Stewart French (3 October)
He was born in Luton, son of an accountant father and schoolteacher mother. Like Stephen Goss, whom he interviews on the above date, he is something of a polymath, having read Pure Mathematics at Cambridge University while becoming increasingly absorbed in the musical life of the University. Here he performed his guitar arrangements at college concerts and befriended Timothy Brown (Director of Music) and John Rutter. After Cambridge, and a spell working as an Investment Banker at M&A, he gained a place at the Royal Academy of Music, studying guitar with Michael Lewin alongside Milos Karadaglic, and gaining the highest recorded postgraduate mark in guitar in the RAM’s history. In his first summer as a student at the RAM, he recorded for Naxos John Rutter’s Shadows, for baritone and guitar. However, initially unable to afford to make a demo recording to offer as an applicant, he decided to teach himself record production, gaining extra experience by observing recording sessions. He is a first-rate audio editor, as Putney Music’s co-programme secretary, the recording producer Andrew Keener, will testify.
His recording service, Draft, was set up following a period working in Mergers and Acquisitions, when he won the Deutsche Bank Pyramid Award for arts businesses.The guitar has not been neglected, however. He has played Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and his edition of Walton’s Bagatelles for Guitar, which he has recorded for Draft, is part of the Oxford University Press Walton Edition. In collaboration with the composer Tariq O’Regan, he has recorded for Harmonia Mundi, as well as playing guitar in O’Regan’s first opera, Heart of Darkness and playing in Stephen Goss’s guitar ensemble, Tetra. His latest venture, A Fly on the Wall, is an online audio-visual facility of short pieces capturing an artist in an ‘eavesdropping’ manner after recording sessions.
Total immersion swimming and running keep a sense of proportion!