One of the joys of working or myself is the unpredictability of life and being able to take advantage of new opportunities. Yesterday, I played flute in the church worship team (very talented bunch), then went straight onto conducting our primary school aged orchestra (tomorrow’s musicians today and all that) and then onto meet Alex McCartney at BBC Radio York to record my weekly ‘classical music slot’ for Thursday night.
Alex is a lutenist, specialising in renaissance to mid-Baroque performances (music from 1500-1680). He plays the theorbo, which is a quite magnificent instrument. It’s 6.5 feet long and includes a set of bass strings, which are tuned prior to each piece, as well as a set of higher pitched strings, which are played in the same way as a guitar. You don’t meet many lutenists generally, so it was a real pleasure to meet Alex. As well as studying at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, he has performed live on Radio 3 and BBC1 (and now Radio York of course!), has already recorded CDs and performed with such notable talents as the singer Emma Kirkby.
Alex is part of a musical family in York (he’s the son of my singing teacher (who deserves some sort of medal)) and was educated at Archbishop Holgate’s School in York. In a bizarre coincidence, this is the same school I attended (although quite of bit earlier than Alex it has to be said). Alex came up through the ranks of the York Schools Music Service (now York Arts Academy) playing guitar, he was in various bands and groups and is now a rising star in his field. How wonderful to meet a local lad, educated through mainstream York schools who, as well as being extremely pleasant company, is doing so well in his chosen field.timfarnhill.com