Nick Concannon Hodges
Since taking over the Todmorden Orchestra at the start of the 2006/7 season, Nick has established himself as a highly successful and respected conductor in the West Pennines. Between 2007 and 2012 he worked with the Burnley Municipal Orchestra and Chorus and most recently, he has been engaged as a Guest Conductor with the Orchestra of Square Chapel, Halifax. In 2009 Nick became the Musical Director of the Congleton Choral Society, a post he held until 2011, and he was also invited to conduct the Pennine Spring Music Festival Orchestra. He was subsequently made Musical Director of the Festival in 2011. Challenging performers to excel and perform at their best through supportive, enjoyable and rewarding rehearsals is a fundamental part of Nick’s work. He continues to build good relationships with both the Todmorden Orchestra and the Pennine Spring Music Festival.
Keith, a Lancastrian, is the director of the William Byrd Singers of Manchester, and the Liverpool Welsh Choral. He was chorus master of the Hallé Choir in Manchester for seven years , and has acted as a guest Chorus Master for other symphony choruses in the UK, including the BBC Symphony Chorus. He directed the Beaumaris Singers until 2004, a chamber choir which he founded in the 1980’s, and more recently he worked as Director of Music at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral. He has also led children’s choirs, youth choirs, and larger mixed adult choirs including the Birmingham Singers, Stone Choral Society and the Staffordshire Youth Choir. He continues to lead choral workshops and courses, including conducting courses for the Association of British Choral Directors.
In January 2006 Keith was appointed Vocal Projects Leader for Wigan Borough, a post which involves the development of singing in all schools in the region. In this capacity he also directs Wigan Youth Choir and Wigan Junior Youth Choir. He is also Director of Wigan Youth Orchestra, and the Director of Music at the Church of St. Agnes and St. Pancras in south Liverpool.
Assistant Choral Director
Charlie Gower-Smith works as a freelance conductor and baritone across Northern England. He directs chamber choir South Bank Singers in York. He runs workplace choirs for John Lewis, Addleshaw Goddard, Leeds City Council, and First TransPennine Express. He is the assistant director of the Hallé Ancoats Community Choir and assistant choral director of the Pennine Spring Music Festival. He has deputised to direct rehearsals with Leeds Philharmonic Chorus and Cantare Ladies Choir of Rochdale. Previous roles have included director of Leeds Chamber Choir and assistant director of the Hallé Youth Choir, whom he often still works with. He was a conducting scholar with Sing for Pleasure in 2013-14. He is a surtitle operator for Opera North.
Charlie has studied singing with Arlene Rolph, Jane Anthony, and Richard Strivens. He has Bachelors and Masters degrees in Music from the University of Leeds. A former choral scholar of Leeds Cathedral, he now sings regularly as a deputy at Ripon Cathedral, where he lives.
Wind Ensemble Director
Laurence Perkins has become one of Britain’s best-known solo bassoonists through his concert performances and numerous solo and orchestral recordings on CD. He is Principal Bassoonist with Manchester Camerata, with whom he has made numerous solo and orchestral CDs, including concertos by Mozart and Weber conducted by Douglas Boyd (for Hyperion) which received a five-star rating in the BBC Music Magazine, with the Mozart Concerto being a top recommendation on BBC Radio 3’s CD Review programme. Another Hyperion CD, The Playful Pachyderm (with the New London Orchestra conducted by Ronald Corp) has also received outstanding critical acclaim in the national and international press, and a new CD of trios by Beethoven and Glinka, alongside the Richard Strauss Duet-Concertino, will be released by Hyperion in 2017. His solo recitals in the UK have included the Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room in London, Dartington International Summer School, and live broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM.
Laurence is a bassoon tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and bassoon tutor at the University of Nottingham. His educational work has included a major nationwide project in Autumn 2015 to promote the bassoon to young musicians, with more than 50 solo concerts and presentations around the UK. Laurence is also heavily involved in working with amateur musicians – since 2001 he has organised and tutored Wind Serenades chamber music courses throughout the UK. He has been a regular bassoon and chamber music tutor at many summer schools and courses in the UK and overseas, including Malvern, Aberystwyth, Sherborne, Dartington, Alston Hall in Lancashire, Kammermusik in Oxford, and Cubertou in the south of France. His other activities include musical relaxation sessions with cancer patients and landscape photography. Laurence is an RNCM alumnus.