Waldock, Hugh

Prolific Composer. Self-Published Score Writer. Poet and Author as well.

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Early Life 1977-1986

I was born into an elite neighbourhood in London. Until I was nine I lived in the heart of the West End in Marylebone at 22 Montague Mews South London W1 with my father Greg Waldock (a Whitgiftian). My grandfather Waldock was a first class officer in the Medical Core and won an MBE from King George VI. This is probably why my father was allowed to rent from Lord Grosvenor Senior from the late 1960s onwards. It was certainly a privilege to live in West One whilst it was still moderately affordable. In the 1970s and 1980s we even had a 26ft Kingfisher Yacht on the Hamble called Capsicum and my earliest memories of going on holiday in 1983 were sailing her to the Isle of Wight and my father teaching me to sail in a scout dinghy they'd let us have for free for returning some poor boy's five pound note I'd found.

In 1979-1980 We broke from living in London to take up permanent residence in West Berlin, so I started with German adn French and a bilingual education when I was 18 months old until I was 3. We lived in the well to do suburb of Lichterfelde West. Our neighbours were the Von Wittichs who were well connected in music they had friends at UdK. They are German noblemen and my lifelong friends. Dr. Henning von Wittich the Green party politician was my German Exchange Partner. They are related to the tutor of Frederick the Great.I'm still in touch with them. Henning is my oldest and best friend I've known since he was in a pram and I was another favourite of his mum. Henning's family was split by the Wende his grandparents were DDR citizens and they were Wessis so the wall was an issue for us all. It was virtually the first thing I took into my conscience and I too made friends with the characters of East German children's TV like Sandman and Pitti Platsch and hearing the East German children sing on Ein Männlein steht im Walde. Among them could have easily been my future college sweetheart. I actually could have known her voice since I was three. That is why I feel so at home in Germany. My brain was German as well as English when it was all connecting up so some of my deepest feelings still come in German. I feel as German as I am English through that experience.

School 1986-1996

From 1983-86 I attended the fantastic primary school in South Street Mayfair called St Georges Hannover Square, the CofE school to the church where Harmonia Mundi amongst others recorded. My earliest experiences of singing were in there. Whilst I was there I made friends with the millionaire's son Richard Jarrett who went on to attend Latimer Upper, and have fond memories of playing with him adn his sister Melissa in the private gardens in Thurloe Square opposite the V&A where they lived at Nr.39. I was also friends with Judy and Ben Wragg. Judy was an RCM graduate and Ben played the fiddle up to the end of Suzuki Book Four when we were about 6 he was playing Bach Double already and I was jealous and wanted to play too. So I had my first violin lessons from the London Suzuki Group as well as singing and acting. I had group and individual lessons. Mum spent her fathers inheritance on it. I learned with a pure Suzuki teacher early on called Jill Samuels of RAM. I did get out of the twinkle dungeon and onto book two. Looking at the class list I think the Barclay Brothers may have even been my classmates. The head of the London Suzuki Group at the time was Yjzack Perlman, and I only knew that when I'd looked it up. I was in the school choir and we did a music hall send off for our secretary Miss Carey, because she loved music hall when she retired I sang to her in a trio of three Galloping Majors, that was my first outing as a singer. I also was given a leading role as an actor in The King with No Clothes. I met Roald Dahl early on and got his signature and neighbours of ours included Richard Gibson of 'Allo 'Allo who was a friend of my parents before getting the role, and Rowan Atkinson who came round to borrow a kettle off mum. I remember Richard playing his guitar to mum and dad and me coming down the stairs shyly having got asthma from his 3 cats and having to go home early. Madonna and Lionel Ritchie also lived nearby. I went passed that property on the way up to the old Marylebone Children's Library where I was an ardent reader and won Bookworm prizes for reading six books on the Trott for fun. I liked facts as well as fiction and I wrote my first travelogue as early as 1984.

