Peter Avis (4 February)
After teaching maths for ten years during the 1960s and 1970s, Peter Avis moved into music administration; first as General Secretary of the Ernest Read Music Association and then as a House Manager at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon where he also ran the Lunchtime Concerts. Since 1988 he has worked as a freelance writer of programme and CD booklet notes and giver of pre-concert talks at several venues including Fairfield, the Hexagon in Reading, the Wigmore Hall, the Sheldonian in Oxford and on the South Bank. During the course of these talks he has also interviewed many conductors and soloists notably Andrew Litton, Leonard Slatkin, Carl Davis, Tasmin Little, Julian Lloyd Webber, Emma Johnson, Dame Gillian Weir, Natalie Clein and Stephen Hough. He also acts as speaker at Gramophone Societies throughout the South East and beyond and has recently given talks to several branches of the Elgar Society about the English composer Dame Ethel Smyth and the writer and musicologist Rosa Newmarch. For many years he has also sung with various London choirs both in this country and on tour abroad.
In 2003 he gained an MA in Visual and Performing Arts (The Promenade Concerts) from King's College, London, and, in October 2010, made his debut on Radio 4 as the presenter of a programme entitled Rosa and Leoš which was based on one of his King's College essays and dealt with the visit to London in 1926 of Leoš Janáček, a visit which had been arranged for him by Rosa Newmarch. His second appearance on Radio 4 resulted from an invitation from its arts programme, Front Row, to talk about Arthur Wood, the composer of the signature tune used by The Archers. Over the past four of five years he has been working as a volunteer on various archive projects at the Royal Festival Hall and, during the summer of 2011, helped curate one of the exhibitions which formed part of the South Bank's celebration of the 1951 Festival of Britain.