2014 - The Very First Festival
Fairport Convention formed in 1967, and are widely regarded as a key group in the English folk rock movement. Their seminal album Liege & Lief is considered to have launched the electric folk or English folk rock movement, which provided a distinctively English identity to rock music and helped awaken much wider interest in traditional music in general. Since 1979, they have hosted the Cropredy Festival, which is the largest such annual event in England. Individually and collectively the members of Fairport Convention have received numerous awards recognising their contribution to music and culture. 2017 incredibly saw them celebrate their 50th anniversary year, and we were so pleased that they wanted to make a return visit to Music at Stow.
Fairport Convention is still one of the busiest bands around. The line-up of Simon Nicol (lead vocal, rhythm and electric guitars), Dave Pegg (backing vocals, bass guitar, mandolin), Ric Sanders (violin), Chris Leslie (lead vocal, fiddle, bouzouki, banjo, mandolin and woodwind) and Gerry Conway (percussion and drums) still packs venues on its frequent tours.
Michael Bochmann is an international performing violinist who has played, broadcast and recorded all his life in many parts of the world. He is now particularly involved with new directions in music education and directs Water City Music which holds events for young people at amongst other venues, the Tower of London. He formed the Bochmann Quartet in 1977 and made over 50 broadcasts within the next 10 years. In February 1990 he partnered Sir Yehudi Menuhin in the Bach Double Violin Concerto on a 16-concert tour of the USA and Canada. He directs the Orchestra Pro Anima and his recording of The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams has been broadcast many times on Radio 3 and Classic FM. He is a professor of violin at Trinitylaban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.
Tina May (1961-2022)
We were saddened to hear about the passing of Tina May in March 2022, and grateful that she wowed our audience back in 2014 in the the inaugural Music at Stow Festival. A local girl, born in Gloucester in 1961, she started exploring and developing her jazz sensibilities at University College, Cardiff. She attended vocal studies with Eilleen Price in the music dept. and almost immediately teamed up with other musicians to form small bands. She joined the Welsh Jazz Soc. run by Jed Williams and was soon a regular listening to Sweets Edison, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davies, Al Cohn and many, many more at The Lions Den’ in the Great Western Hotel in Cardiff. As a student of French, Tina knew she would have the opportunity of living in France for a year as part of her degree course. She chose to study in Paris and began her apprenticeship in Jazz when, by chance, she met up with some aspiring young music students, who invited her to ‘faire un boeuf’ – have a jam with them. These musicians were Pascal Gaubert and Patrick Villanueva – who recorded with Tina on the ‘Live in Paris’ album nearly twenty years later! Her sublime tones were very sought after, and she will be sorely missed by all her fans around the world.
Phil DeGreg began playing the piano in his childhood and now performs as a jazz pianist internationally. His earliest jazz influences were Bud Powell and Bill Evans, but he is accomplished and comfortable in a wide range of jazz styles, ranging from traditional to bebop to Brazilian jazz. His versatility has led to professional performances with dozens of internationally recognized jazz artists, as well as leading and recording with his own groups. Phil DeGreg has released twelve recordings as a leader and has been recorded as a sideman on many other jazz projects. He is also featured with J.J. Johnson on the video “J.J. Johnson Live in Concert.” The late pianist James Williams described Phil as “a musician of ceaseless curiosity…relaxed, natural, and soulful.” Jazz Improv magazine called him “…a strong musician with rock-solid rhythmic power and a tasteful sense of melody and arrangement.”
For many years Michael Bochman has collaborated with the violinist and conductor, Bernd Müller, and his Klanglust Orchestra in Fürth near Nuremberg. It is composed of professionals and young people who perform together for two or three New Year’s concerts in and around Fürth. This fruitful relationship has produced several generations of young musicians and has also resulted in five Klanglust tours to the UK. It was wonderful to welcome them on their return visit to the Cotswolds, all in the spirit of European collaboration.