Forty years on…
David Temple MBE has been Musical Director for Crouch End Festival Chorus since 1984 and for Hertfordshire Chorus since 2000. But his musical life started long before that.
‘My conducting adventure all began 40 years ago on July 1st 1978. I had been with the London Philharmonic Choir for 5 years and wanted to have a go at waving the baton.’
David was a teacher at Goldbeaters Primary School and had identified a need for investment in musical instruments. He decided to put on a concert to raise money towards this cause. He chose the date, booked a slot at St Alphage’s Church in Burnt Oak and set about finding performers.
‘I had already used my long-suffering school pupils as guinea pigs and, having provoked some sort of response from them, I collared some London Philharmonic Choir singers in the pub and asked if they would sing for me. To my joy and surprise they said that they would!’
The concert was for choir and organ. David decided to include the school’s Recorder Consort, who were called upon to play some Byrd and Bach.
As concert day approached David started to experience his first case of ‘Conductor’s Anxiety’.
‘Because of nerves, I was unbearable to live with for many days either side of the concert.’
The organ in the church was a little rickety and it was only when the 50 strong choir burst in with Handel’s Zadok the Priest that the audience knew this might be worth listening to. The programme included Vivaldi’s Gloria as the main work and a performance of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus.
The children performed brilliantly and David was very proud.
‘Those children will now be around 50 years old and I do wonder how their lives panned out and if they remember the event.
David recently realised that the anniversary of his first foray into the world of conducting coincides with an upcoming concert. Crouch End Festival Chorus, the choir that David helped to found in 1984, will perform Stravinsky Les Noces and Orff’s Carmina Burana at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at 3pm on July 1st 2018.
The Chorus will be joined by primary school children which seems fitting.
A Fitting Tribute
‘In general, I am someone who rarely looks back but on this occasion, I am proud to celebrate this anniversary and feel so blessed that I am loving my music-making more than ever! I would like to dedicate the concert to all who have performed with me over these past 40 years’
Details for the concert are here:
David Temple Awarded MBE
David Temple, Music Director of Hertfordshire Chorus, has been awarded an MBE for services to music in the New Year’s Honours list. On hearing of the award David said “I am both proud and thrilled to receive this award – and I would like to dedicate it to all who have supported me throughout my career both on the concert platform and behind the scenes.”
David Temple is one of the country’s foremost choral conductors, who founded and continues to direct Crouch End Festival Chorus. Musical Director of Hertfordshire Chorus since 2000, he has been instrumental in developing the choir to a consistently high standard of performance. His enthusiasm for commissioning new choral music and supporting young composers has resulted in some of the best new choral music of recent years. Two notable composers include Will Todd and James McCarthy. David and Hertfordshire Chorus commissioned Will Todd’s Mass in Blue, one of the most successful new large choral works in recent history, performed more than 300 times. Recent commissions with the chorus are James McCarthy’s Codebreaker and Will Todd’s Ode to a Nightingale, released on Signum Classics label in October and launched at St Albans Cathedral, to wide critical acclaim. Will Todd recently wrote “I am truly grateful for David Temple’s part in developing my expressive language”
David is also passionate about bringing the joy of choral singing and the excitement of performing in large venues to the community. The choir performs regularly in major venues like the Barbican and if possible David is passionate about introducing young voices to choral singing and so he has encouraged composers to include parts for them in new works. Bishop’s Hatfield School joined the chorus at the Barbican in November as part of the London Jazz Festival, singing the most recent commission, Rio Amazonas, by Roland Perrin. Presdales School premiered the piece at Saffron Hall. St Albans School, mid-Herts Youth Choir and Cantate Youth Choir have also sung with Hertfordshire Chorus.
In a recent enthusiastic review by Malcolm Riley in Gramophone Magazine David Temple was described as ‘indefatigable’. David Temple truly deserves this honour.
Janet Cameron, Chair of Hertfordshire Chorus said “We congratulate David on receiving the MBE. It is well deserved and a tribute to his considerable contribution to the success of the chorus as well as to the wider community. We are extremely proud to have him as our Musical Director and look forward to an exciting 2018 and beyond.
David next conducts Hertfordshire Chorus on Saturday February 17th at St Albans Cathedral. If you can’t wait that long, he will be taking an open rehearsal on Saturday 13th January at Onslow St Audrey School, Hatfield.