Creating new love for classical music

Tim Jackson
Tim Jackson

Tim Jackson was nine when he fell in love with classical music.

The former Fulwood High School pupil used to attend Preston’s Guild Hall every month with his parents to listen to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and now appears on stage for them.

Tim said: “Music was around me all the time, it was completely normal.

“We used to go on a Tuesday to the Guild Hall, and it was just another thing to do.

“It’s important that people realise it doesn’t need to be an unusual thing to do.

“It’s nice that it’s given a special status, but it’s really just normal and it’s normal that it should be of an incredibly high standard.”

Malcolm said he became ‘obsessed’ with music, and took up playing the French Horn, with support from his music teacher dad and singer mum.

He first joined the Lancashire Music Service aged nine, run by county chief music officer Malcolm Doley.

Tim said: “Practically every professional musician in Lancashire will have had some contact with Malcolm, he was an inspirational figure for me, and a conductor with the Lancashire School Symphony Orchestra at that time.

“That was my first real experience of performing music and I loved it.

“I was bitten by the bug and I knew immediately I wanted to do it as much as I could. I realised that if I worked by backside off that I might be able to make a career out of it.

“Working in this environment everyday is dream come true stuff.”

Tim went on to study at the Royal College of Music in Manchester for four years, then went to London after landing a job at the Royal Opera House.

He said: “It was an amazing experience, and then I moved to the Philharmonic Orchestra in London.

“There was a large amount of travelling and being away all the time sounds terribly glamourous, but it’s not when you want to start a family.”

Tim was able to move back up north after joining the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which is based at Preston Guild Hall, and now lives in Formby with his wife and daughter Lana, six.

He added: “It’s brilliant to be back up north.

“People who are in my section now can remember me as a child, and now I look into the audience and I see other horn students, and it’s a circle of life. It really is a dream.”

He added: “The state of classical music in this area at the moment is very, very healthy.

“I also teach at the Royal College of Music where I studied, and some of the students would have given me a run for my money. The standard is going up all the time.

“We also had Lancashire Music Service playing with us and there were 17 and 18-year-olds playing different ensembles, and the standard was fantastic.”

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra based in Blackburn’s King George’s Hall, and the Manchester Camerata, based at The Muni in Colne, have joined forces to promote classical music concerts.

Tim said: “The idea is that we expand our audiences and appeal to people right on our doorstep who might not ever have been to see an orchestra.

“Many people don’t know what to expect, so we want people to ‘test drive’ like they would do a car.

“Last year we performed at Sefton Park and 10,000 people turned out to listen. About 8,500 of them have never been to a live orchestra, and were absolutely blown away by it.

“I want to get more people in to feel the crashing power of the music, with 90 people going for it on stage with an amazing atmosphere.

“The audiences in Preston are fantastic, so we want to see a few more folk bringing their kids.”