Mid Sussex Sinfonia Performs Concert Of Works By Howard Blake

Mid Sussex Sinfonia Performs Concert Of Works By Howard Blake

At 3:00pm on Sunday, 8th December, at the Dolphin Leisure Centre, Haywards Heath, the Mid Sussex Sinfonia will present an exciting afternoon concert of music by the composer Howard Blake. The works will include the ever-popular musical adaptation of Raymond Briggs’s Christmas story ‘The Snowman’ and ‘All God’s Creatures’, a song cycle for children’s voices and orchestra. The programme will open with ‘Sussex Prelude’, an overture commissioned by our orchestra.


We are delighted that Howard Blake will open the concert with a talk about the works that will be played, all of which he composed whilst living in nearby Cuckfield. A few words about this exceptionally gifted musician will explain the creative wellspring of the music we will be playing.

From a very early age Howard Blake was fascinated with the sound of his mother’s piano, and well before any formal lessons young Howard had learnt to play the piano by ear and had even taught himself to copy music. At 16 he had an excellent teacher and very soon was winning piano competitions, and a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music. But he was primarily interested in composition, not in becoming a concert pianist although he was already on the way to becoming a very fine pianist.

After leaving the Academy, his career took him along an astonishing variety of interesting paths, on each of which he displayed considerable ability, including as chorister, jazz pianist, film maker, concert pianist, composer of serious music including concertos, chamber and symphonic music, oratorios and film scores, chamber music player and lyricist

Quite a remarkable achievement you must agree!


The orchestra will be joined by a children’s choir of 100 singers drawn from four local schools: Burgess Hill Girl’s Prep, Hurstpierpoint Prep, Handcross Park and Great Walstead.


The concert will be conducted by Jonathan Willcocks, a composer of choral works, music for children’s choir, orchestral and instrumental works, many of which have been recorded and are frequently performed and broadcast worldwide. He is Music Director of the Guildford Choral Society, the Chichester Singers and the professional Southern Pro Musica, and has conducting and workshop engagements in many parts of the world.

In May 2016 he was appointed Conductor of the Leith Hill Musical Festival.


Narration will be provided by Anthony Shuster, an established actor who was trained at RADA and has worked extensively in theatre, TV and radio with companies including the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the BBC and Channel 4. Recent screen work includes ‘Judy’, ‘Blackout’ (Channel 4), the award-winning BBC drama ‘Our World War’, and ‘Cyberbully’ (Channel 4).  In the theatre, as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, he was part of the company that created the international smash hit ‘War Horse’.