur music makers in the North of England, conducting orchestras in Sheffield, Gorton, Salford, and above all the Manchester Beethoven Society, of which he had been musical director since 1967, the longest serving conductor in the orchestra’s history. Together he and the orchestra had tackled varied and increasing challenging programmes. Especially memorable were performances of Beethoven’s 9th symphony for the orchestra’s centenary, and again to celebrate the millennium in Manchester cathedral. Other concerts were held in a variety of venues throughout the area, including two festival concerts at the Royal Northern College. In recent years, John was especially proud to build a link with the Royal Northern College, who provided the orchestra with outstanding young soloists at the start of their careers, something which gave him enormous pleasure. He was deeply touched that his daughter played her first concerto with the orchestra – a moment of deep family pride.

His death was sudden, and unexpected. He had been preparing parts of tonight’s programme at the time. It seems only fitting that he will be remembered through the foundation of a prize at the Junior Royal Northern College to continue to help young musicians start in that most difficult but most rewarding of careers.

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