This site is run by Jane Shuttleworth. It’s very much a one-woman operation (except for when I coerce some teenage slave-labour), and I have a fulltime job too, so please bear with me over any delays, omissions and inaccuracies. If something is wrong, please get in touch and I’ll put it right as soon as I can
I spend as much of my life as I can get away with absorbed in music – listening, performing, reading, writing – and telling other people about it. This site is a place for me to bring all these together, and, I hope to provide something useful for other people in Durham while I’m at it. My particular interests are choral music, early music and modern music.
I review concerts in Durham on an ad hoc basis, and I always buy my own ticket. I aim to be fair, positive and realistic and if I’ve really not enjoyed a performance, I’d rather just not write about it. If do I make negative comments in a review, it’s usually because a performance hasn’t met my expectations based on previous experience of the group.
I used to for the international music news and listing site Bachtrack but I’ve now stopped, as it’s no longer compatible with my job.
Please do feel free to email me if you’d like me to cover a concert in or near Durham. I try to do as much as I can fit in: if I say no, it’ll generally be because it’s too far out of my comfort zone; I’m too busy; there’s a a potential conflict of interest or it’s too far away.
When I was about 9, I joined the church choir, on impulse, for reasons that were never entirely clear. I didn’t have a great voice (I still don’t, but it does the job) but we were lucky enough to have a choirmaster who was willing to put time and effort into coaching trebles, and I’ve sung in choirs of various sizes ever since, from small church and chapel choirs to massive choral societies.
I spent about 15 years singing with Durham Singers and managing the choir’s publicity. In fact, this website grew out of those activities as I felt there was a need for a Durham clash diary to help groups with planning. As these things do, it got bigger and now the site is, I hope, the best place to find all the city and university classical music events, in one place.
At the moment I am indulging in my love of Anglican choral music by singing at St James and St Basil’s in Fenham. I’m also in one of those scratch choirs that fills in at cathedrals in the holidays – we do one or two weekends of services a year, and it’s great fun.
Yes, I’m one of those. Somehow I never graduated onto what people call ‘proper’ instruments. I played the trumpet for a while when I was young, and took up the oboe so that I could do ensemble stuff for A-level music but I always came back to the recorder. I adore the simplicity of it, and the fact that it feels so close to singing: whatever I put in comes out with very little external mechanical intervention. Also, I get high on long baroque semi-quaver passages. I did venture back into doing a few solo concerts a while ago, but discovered I had lost my youthful nerve for performing, so I now just pootle away happily in my music room or with friends instead.
You can find my personal account on twitter @altojane