Musical Director and Conductor
We are delighted to welcome our new Conductor and Musical Director, Leigh O’Hara.
Leigh completed a music degree at the University of York, where he won the department prize for outstanding musical contribution. He continued his piano studies at Trinity College of Music with Simon Young, Philip Fowke and David Owen Norries before completing a Masters Degree at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has won first prize in the Weingarten Schumann Competition and has also been awarded the Gertrude Norman Prize and Cross Memorial Scholarship. His conducting teachers have included Peter Stark, Lionel Friend, Michael Rose, George Hurst and Rodolfo Saglimbeni.
Leigh was Director of Music at James Allen’s Girls’ School for nine years, and has just taken up the same position at St Paul’s Girls’ School, making him only the third person to have held these posts at both schools (the first two being Vaughan Williams and Holst!). Leigh has been working at Dartington International Summer School in various capacities for 20 years where he performed as a soloist and chamber musician as well as coaching chamber music, teaching piano and conducting the orchestral workshop and chamber choir.
As well as conducting the Symphony and Chamber Orchestras at St Paul’s, Leigh is musical director of the South London Youth Orchestra and Colet Choral Society. Alongside working regularly with the Blackheath Community Chorus Leigh has been the musical director of Blackheath Halls Orchestra since 2006 conducting many exciting projects including the fully staged performances of Carmen, La Boheme and Orpheus and Eurydice as well as four performances of Verdi’s Requiem with over 200 local singers. Last summer’s activities included conducting a live orchestra during a showing of The Little Mermaid at the Royal Albert Hall to launch the new DVD release. This year’s plans include guest conducting the Dulwich Symphony Orchestra and working with Edward Gardner on performances of Mendelssohn’s Elijah as well as the launch of the new Colet Choral Society.
Leigh is a keen cyclist and has an irrational enthusiam for public transport and railways but he has never been a train-spotter.