This year CoMA Bristol said farewell to its long-time music director Mark Lawrence. Over the last 25 years Mark has been a leading figure in the Bristol community music scene, and we are delighted that this has recently been recognised by Making Music with the award of the Lady Hilary Groves Prize. We shall miss his warmth and kindness, but look forward to seeing what new community music projects he will develop in the future.
We are pleased to welcome our new music director, Chris Holley, who introduces himself:
It’s a great pleasure to be conducting CoMA Bristol, exploring a wide range of repertoire as well as interesting and friendly musicians, supported by a strong and able committee. I’m also proud to be part of the wider CoMA organisation where I can bring together several skills and interests of my own: conducting, new music and amateur music-making. I began to pursue the study and composition of new music as well as conducting at school. I studied composition, counterpoint and orchestration throughout my undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham. There I majored in orchestral conducting, under Daniel Rosina, directing several premieres alongside other contemporary works and a wide range of other repertoire. Currently, I am in my final year of my masters degree in orchestral conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, under David Jones, where I have proudly conducted several wonderful premieres alongside quite a lot of repertoire from the 17th century until today.
I have enjoyed conducting a diverse selection of other amateur ensembles including large and small orchestras, early music groups, contemporary music groups and choirs. In CoMA Bristol I am particularly proud of the welcoming, enjoyable and friendly atmosphere that any community-spirited amateur ensemble brings. At the same time, there is, alongside this, the rarer and important exploration of many kinds of new music with open-mindedness and musical creativity. I very much look forward to our continued work together and am interested to see what the future will bring.