My life took a sea change one day mum didn't take me back home but to grandma's in Witham, Essex (Olly Murrs's home town) that incidentally my grandfather was responsible for building as a new town as the resident civil engineer and master mason. She said we weren't going back 'What about my friends, mum?' Tough. Came the reply it's called divorce. I didn't like it at all. Least of all having been kidnapped my mum and dad being the fun parent. I was sent to a very disciplined but happy private prep school in Chelmsford, Essex called Widford Lodge Preparatory School for Boys, so no more kiss chase available for 10 years. We had a great little anglican Choir I joined The Boys Choir of Widford Lodge which I was in from 1987 onwards until 1989. We sang in Gt Baddow Church, my first church appearance, Waltham Abbey, Rochester Cathedral for the RSCM schools day, in Chelmsford Cathedral and Cathedral Festival Fringe 1987 and 88 and did Jospeh with all the Cambridge College Choirs top line choristers at the Perse School in Cambridge. We even entered the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year Competition. Our choirmaster was James Smith who went on to be Head of Music at Repton a Trinity Laban Graduate. Our headmaster was Henry Witham.

In 1989 I gained a place at Ipswich School and got into Stephen Orton's choir in the first term. He was a genius choirmaster Orton whom I believe went on to play cello for Sir Neville Mariner, but John Blatchly the music loving chemist of an HM we had I feel didn't like Steven. He did treat the Head of Music in rather the same fashion as the Chelsea Manager. He just kept hiring and firing them until he was satisfied. No one wanted the job as a consequence and we had five teachers for GCSE until he resigned and we got Andrew Leach. They were good my teachers but so politically aware hardly anyone wanted to work with them. That said Blatchly's enthusiam for music was profound. He even taught us the whole of Verdi's requiem personally, the entire 1st and second year boys and we performed it live. He also arranged the first Ipswich school at Snape Maltings Concert which is now an institution in the school in 1990. In fact, I took part in the first four and it was supposed to be just a one off. I also did three choir tours to Chevreuse France in the Autumn Half Term of 89 with Orton, the programme was the greatest and most ambitious ever. Let thy Hand Be Strengthened (probably because the wall had fallen in the same month), but also the bombastic and most perfect 19th century anthem, SS Wesleys Blessed be God the father and the Missa Brevis in Bb by Michael Haydn, Carols and more. We got a standing ovation for half an our in a flint church just East of Paris they just didn't let us of stage these nine Frenchman in the audience and we'd done two concerts that day we were just 11. Three encores would you believe. We had a Simon Wilcox, a George Double, a Steven Trowell (of the Magnets), a Jamie Trowell (his younger sibling world renowned percussionist and classmate of mine), Bart Seaton formally of Westminster Choir, Michael Seaton (his brother and classmate of mine), Me, and my first crush's brother and Organist of Pembroke College Cambridge, Paul Simons. In 1991 we did a tour to the North to York where we stayed with the nuns of the Bar Convent, and kept them awake playing pranks on each other, so they could hardly get up for morning prayers, but we sang in Durham Cathedral, Beverly Minster, and Lincoln Cathedral the way back, under the stewardship of William Dore the Oxford Organ Scholar. Then in 1996 we did the Choir tour to Edinburgh, my first time in Scotland and my first legal drink on tour, on which I was a soloist in St Anns Corstorphine and sang in St Mary's Cathedral Princes Street. The other cathedral visits we did were Norwich, St Edmundsbury (Bury St Edmunds), Ely with it's octagonal tower, and in 2002 independently of the school I also sang in Fritzlar Cathedral in Germany. In 1993 I wrote his sister Sarah a poem and read it out to win myself the Rowley Elliston Prize for Fourth Form Literature Reading, then in 1995 I just pipped Jamie and our Head Chorister and Speech Writer to Gordon Brown (Kings Cambridge Scholar) Tim Kiddell to the school solo singing trophy as a countertenor. He'd won three times. Also in the line up that year were Nicola Carnaby of the BBC and Tom Fletcher of McFly who beat me to it the year after. The day after I added the unexpected bonus of the Junior Piano Prize. The prize for the senior singing cup was to sing with the Cambridge people at Eton College Ralph Allwood on the BBC world service radio and do an evensong for the late Sir Stephen Cleobury at Kings and the year after an evensong at John's with Tim Brown. That was certainly an amazing treat for a giant killer from the third stream with A level grades they didn't want mentioned in public. They had consistency in those days in the coursework, exams and so on, but they weren't cup winners most of them I was. I was a bit of a musical André Agassi I had more in the tank than they thought at that stage more than I thought I had even. At Ipswich we performed many major works; two modern Cantatas Galloping Godiva, and Chanticleer, Smike, Verdi Requiem as above, St Nicolas Cantata Britten, Rejoice in the Lamb Britten, Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, Chichester Psalms Bernstein, Paukenmesse by Haydn, To the Bavarian highlands Elgar, Messiah extracts as a soloist with the school orchestra, Fauré Requiem, Lobe den Herren Meine Seele Schütz. I was in the school orchestra as well briefly where I did Schubert 6 and the Harry Janos Suite By Kodaly on the second fiddle. I also had a few trombone lessons, and did up to grade 4 violin. I did grade 5 singing and grade 5 theory. I also loved drama and I was involved in Macbeth as the porter and all the servants, servants in Henry, VIII and the Elephant Man, Driver Pokorney in my Head of Languages translation of Der Jüngste Tag by Ödön von Horvarth adn a student productioin of Black Comedy by Peter Schaffer in whcih I had a major role for the first time as the Lancastrian Harold Gorringe. Then I was nominated for the Best Young Actor in North Essex Am Dram Guild for a performance of John with the Nayland Players under Jean Jones and was beaten by Will quince MP for Colchester I believe.

