Christopher Slater discusses the future for music education in Surrey

County Post, Times-Herald

6/19/19702 min read

A MUSIC CENTRE could be flourishing in the borough within two or three years. That is the belief of Mr Christopher Slater, founder and artistic director of Reigate Philharmonic Society.

Mr Slater has just started planning for a music centre and although the scheme is still in the embryo stage he is confident that it can quite quickly become a reality.

"I'm sure there is a market for this," he said this week. "Music centres are being set up in many large towns and I think there is a need for one here."

Mr Slater's first move has been to start organising a series of music appreciation lectures for the coming winter.

"I've got housewives particularly in mind for these classes. They will be held in the afternoons once a week — possibly on Thursdays — and I think they will provide something for women who get bored at home: as well, of course, as the people who will try to find time to come anyway."

Again Mr Slater's plans are only just hatched and he is hoping that people interested in the classes will contact him at his home in Durfold-drive, Reigate (48432). He is at present arranging accommodation and said that there will be 12 lectures before Christmas and 12 after. After a 10-shilling enrolment fee, the first session of 12 will cost music-lovers £2 10s each.

"I'll be taking the lectures myself at first," he said. "There might be one lesson contrasting two composers like Bach and Bartok or another comparing two different periods, such as classic and romantic. But really I want to know what people want. It will be flexible — I'm hoping people will get in touch with me now and say what they would like."

"This is really the start of a general plan to set up a music centre for Reigate," he con- tinued. The biggest hurdle, he said, would be finding a build- ing and enough money to start the scheme. Staff will present no problem. "There is a tremendous number of musicians coming out of the colleges every year; not all of them can be performers and many turn to teaching."

Mr Slater envisages a centre that will not only provide a day-centre for such classes as he is now organising for this winter but also for children to attend and learn instruments.

"I would like to see an orchestra for young people here eventually. There are a lot of talented young people around who I'm sure would like to join with other young people — not necessarily just an orchestra, but wind ensembles and perhaps a youth choir."

Mr Slater, who is 37, is a Fellow of Trinity College, London, where he took the piano performers' course, and an Associate of the Royal College of Music, where he also took wide studies covering opera, history of music, and criticism with Frank Howes, who was music critic of The Times for many years.

After the RCM he went to Germany where he was repetiteur at the Muenster Opera House. Although he was born in Sutton he came to Reigate when he moved back to this country. He was responsible for reviving concerts at the Dorking Halls in 1960 — two years before the council took them over.

He founded the Reigate Philharmonic in 1964.

Citation: Surrey Mirror Published 19 June, 1970. Page 4. Accessed British Newspaper Archive Jan 14, 2024. PDF View