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David Milsom (B.Mus, Hons., M.Mus., PhD, FHEA) is a violinist, violist, musicologist, lecturer, reviewer and instrumental teacher, based in Sheffield and Huddersfield. He holds the post of Head of Performance in the music department of the University of Huddersfield, where he is also the Director of HuCPeR (Huddersfield Centre for Performance Research). David’s activities centre around performance, on modern and period instruments, and he is dedicated to promoting a passionate and charismatic aesthetic of performance, questioning current conventions and seeking to communicate historical music to a growing audience.

A native of Sheffield, David began his violin studies at the age of five with respected local teacher, Pamela Price. In 1985, aged eleven, he embarked upon two intense years of study with former Lindsay String Quartet leader, Peter Cropper, during which time he won a rare ABRSM Gold Medal. In 1987 he began three years of study with Roger Bigley (1944 -2013), former violist in the Lindsay Quartet, Deputy Head of Strings at the RNCM, and a former student of Watson Forbes, before a similar period of study with Martin Milner (1928-2000), former leader of the Hallé Orchestra, pupil of Henry Holst, and feted with the epithet of finest leader of his generation by Milner’s colleague, Sir John Barbirolli. After several successful concerto performances, David was drawn towards academic study, initially as a History student at the University of Sheffield, before transferring to a music degree in 1993, during which time his love of chamber music was fostered by tuition from Peter Hill, Colin Lawson, and various tutors attached to the RNCM.

Upon graduation in 1995 with a first-class degree, the Julian Payne Recital Prize, a Beecham Scholarship and finals prizes for performance and scholarship, David continued his academic studies with Colin Lawson at Sheffield, taking an MMus in Performance in 1996, and finally being awarded a PhD in 2000 with a thesis - Theory and Practice in Late Nineteenth-Century Violin Performance 1850-1900 (Published 2003, Ashgate) - by which time he was under the supervision of Anthony Bennett and Clive Brown, and during which (MMus and PhD) he was the recipient of two British Academy maintenance grants.

After a period of time as a busy instrumental tutor at the University of Sheffield, Barlborough Hall Prep. School and Mount St Mary’s College, Derbyshire, in addition to a substantial private practice, David (who was also a recipient of an Edison Fellowship at the British Library from 2003-4, studying early orchestral recordings) gained a much-coveted AHRC Research Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts, which he held from 2006-9, based at the University of Leeds, and as part of his links with Clive Brown. This project involved investigating and recording a broad range of ‘classical’ German string chamber music on period instruments and experimenting with radical applications of nineteenth-century performance style. The focus of the investigation was to assimilate Joseph Joachim's performing practices through comprehensive study of his Violinschule, his published editions, and his sound recordings. This further cemented David’s reputation as a scholar-performer specialising in Romantic practice; a subject on which he has performed and published extensively, gaining an international reputation with numerous talks and performances in the UK, USA, Estonia, Austria, Italy, and Belgium.

In 2010 David joined the staff at the University of Huddersfield as Lecturer (Senior Lecturer from 2012), and is currently in joint charge of performance programmes there with fellow University of Sheffield alumnus and internationally-acclaimed contemporary and ‘experimental music’ pianist, Philip Thomas. This move, along with the wider focus granted to him as a CD reviewer for The Strad magazine (since 2008) and his research and writing of the 2014 A-Z of String Players for Naxos Educational has effected a shift in David’s performance attitudes and perceived imperatives, towards a broader understanding of performance possibilities. Recent work involves looking more conceptually at how research underpins performance, attempting to display an open-minded yet inquisitive approach to the subject of performance style. In view of this, David uses modern instrument set-up, nineteenth-century set-up and (since 2012) Baroque violin, as part of Huddersfield-based chamber group, Four’s Company. This is reflected in David’s various recording projects, which encompass a range of stylistic and technical influences.

David’s thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm to promote art music for all can be seen in a varied and stimulating career, balancing his academic interests and expertise with an appreciation for grass-roots performance and music-making. David maintains a small private instrumental teaching practice as part of Milsom School of Music. An experienced choral tenor in his spare time, David is currently Chairman and a founder member of independent liturgical ensemble, Sheffield Chamber Choir.

 

© David Milsom 20152015