Being both performer and producer

West Mersea Houseboats near my home


Hugh Waldock's first orchestral piece
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With Pictures of West Mersea and my elderly mother
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I was once given a choice between going to choir practise or using a computer at school. I missed a rehearsal because I was an early teccy in the mid 90s and had booked a computer in our BBC micro computer centre. Use of computers in Classical music was a world away from reality then, in fact, the geeky physics dept was almost in a state of social war with the charismatics of the music school. It was as if I was either one of them with my sad glasses and 1980s 'War Games' style checked shirt or a 'real' musician, but I'm so glad to finally be able to marry my love of tech with Classical music.

Having studied on 2 performance courses at two different conservatoires in two countries Germany and in London I never really found myself as a musician until recently. I'm now a proud student at HOFA College of Audio Engineering in Mannheim Germany. I enjoy being a sort of musical one man band, being a performer to a certain extent but also composer and producer of my own work. I never knew how much fun designing a sound could be in conjunction with the technical prowess of playing an instrument.

I've noticed that with my second study piano exam from Cologne Conservatoire Wuppertal Campus I can play 90% better than most of my colleagues in deejaying and I want to encourage the trend and lead it. So, many deejays spend so much time quantising and editing musical input they have created with one finger. Why not learn how to play properly as a deejay? This divide still exists in some ways, why do we have to be exclusively pop musicians, playing our DAWs and laughing at how much effort it takes to play an instrument conventionally to little avail, because I can design a sound, why bother playing one? Why bother writing your composition out note for note on Sibelius before importing it into a DAW or playing it in? It's as if it's really come around for the charismatics in our school choir, but I feel the results are even better with the DAW if you can PLAY your musical input in five parts in full and not each line on a separate track individually. This is defiantly the case with my digital piano.

There is still an advantage to conventional performing in recording music even though it's no longer "essential'. The quality is still better. The human touch is invaluable and even prized by the deejay and mixing community, even if they can only play with one finger. They do play to get the human touch into their work even if they are very late starters. Because I can play a Bach prelude or two that is a massive thing for them to be both batsman and bowler. Sure it's possible to either perform or mix, but I feel my strength now is doing both at a professional level.

This is some of my latest stuff. I basically sell my own recordings of Classics and my own recordings online. I'm suffering for being pro-EU, but it's not that I'm not wealthy at the end of the day. Thankfully mum has provided a home for her only son. I don't think they'll take that away that easily.

I just want to make a bit of money out of Classical music myself and that's unusual for a mixing engineer and deejay, but that's where my background lies, I was a prizewinning countertenor and school singing champion, having won with an aria from Handel's Messiah 'He was Despised' in 1995. I've performed no less than 26 oratorios live at scholarship and professional level in Classical music both as a soloist and in chorus. I've performed at the Royal Albert Hall 4x and Snape Maltings 6x as well as in ten different cathedrals. I was 12 years an Anglican chorister and music scholar before moving into production, which I love. Indeed having won the school comptition I was very privileged as my first grand experience in Classical music to take part in Eton Choral Course 1 1995 and course 2 in 1996 and do a recording for the BBC as well as sing at Kings College Cambridge and St John's College Cambridge for the great late Sir Stephen Cleobury and also Tim Brown. I've always had a club card in Classical music, but felt undervalued, I'm really coming into my own now as the musician I want to be and that is to save Classical Music for future generations by marrying conventional wisdom with the progressive in an informed way and counter some of the conventional elitism in the industry which alienates potential interested parties in Europe and the UK. I want to get simple and effective Classical Music back into the pub. There are so many dances and short snackable pieces people can relate to as pop musicians and enjoy playing themselves at a technical level which can involve far more people and create a much bigger fan base for the concerto finalists. Yes, I really do care about the big guns in the Classical Music industry as well. If we don't work together on saving world Classical music we will fail together in areas where we have been traditionally competitive in the extreme.

My life is a pilgrims progress I've only got to this stage by success, failure, trial and error but I feel that's what contributes to having a fun and balanced life. Cool Original Flavour is what I like I'll leave the Tangy Cheese to the Tangy Cheese experts! It's not their thing to be me either, but I do love and appreciate their skill which I do share. With my talent production skills I'm developing I can assist in making exceptional performances and recordings sound more appealing using conventionally scientific and also artistic principles. I'm just so glad I was forced into doing GCSE Physics as a separate subject now. I know why I wasn't allowed to do art with music as I can now engage in the scientific debate on acoustic science associated with good production, whilst my Classical music background in a traditional boys choir has helped me achieve a creative sense of musical balance in my work.