Late 90s

After that I spent some time with Patrick McCarthy's Colchester Bach Choir of Carmina Burana fame. I did my grade 8 with him and took some additional lessons with Ashley Stafford whom I'd met at Eton as a countertenor. He was the best countertenor teacher I ever had. I did one performance of Bach St Matthew Passion and one of Spem in Allium by Tallis the 40 part motet with them. additionally I did a recording with them in 1998 for Peter Holman and the Parley of Instruments on which I sang as an extra on numbers 9 and 14 called Vital Spark of Heavenly Flame on Hyperion (Unveil thy Bosom Faithful Tomb and Rejoice the Lord is king rare settings of Handel by minor English church composers of the Classical era).

2001-2007

Then I moved to Germany, was in the Kassel Bach Choir where I did two performance s of the Bach St Matthew Passion in Fritzlar Cathedral and St Martins, Kassel under Norbert Ternes in 2002. Then I did the Kassel Uni Choir with Charlotte Hake Chor der GhK, in which I sang one concert of pedagogical pieces with the Theme of Travel and some church music. After which I took voice lesson again with Alexander Stevenson, and he got me my first of two professional jobs as a solo countertenor the opera project I then got a place to study at HfM Cologne Standort Wuppertal and sang Don Quixote by Purcell, Junges Theater Göttingen Summer Opera 2002. I was paid 1000 euros for that, then I was paid for two gigs in Cologne of the back of a performance with Karsten Zündorf's Kammerchor Wupperfeld of The Vespers of Of Our Blessed Virgin Mary by Monteverdi, with Meike his wife singing Welcome to all the Pleasures 1st Ode to St Cecilia's Day 1683 for which I got 200 euros for singing in St Antonius Schildergasse, Cologne and Brauweiler Kirche. That went quite well and I was asked back. Unfortunately, I had little support for my next project and my big solo chance because it was the school holidays and the dress rehearsal for the Schütz didn't go so well I just had no experience of learning music on my own. It didn't go well and I lost Karsten and Meike's attention. So, my career as a counter wasn't plain sailing, but I'm very glad I perused it it was greatly life enhancing as an experience. The trouble is my relationship broke down and the college weren't that sympathetic so I thought it best to move on to Cologne University to study musicology and become a composer after a bad review in the paper for my performance of Pergoleisi Stabat Mater with Eva Trummer and Hayatt Chaoui. I only made one mistake and they crucified me in the Wuppertal Times and Stevenson didn't buy me a coffee afterwards, but I did compose a few numbers then, and cash out with 7/8 exams I took Musicology, Forms, Counterpoint, Harmony, General Music Theory, Aural Dictation and Second Study Piano which was a godsend to my future renaissance.

I ended up doing more German language at Cologne Uni, linguistics and studying he original medieval Novels on which Wagner's operas Parsifal and Tristan and Isolde were based, I even did some Latin and Norwegian for good measure, which is why I can read Harvard level linguistics studies from De Gruyter Verlag in German without the aide of a dictionary and became a pro translator for a while. I've also taught English Language am Cambridge Celta and MA qualified in ESOL teaching and have 3500 hrs of experience. I speak German and English to native level and near native level, and have conversational French and Italian (which I learned out of German), with a rudimentary knowledge of Medieval German, Early Modern German, Kölsch, Latin and Norwegian and speak a few words of Dutch also.

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