Musical director Ian Assersohn wins contest with emotive composition

Ian Assersohn with Celtic Male Ensemble
Ian Assersohn with Celtic Male Ensemble

A composition by Crawley Concordia Singers’ musical director Ian Assersohn has won acclaim in a contest for Cornwall’s next International Male Voice Choral Festival.

The hotly contested Composers’ Competition ended with Ian’s setting of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘Crossing the Bar’ moving an audience almost to tears when it was performed for the first time by the newly formed ‘Celtic Male Ensemble’.

The Composers’ Composition is one of the jewels in the crown of Cornwall’s biennial world Choral event, which will take place from April 29 to May 4 next year, with more than 60 choirs converging from around the globe for 50 concerts in 40 venues in every corner of the Duchy.

Ian, who studied composition and piano at the Royal College of Music before embarking on a 25 year career as a senior IT director, recently came back to his music – with outstanding results.

Announcing him as the winner among 40 entries by 31 composers, adjudicator Dr Alan Bullard said he had created “an effective and moving work, which represents the best of the Male Voice Choir tradition, with shapely melodic lines, a sense of musical climax, and a traditional but effective harmonic control.

“It will appeal to performers and it sets a well-known text, which will win the audience’s hearts.”

Ian was presented with a silver cup and a cheque for £1,000. He said: “Returning to music has been a very positive and successful career move for me. I always love hearing my music performed, especially for the first time, and The Celtic Male Ensemble did a great job.”

‘Crossing the Bar’ will have its world premiere during the 2015 Festival.

Meanwhile, Ian and Crawley Concordia Singers have just begun rehearsals for their Christmas concert when they will perform the UK premiere of Alan Bullard’s ‘A Light in the Stable’.

Weekly rehearsals take place every Thursday at 7.45pm in Crawley URC, Worth Park Avenue, Pound Hill, and new members would be made very welcome, especially tenors (male or female).

It is the start of an interesting and varied year for Concordia. Their spring concert will be Mozart’s Requiem and next summer they will host a picnic concert.

Choir publicity officer Donna Oxley said: “We would welcome anyone who would like to add their voice to ours. If you enjoy singing, why not come along and try it out for yourself? There is no audition and you won’t be tested in any way. Our rehearsals have a friendly, informal atmosphere and the concerts are always great fun.”

To find out more about Crawley Concordia Singers, visit their website, find them on Facebook or call 07790 863229.