Who’s who at The Kingdom seminar

In anticipation of our forthcoming seminar on Elgar’s The Kingdom – organised with Three Spires Singers and to be held Saturday, February 8th, 9.15am-1pm, at Truro School Chapel – we include here some information on the day’s programme and protagonists. It’s an event designed to enhance enjoyment of our joint concert of the oratorio for choir and audience members alike. All are welcome to attend, but places are limited…


Martin Palmer

Martin PalmerMartin has been Director of Music of Truro Choral Society since 2009. He studied the organ, cello, composition and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music and took the University of London degree. While at the RAM he sang with the London Philharmonic Choir, gaining invaluable experience working alongside many of the world’s top conductors, orchestras and soloists. He is also the Director of Music at Truro School, where he has built up one of the biggest and busiest music departments in the southwest.

He will lead the singing of some illustrative excerpts from The Apostles and The Kingdom.

Nicholas Hawker

Nicholas Hawker

Nicholas began his musical education as a chorister at St Alphege, Solihull. He later read music at Birmingham University, eventually winning a postgraduate scholarship to complete an MPhil thesis on the music of Edward Elgar. Since then he has edited manuscripts that have now been published by The Elgar Society. In 2003 Nicholas moved to Truro to take up a choral scholarship with Truro Cathedral Choir, with which he has toured throughout Europe, made numerous recordings on the Regent and Lammas record labels and appeared as a soloist on BBC radio and television.

He is now in demand as a soloist throughout the southwest, where recent concert appearances have included, amongst others, Mozart Requiem, Handel Messiah, Judas Maccabeus, Samson, Dixit Dominus, Durufle Requiem, Schubert Mass in E Flat, Bach Magnificat, St John Passion (Evangelist and arias), Monteverdi Vespers, Stainer Crucifixion, Haydn Paukenmesse, Beethoven Mass in C, Britten St Nicolas and David Briggs A Cornish Cantata. Recent song cycle performances include Schumann Dicterliebe and Britten Winter Words. Among his forthcoming engagements in early 2014 are Bach St Matthew Passion (Evangelist) and Vaughan Williams On Wenlock Edge.

In opera Nicholas has appeared with Birmingham Festival Opera in Shostakovich Moskva Cheremushki and with Duchy Opera in Puccini Madame Butterfly, Mozart The Magic Flute and the premiere of Paul Drayton’s The Hanging Oak. He currently studies with Annabella Waite. Nicholas is Deputy Head and Director of Music at Polwhele House School, the choir school for Truro Cathedral.

Nicholas’s talk will explore Elgar’s long-held ambition to write a work based on the New Testament and study the extent to which this was fulfilled in his oratorios The Apostles and The Kingdom. Using information from manuscripts housed at the British Library it will track Elgar’s compositional process and consider how, had the original plan for The Apostles been realised, The Kingdom may never have been composed. It will also examine the strong thematic links between the two works, consider Elgar’s use of leitmotif and reveal his use of plainsong chant.

Michael Swift

Michael Swift

Besides his day job as Stained Glass Adviser to the Diocese of Truro and Truro Cathedral, Michael has been much in demand as a lecturer throughout the southwest for over 10 years. He has been running a series of highly popular adult-education courses in Truro for the past six years on Victorian and Edwardian culture. These courses have included a strong musical component, along with reference to the literature, art and architecture of the period. He has completed postgraduate research on Victorian composers and music festivals, and is passionate about English composers of this period. He sang in choirs for over three decades.

Michael will explore the place of The Apostles and The Kingdom in Edwardian choral music. It will set the works within the context of the tradition of English Victorian and Edwardian Triennial music festivals. In comparison with selected choral works by other contemporary composers, it will suggest that, in its form and content, The Kingdom marked a glorious end to that tradition.

For downloadable versions of the application form and information leaflet for this event, please follow the below links:
Application form
Kingdom Seminar Leaflet Feb14