Biography / About Me
Graham was born in London UK but grew up on the edge of Surrey and London in Caterham where he attended a regular state comprehensive school called De Stafford. He had a wonderful class music teacher there, Ms. Francis Dalton, who provided a fertile environment for many music students to honour their ability and grow. Although Graham had begun playing the cello as a primary school student, his ambition to play the church organ drew him to the piano and when he was about 10, he began individual lessons with a fine local organist Mr Harold Milnes. Harold Milnes was himself a pupil of Gustav Holst and recognised in Graham someone to whom music spoke and who would follow it's calling. Aged 13, Graham gained a Junior Exhibitioner's Scholarship to the Royal College of Music (RCM) with piano as his first study. There, his piano teacher for the next four years was Anne McCaw. Similarly, he bid farewell to his wonderful school cello teacher Michael Nebe to study cello at the RCM with the enthusiastic and very supportive William Bruce.
Winning the Royal College of Music's Gordon Turner Memorial Prize (for the most promising 15 or 16 year old) and having gained entrance scholarships to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (GSMD) and The Royal Academy of Music (RAM), Graham began his adult music studies at GSMD in 1982 with joint principal studies - Mary Peppin (piano) and Stefan Popov (cello). In his second year, he elected to make cello a second study and to change his piano teacher to Joan Havill. Joan had a significant influence on Graham's development, opening many doors with her drive and passion in arenas such as literature and psychology as well as music. Sometimes lessons took place at Joan’s home and lasted many hours. There was an unmistakable missionary zeal to her musical insight and long discussions were frequent. Graham graduated in 1985 and won the Guildhall School's Adelaide Alexander Memorial Prize, playing the Liszt second piano concerto.
Working as a temp in various offices eventually enabled Graham to buy a piano and to begin teaching and playing. He soon became head of piano for the London Borough of Camden's Saturday music programme as well as the regular accompanist for instrumentalists, choirs and community music programmes. Looking back, it's clear, these times were as formative as his formal musical education and what followed was a great deal of adventuring and discovery for Graham in finding where and in what form his musicianship would best serve. Film music, theatre music, cabaret and contemporary music all figured in his journeying. Groups like Three's Company (a three person cabaret & theatre show ensemble) and the Hildegard Trio (contemporary music for violin, clarinet and piano) were typical and eventually the broad reach of his skills led to an invitation from Glyndebourne Opera's education department to step in at short notice and M.D. a revival of their "rock" opera "Race the Devil". This in turn led to involvement over 10 years with the Irene Taylor Trust (music in prisons) and also a lucky break as a keyboard player in the Mike Flowers Pops (Christmas No. 2 in the pop charts 1995). Other charitable trusts that employed Graham frequently included Lost Chord (music for people with dementia) and also Create Arts (Ltd). During the earl 2000's, for five years Graham was a director and member of the 6 piano contemporary music ensemble Piano Circus who aside from their concert work were also artists in residence at Brunel University.