I'm quite a good producer in the making, but I also like to play and sing my own stuff and pieces by other classical composers.

I have five disabilities I'm just trying to build a sustainable economic future not having to work in the strawberry fields or in the mail factory forever when I finally lose my mobility. I want to make money from music and creative writing and get a doctorate from HOFA / Trigon and to die a rich and happy man having achieved something worthwhile and not just half hearted. I need help with that. I'm 44 but I probably will cease to exist by the time I'm 60 or thereabouts so I've got to achieve something, indeed everything by then.

I know it's late in the day and I had several career breaks, and I'm very realistic about what I can achieve. I want to make a living out of my Classical Music and selling it online. It's what I've always wanted to make it in Classical Music. I got going on it found out I wasn't a countertenor after two attempts but when I practiced I was a half decent pianist, baritone, violinist, composer and producer. I enjoy having five musical studies now very much and not just singing. It was a delight to be able to play and explore repertoire as well as sing. People so undervalue just having the time to play lots through. I discovered the lovely little piece on the left Disco Baroque by local composer Alan Bullard which I'm very fond of. I like to manipulate the sound of my instrument now electronically as well as play it. For the last two numbers on the left I played live into my DAW, then added effects of course, but I compose the traditional way as well, I improvise, write it out note for note on Sibelius then play it into a computer or import a midi file into a DAW and render the sound.

Compared with the two live recordings on the left I did as audio files (2 and 3) I feel that the future of my classical music certainly is playing live recordings into a DAW and adding effects and in using audio visual presentation of my work. All recordings are quite well played it's just that the expressive power of the DAW when unleashed is so much greater these days than simply recording with a MIC. I just used a MIDI 2 cable in coming in from my 1996 GEM EP, but with a modern Mac Mini and Logic Pro X, sound interface, and CUBASIS for my IPad pro it is possible to combine use of Apple and Steinberg effects, as in number 1, or just use the Logic Pro X as for 4, and 5 and use a stereo effect with 2 different piano sounds.

I feel this conference and this community are at the heart of these innovations certainly in 2018 and 2019. My country I feel is very conservative about them, so far, but I have seen the light and see myself as a beacon for my locality at the beating heard of European Musical and Global Musical innovation in Classical music. That's why even as an independent and as yet unsigned classical musician. It's well worth paying 2500 Euros a euros a year to attend to keep a finger on the pulse of it all. I greatly enjoyed the Rotterdam conferences.

The 26 Oratorio pieces and other major works I have performed over the years as a vocalist are:


1. Faure Requiem
2. Brahms Requiem
3. Mozart Requiem
4. Verdi Requiem

5. Messiah Handel
6. Bach St Matthew Passion
7. Bach St John Passion
8. Brockes Passion Handel

9. Mass in Time of War Josef Haydn
10. Missa Brevis in Bb Michael Haydn
11. The Armed Man Karl Jenkins
12. St Cecilia Mass Charles Gounod
13. Vespers of our Blessed Virgin Mary Claudio Monteverdi
14. Stabat Mater Pergoleisi

15. St Nicolas Cantata B. Britten
16. Rejoice in the Lamb B. Britten
17. Carmina Burana Karl Orff

18. Hear My Prayer Felix Mendelssohn
19. Zadok the Priest Handel
20. Let thy Hand Be Strengthened Handel
21. The Captive Queen Jean Sibelius
22. Spem in Allium Thomas Tallis
23. Beatus Vir Claudio Monteverdi
24. Welcome to All the Pleasures 1st Ode to St Cecila's Day 1683 H. Purcell

25. Chichester Psalms L. Bernstein
26. Lobet den Herren Schütz

Opera and Operetta

1. Dido and Aneas Henry Purcell
2. Don Quixote Henry Purcell
3. Trial By Jury Gilbert and Sullivan


1. Jospeh Lloyd Webber

Orchestral Part Songs

1. To the Bavarian Highlands E. Elgar

3 Orchestral violin pieces on 2nd fiddle (third desk):

Kodály Hary Janos Suite
Schubert Symphony Nr. 6
A Josef Haydn Organ Concerto

article posted by:Hugh Waldock, Waldock, Hugh