The Colne Philharmonic has been privileged to experience the talents of a series of professional conductors. These include Andrea Quinn, Jacques Cohen and Anthony Weedon. They have all gone on to have glittering careers in the conducting world.
For this season our conductors will be David Hammond, Francis Bushell and Vicente Chavarria. Scroll down to read their biographies.
David has had a diverse career taking him across the world as a French horn player and conductor. His eclectic musical experiences have seen him perform as a member of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, an electric guitarist in a support band to Status Quo, and as a French horn player in the National Chamber Orchestra of South Africa. With over twenty years of professional conducting experience, David has worked with ensembles in a variety of venues, including the Royal Albert Hall, Beethovenhalle (Germany), and Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. As full-time Director of Music of The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra David was responsible for directing music at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and Holyrood Palace for Investitures, State Banquets, and other royal events, being personally congratulated on his work by the President of the United States. On horseback, David has led the Household Cavalry Band for the Queen’s Birthday Parade and was privileged to ride again this year with the Household Cavalry for both the Platinum Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Parade and Pageant in London.
David holds fellowships of the principal British music conservatoires and his awards include winner of the Worshipful Company of Musicians’ Silver Medal. With five degrees (including a doctorate in historical musicology), David was honoured to have HRH The Countess of Wessex write the foreword to his recent book, British Army Music in the Interwar Year: Culture, Performance, and Influence. Broadcast on the BBC and Classic FM, David is also an accomplished recording artist with an extensive repertoire, having made several albums for both wind band and string orchestra. David currently freelances as a musician, lectures in music, history, and strategic management at The Open University, and is a director of management consultancy ‘Get Psyched Up!’. With the British Army David has deployed on operational tours to the Balkans and Afghanistan and now serves in the Army Reserve as a Major with The Royal Yeomanry in London. Having lived in Southern Africa, Germany, and Gibraltar, David has settled on the Essex coast with his wife, two teenage daughters, and two large labradoodles.
Francis is a conductor and bassoonist in his second year of the MMus degree at the Royal College of Music where he is a Leverhulme Arts Scholar, a Drake Calleja Trust Scholar and a Henry Wood Trust beneficiary. He began his musical training as a chorister at St. John’s College, Cambridge under the direction of Andrew Nethsingha, returning to Cambridge to study music, graduating in 2021. Francis now studies with Howard Williams, and bassoon with Emily Hultmark, Joost Bosdijk and Andrea di Flammineis.
Francis was Musical Director for Cambridge productions of Der Freischütz, Semele, and Schubert’s Die Zwillingsbrüder. In 2019, he won the Cambridge University Symphony Orchestra Conducting Competition and became their conductor for the 2019-2020 season. In 2020 Francis collaborated with Aristo Sham in a weekend of concerts performing all Beethoven’s piano concerti. Francis directs Ubique, a group of talented young singers performing repertoire spanning four centuries. Francis was recently appointed Organist and Director of Music of Christ Church, Streatham. In March 2023 Francis conducts the RCM Wind Ensemble.
As a bassoonist, Francis has played Principal Bassoon with the RCM Symphony Orchestra and played in a masterclasses given by Ole Kristian Dahl, Matthew Wilkie, and Julie Price. In 2016 Francis played Principal Bassoon in the BBC Proms Youth Ensemble at the Last Night of the Proms. He won the 2017 Marlowe Young Musician of the Year Competition and was a Woodwind Section Finalist in BBC Young Musician of the Year 2018. In 2019 he was a prize winner in the Cambridge University Musical Society Competition and had a concerto performance with the University Orchestra under Jonathan Bloxham. In June 2019, he had the honour of giving a solo Bassoon performance at the Cambridge Honorary Degree Ceremony in the presence of Sir Mark Elder. Francis has played solo at the Wigmore Hall, Royal College of Music, Gray’s Inn, and various Cambridge Colleges