Rosemary Duxbury - Blog

Rosemary Duxbury -

"THE COMPOSER SPEAKS…" 25 years on - 23rd July 2014

25 years ago today, on July 23rd 1989, I presented the first concert of my music. It was the launch of my composing career. Earlier that year I had shown some of my ideas for chamber compositions to my then violin teacher Celia Davies MBE. Her response was ‘think much bigger!” 

She advised me to write for symphony orchestra and if I did so she would offer me a concert platform at the Peckleton Arts Festival, an annual music festival that she ran. As she opened her front door for me to leave, my head was in a whirl but I was very aware of the gift of opportunity being offered, however daunting it seemed at the time.

The result was I wrote a piece for orchestra called “Inner Journey” - a suite in 4 movements.  Then I needed to set about bringing players and a conductor together for the occasion. I invited a selection of local but very talented amateur players (many of whom now work professionally and some internationally). Rehearsals took place in the local Friends Meeting House in Leicester, amidst the drama of overhead thunder claps as the first notes moved from manuscript to live sound.

So came the day of the concert. The venue was Peckleton’s Village Hall in rural Leicestershire. As well as the orchestral work, I also presented a Trio for Viola, Flute & Harp (“Da Luna”), and a piece for String Orchestra (“Aurora”). I invited fellow composer Patricia Saunders to share the platform with me, and she presented a String Quartet and  “Five Songs on a Latin Text” sung by Glyndebourne singer Jacquelyn Parker. We called the concert “The Composer Speaks...”

Programme sorted, orchestra booked, all rehearsed, venue advertised. Who would turn up? I was relieved to see a packed audience squeeze into the quaint village hall on an extremely hot sunny evening, and excitement when the music critic from the Leicester Mercury (Peter Crump) clambered over the chairs to find the last remaining seat moments before the baton was lifted by conductor Michael Turner. This was my first experience of officially being a composer, hearing my music performed live in concert - a joyous feeling. 

It was such a privilege to hear a full orchestra in a little village hall packed with people and atmosphere play something I’d written. I’m so glad Celia said ‘think bigger’. She opened a door that led to a career of 25 years plus of composing and I am still loving the wonderful ‘inner’ journey that music has taken me on.