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Douglas Coombes

Douglas Coombes was Vivace's second Musical Director.

Douglas worked for 20 years at the BBC as a music producer, mainly in BBC Education, writing, producing and frequently broadcasting such programmes as "Singing Together" and "Time and Tune," where he regularly enjoyed audiences of 2 million listeners weekly. He also worked on "Song Tree," "Guitar School," "Musicianship", "Recorder Club," "The Orchestra," "Masterworks" and "Country Dancing." Later, as a freelance musician, he founded "The New English Concert Orchestra," and the "National Junior Music Club."

Since 1988, combined with workshops for young people and often working with his wife, the soprano Carole Lindsay-Douglas, he has averaged around 200 performances a year. With his wife, he travels widely in Great Britain and Europe, works regularly in the USA and has worked twice in Hong Kong. In April 1999 he was in South Korea conducting choirs and directing a teachers' course.

Douglas has produced many musical works for for children, The Legend of the Firebird and Zalzabar have so far received well over 2000 performances each. In May 1997 he conducted what is thought to have been the largest children's choir ever assembled, 5000 voices, taking part in the BBCTV series, "Songs of Praise," which was held at Everton Football Ground.

Orchestras that Douglas has conducted include "Royal Liverpool Philharmonic," "Scottish Chamber," "BBC Welsh," "London Concert," "Manchester Camerata," "Bournemouth Sinfonietta," "Northern Sinfonia" and "The New English Concert Orchestra."

As a complete contrast, he frequently performed during the 1980s and early 90s a two man show with Johnny Morris of "Animal Magic" fame.

His Mass has received many performances in Britain, France, South Korea and the USA, while a Requiem was premiered in America in 1999. Since then Douglas has been commissioned to write works for a number of USA choirs.

Douglas has conducted a number of operas including La Bohème (Puccini), Hansel and Gretel (Humperdinck), The Marriage (Martinu), The Bartered Bride (Smetana), La Périchole (Offenbach) and Orpheus in the Underworld (Offenbach). Opera companies that he has directed include The Norfolk Opera Players and Kentish Opera. In June 1996 he directed Noye's Fludde (Britten) which was one of the events celebrating the 900th anniversary of the founding of Norwich Cathedral.

During the past few summers, Douglas has conducted the New English Concert Orchestra in open-air concerts held in Hatfield House and other places. He was one of the adjudicators in the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year competition. For recreation, he directs The Amici Singers, a women's choir, which will be making their 7th tour of the USA in 2002.

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