Artistic Director and Conductor • English Philharmonic Orchestra
Throughout his career David Haslam has been passionate about the excellence of musical performance both as a solo flautist and as a conductor and composer. His intention with the English Philharmonic Orchestra is to bring high quality popular classical music to the people of Northern England. At the same time he wishes to provide playing opportunities for the many excellent professional musicians in the North. He takes great care over devising programmes and endeavours to include complimentary pieces to maximise the inherent musical experience.
David Haslam [ LRAM and ARAM ] was born in Loughborough and it was while at school that he was persuaded by an inspired music teacher, to take up the flute. He progressed well and was put forward for a scheme called the Mason Plan, which allowed talented children to move to a grammar school. Here he flourished, winning the Walter Stokes Scholarship to The Royal Academy of Music at the age of 17.
The course at the Academy included piano, history and composition but the main study was flute under Professor Gareth Morris, Principal Flute of the New Philharmonia Orchestra who encouraged David to accept available freelance work in order to gain orchestral experience. As a result, David played Principal Flute in the orchestra representing Britain in the Brussels World Fair and then began to take on engagements and provincial tours with opera companies such as Carl Rosa and D’Oyly Carte.
One such tour took him to Glasgow where, on hearing that the Scottish National Orchestra was looking for a first flute, he applied and was immediately offered the post, although he was only 19. He accepted and remained there under the baton of Sir Alex Gibson until he was offered the position of principal flute in a then newly formed chamber orchestra called the Northern Sinfonia, which was based in Newcastle upon Tyne. This orchestra was going from strength to strength and as part of it’s development, David, in addition to the post of principal flute, was offered an associate conductorship with responsibility for the Main Series programming.
This extra post required him, in addition to planning the programmes for the Artistic Director and for all the guest artists, also to conduct numerous concerts at home and abroad. David worked with very high profile artists including John Lill, Ida Haendel, Radu Lupu, Sir Thomas Allan, Maurice Andre, Cecille Ousset, Paul Tortelier, Henryk Szeryng and Jean Bernard Pommier.
Most of his flute playing was with the Northern Sinfonia, although, several times he appeared as a guest player with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Liverpool Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra and The Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
As a concerto player, he had the opportunity of working on numerous occasions with high profile conductors including Sir Adrian Boult, Rudolf Schwarz, Sir Charles Groves, Richard Hickox, George Malcolm, Myung-Whun Chung, Tamas Vasary, Christopher Seaman and Malcolm Arnold, both in concert, and in BBC recordings.
His post required him to solo-direct many concerto performances with the Northern Sinfonia but he was also to appear as solo director with the Manchester College of Music Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra. There were many strands to his work.
Most of his conducting was with the Northern Sinfonia, although he did guest-conduct on occasion with The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, The Ulster Orchestra, The Scottish National Orchestra and Manchester Camerata.
In order to expand the repertoire for the Northern Sinfonia’s series of children’s concerts, he collaborated with Johnny Morris (of Animal Magic fame), and together they wrote six musical stories, with David writing the music and Johnny the words. These, together with pieces like Peter and the Wolf, formed the basis of the Sinfonia’s Children’s concerts for many years. These works for children have now been performed in Australia, USA & Norway, with ‘Juanita the Spanish Lobster’ being recorded twice and all of them filmed for television.
Over the years, David has written more than 100 arrangements of northern songs, verses and narrations. In 1988 David recorded his 1st set of orchestrations of Northern Songs with Sir Thomas Allen, Sheila Armstrong & the Northern Sinfonia orchestra & chorus. Since then he has recorded a second set and made a DVD featuring his ‘Newcastle Overture’ and performances of his Songs of Northumbria sung by Sir Thomas Allen and Sheila Armstrong with the EPO in Durham Cathedral.
The recording of all the Field Piano Concertos, with David, the NSO and pianist Benjamin Frith, was highly acclaimed by the critics.
He and his partner Annamaria McCool left the NSO and formed the English Philharmonic Orchestra, a professional orchestra and ensemble which performs in the north of England. Annamaria is the Administrator and David the Principal Conductor & Artistic Director.