Clara Ross

During 2016, Paul Sparks will be setting up a web site devoted to the life and music of Clara Ross (later Ross-Ricci, 1858-1954), a pioneering British female composer of music for mandolin and guitar, and leader of “Miss Clara Ross’ Ladies Mandoline and Guitar Band” during the 1890s. The site will include biographical information about the composer, a history of “ladies mandolin and guitar bands” in late Victorian and Edwardian Britain, and free downloads and recordings of Clara’s instrumental music for mandolin and guitar (and for mandolin and piano), as well as her songs for female voices with piano.

Dr James Westbrook receives the 2015 Terence Pamplin Award

Dr James Westbrook has received the 2015 Terence Pamplin Award for Organology given by the Musicians’ Company. This biannual research prize of £1,200, is to assist further research into x-braced guitars by the Roudhloff Brothers and to make a replica instrument.
James receiving the award from the Master, Andrew Morris, at a Musicians’ Company banquet, at Merchant Taylors’ Hall, one of the great Livery Halls of the City of London  (photo: Peter Holland)

James receiving the award from the Master, Andrew Morris, at a Musicians’ Company banquet, at Merchant Taylors’ Hall, one of the great Livery Halls of the City of London  (photo: Peter Holland)

Arnold Myers, the Chairman of the judges said: “I am delighted that this year’s winner James Westbrook has been awarded the prize. Undoubtedly Terence Pamplin, in whose memory this award is made, would have approved. It is good to see that Cambridge is encouraging organological research and the award for the first time has gone to someone from other than London and Edinburgh.”

James received the cheque, and certificate, at a Musicians’ Company banquet, at Merchant Taylors’ Hall, one of the great Livery Halls of the City of London.

Andrew Britton: RIP

On a beautiful Autumn afternoon, the 14th October 2015, Andrew’s memorial service took place in the church where he worshipped as a boy. The church of St. Bartholomew, in a quiet suburb of Bristol, lies very close to where he was raised.

By two o’clock friends, family and colleagues had gathered to hear fond and loving reminiscences.Andrew BrittonThere were brief and affecting addresses by Andrew’s three sisters, another from his partner Judith and another from a lifelong friend. There were some hymns, a brief homily by the vicar on the theme of homecoming – taking the parable of The Prodigal Son as a text – and an accomplished performance of a piece by Sor (Op. 6, No. 9) given by another of Andrew’s many friends.

Those present learned a good deal about him from the various interventions: for example, that the little finger on his right hand was accidentally cut off by shears when he was a child and sewn back on (!), that he wrote his superb thesis longhand (scorning computers) in various Bristol cafés, and that his degree was in Scandinavian Studies with a special emphasis on Swedish. What came over most of all was the love and respect in which all present held his memory.

On the first page of the service booklet Judith used part of a larger photo of Andrew relaxing with members of the Consortium in Café Nero in Cambridge.