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Graham Ellis

Born on the Wirral, Graham Jordan Ellis studied as an organist with Dr. Caleb Jarvis and then with Dr. Noel Rawsthorne at Liverpool Cathedral, composition with Professor Stephen Pratt at Liverpool Hope University, and ‘cello with William Jenkins. He graduated with honours from the University of Liverpool, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the Academy of St Cecilia. He has been associated with the musical life of Merseyside for many years and has achieved a considerable reputation as an experienced conductor of both choral and orchestral music, working with many choral and operatic societies, with amateur, youth and professional orchestras, including Das Schwäbische Symphonie-Orchester of West Germany, Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1990 he founded the Liverpool Sinfonia, an orchestra of freelance professional players which appears with him regularly. Graham has also worked for BBC radio and television and was Director of Music at Birkenhead School for 33 years, during which time its Chapel Choir gained an increasing reputation, performing in cathedrals throughout this country and in concert in France, Venice, Verona, Florence, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna, and Northern Spain. In 2000 he was commissioned to write the choral work Degrees of Joy for the centenary of the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union and this received its première in the choir’s Centenary Gala Concert with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under his direction. With this chorus and the RLPO he subsequently conducted many concerts, including an acclaimed performance of Elgar The Kingdom. Graham has held the post of Music Director to the Chester Music Society since 1996, having been guest conductor for their Golden Jubilee concert, performing Vaughan Williams’ A Sea Symphony, Bax Tintagel and the North West première of Finzi Requiem da Camera. His particular interest in English music is reflected in performances including Finzi Intimations of Mortality, Elgar The Music Makers, Elgar Cello Concerto, Blackford Mirror of Perfection, works by Leigh, Butterworth, Howells and others, and a special performance of Elgar The Dream of Gerontius in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral with the Philharmonic Orchestra and a chorus of 300 voices to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the work’s first performance. Other notable performances have included Puccini Messa di Gloria, Verdi Aida, Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Bernstein West Side Story, Gershwin Porgy and Bess and Rhapsody in Blue with Martin Roscoe and the Northern Chamber Orchestra. More recent concerts have included Bach St Matthew Passion, Bach Mass in B minor, Verdi Requiem, a series of Gala Carol Concerts with actresses Patricia Routledge and Jean Boht, local poet Roger McGough, and the legendary Ken Dodd, in support of local and national charities, Finzi In terra pax, Cello Concerto, Orff Carmina Burana, Karl Jenkins The Armed Man and the rarely performed Janácek Glagolitic Mass. Other concerts include Mozart Mass in C minor, Haydn Trumpet Concerto with Crispian Steele-Perkins, and Britten War Requiem.

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