Jack Lovell - Musical Director

 

As the current Music Director for Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera’r Ddraig, Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra, Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra, Stafford Sinfonia and Chorus Director of Spires Philharmonic Chorus, Jack enjoys a busy and varied freelance conducting career working across Wales, the Midlands and the North. He recently led two productions of Acis and Galatea with Taunton Festival Opera and Shrewsbury Cantata Choir, and he has worked extensively with every ensemble at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the University of Birmingham, including performances at the Bath International Music Festival.  He has guest conducted with the RepCo, Asklepois and Charnwood Orchestras as well as Operamus, Midland Opera and Canton Chorus.  Jack has been the Assistant Conductor of productions with National Dance Company of Wales, at Welsh National Opera on their award-winning production of Britten’s Paul Bunyan and with The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden’s revival of David Bruce’s, The Firework-Maker’s Daughter..

Jack graduated with distinction from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a Master of Music in Orchestral Conducting in 2014 where he was awarded the Simon Clarkson Award for Best All-Round Musician at the College.  Whilst in Cardiff, he studied with David Jones and took part in masterclasses with Timothy Murray, Alice Farnham, Nicholas Cleobury, Sir Richard Armstrong and Carlo Rizzi, as well as receiving guidance from the baroque virtuoso violinist Rachel Podger and musicians from Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.  He currently works at the Birmingham Conservatoire and studies with Michael Seal, Associate Conductor at the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

 

I’ve been with the orchestra for around four years and it’s lost in the mists of time how I came to be involved. I’ve played tuba in a variety of bands from Jazz, Military Concert Bands, Brass Bands and even ‘folk tuba', whatever that may be. I think I was approached as people had seen me playing with one of these other bands. I’d done a little orchestral stuff in my early-twenties and enjoyed it and although twenty years had passed I thought, ‘why not?’. I like to think you’re always learning, and the orchestra pushes my skills as a player. You can’t hide on tuba so there’s pressure to play it right and it isn’t as easy as it often seems, although I would say that wouldn’t I?!

 

 

I came to the Sheffield Philharmonic fairly late as a player, I've played the flute since the start of senior school but always played in wind bands coming up through the Sheffield Music Services, and didn't actually get in to orchestral playing until my late 20's.

I've been with the Phil for over 10yrs now and have totally enjoyed the experience.

I joined the Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra in 1997, and have witnessed it grow and develop since then. My own playing has improved hugely with the discipline of playing every week, and I now lead the cello section. My son Tom Monk—just a baby when I first joined the orchestra—is also a regular player in the percussion section.

Over the last 15 years, the orchestra has covered a broad repertoire and played in a variety of venues both in Sheffield and further afield. Every concert programme brings its own challenges—from entertaining small children with a musical steam train ride, to transporting a harp and full drum kit to the concert venue, or deciphering the innumerable key changes in a Mahler symphony.

I have played in the SPO (on and off) since I was a teenager, moving my way around the violin sections, before taking up permanent residence at the front of the 2nds! My very first rehearsal is still etched in my memory; everyone was so lovely and welcoming, and as a young player with very little orchestral experience I remember relishing being able to get my teeth into some meaty symphonies! Today the orchestra remains a friendly and supportive family, with ever more challenging programmes and exciting repertoire. After a day teaching beginner violinists to plonk and squeak, it is just the tonic I need!