About Michael

About Michael

My grandmother on my father’s side is to blame for my love of music. Mercy Tapster was her name and quite an independant woman she was…..Mercy played piano for the silent movies in Canterbury back in the 1920s and, aged four or five, standing next to her as she told the stories and played with her eyes closed, straight from the heart and you could tell. My mum’s dad also is also responsible for me catching the music bug. He played piano and ran a small dance band in Herefordshire, also in the ‘20s. I have a photo of them on stage at New Year’s Eve party, 1922. No music stands – all off by heart!

It’s no surprise then that I have played piano since the age of five, and adore film music and big band music. (My Uncle Tony played Tenor Sax in Victor Sylvester’s band) It was much more fun to play piano for a musical – all the songs and links, even improvise when there was a glitch on stage and they need 30 seconds to fill – music can really bring a show to life.

Enter 1974 stage left. I passed the audition to join the cast for the very first full-length production 
of ’Joseph’, fresh from the pen of Lloyd-Webber and Rice: a 6-week run, two shows a day and rubbing shoulders with the young Jeremy Irons, Alan Rickman and Ben Cross. The amazing cocktail of great songs, stage lights and a powerful band made sure that music would somehow be central in my life.

Performance History

2017             Director of Music for Cirencester Abbey900 celebrations
                     Commission to write choral work using Medieval Cirencester manuscripts
2016             Commission to write song for cancer charity ‘Hope for Tomorrow’
2015-16        Performances of WW1 commissions music in Cheltenham and Stroud 
2015             Commission to write music for Nailsworth Church’s 300th anniversary
2014             Commissions to write music for the Great War commemorations
2014             Pianist for ‘An Evening of Spirituals’ with Tenor Robert Short in Nantwich.
2014             Accompanist for The Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts – 1st place for pupils!
2013             Pianist for The Thames Head Singers and The Stroud Light Music Choir
2011             Directed band to play ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ on the top of the Malvern Hills!
2010             Commission to write choral piece for unveiling of Last Supper painting
2009             Directed choirs at the Arnhem Memorial Service (Down Ampney Church)
2007             Directed school concerts at the Elgar Birthplace
2006-2012    Director, composer/arranger, singer  – Copious Notes
2006-2012    Chairman of the Judges – South West Rotary Young Musician Final    
2000-2010    Musical director for many school musicals (Guys and Dolls, Bugsy Malone, Oliver)
2002-2005    Composed and directed Evensongs at Worcester and Bristol Cathedrals
2000-2012    Organist and Pianist, Director from 2008 (Stroud Baptist Church)
2000-2010    Adjudicator of Music Competitions in many Senior schools
1999-2010    Regular accompanist at Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts
1996             Directed music tour to twin the ‘Water Towns’ of Malvern and Evian
                     Orchestral arranger for Ernest Read Christmas concerts (Festival Hall) 
1994             Director/Conductor – The Downs Community Choir (95 SATB)
                     Arranged Verdi’s Requiem for 2 grand pianos and percussion (Malvern)
                     Founded and directed The Downs Performing Arts Summer School    
1993             Co-conductor Worcester Male Voice Choir. Conducted 400 Welshmen in Worcester
                     Cathedral concert
                     Trained a group of Russian orphans for Richard Stilgoe’s musical premiere ‘Brilliant
                     the Dinosaur’ (Symphony Hall)
1992             Worked with Richard Stilgoe at his music course for the severely disabled (Keswick)
1992             Founder / Director  – Worcestershire Youth Pop Festival
1991             Accompanist – Malvern Suzuki Strings
                     Accompanist for soloists at the Malvern Festival                                   
1989             Performing Arts liaison with five Leicestershire schools to create piece for the
                     Haymarket Theatre        
1988             Created and produced music theatre piece fusing Bhangra and Hip Hop (Phoenix
                     Theatre)
1986             Pianist for London Schools Choir Competition (Royal Festival Hall)
1985-9          Dancer/singer with New English Orchestra – concerts in London and Salzburg
1985             Wrote musical about life of Scott Joplin (‘Great Scott – It’s Joplin!)
                     Performed Hans Werner Henze world premiere of ‘Minotaur’ (Huddersfield
                     Contemporary Music Festival)
1984             Produced ‘Aladdin’ with a cast of 140 – an entire church congregation (Birmingham)
1983             The Soldier in Stravinsky’s ‘Soldier’s Tale’ (Birmingham)
1982-5          Piano studies with Joseph Weingarten at the Birmingham Conservatoire
                      Music, Drama & Dance degree at Birmingham (Nigel Fortune, John Joubert)
1979-81       Musical director/pianist for several musicals (Sweeny Todd, O What a Lovely War)
1977             Started as official music exam accompanist (ABRSM &Trinity)
1974             Six-week opening run of the very first ‘Joseph’ working alongside Jeremy Irons,
                     Alan Rickman & Ben Cross (Leicester Haymarket)
1969             Won a medal (Piano solo) at the Cheltenham Music Festival
1968             Started Piano lessons