Europe's longest serving orchestra leader to give farewell concert in Dewsbury

The Leader of the Orchestra of Opera North says he is looking forward to performing some hand-picked repertoire at a special farewell concert at Dewsbury Town Hall next month.

By Dominic Brown
Sunday, 27th February 2022, 11:30 am
David Greed, Leader of the Orchestra of Opera North. Photo by Justin Slee
David Greed, Leader of the Orchestra of Opera North. Photo by Justin Slee

David Greed, who has been the Leader of the Orchestra of Opera North since its inception in 1978, is bowing out after 44 years in post.

In celebration of his long relationship with audiences in Kirklees, David will be joined by friends and colleagues for music and reminiscence in a lunchtime farewell concert at Dewsbury Town Hall on March 16.

David, who is the longest-serving orchestra leader in Europe, said: “My history with Dewsbury is almost as long as my time at Opera North. It’s another thing that I’m really going to miss.

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David Greed with the Opera North String Quartet at Huddersfield Town Hall. Photo by Justin Slee

"In the mid-80s a Dewsbury concert series was set up by the Kirklees music officer, the late Aidan Plender, and for the first few years almost every concert was me and a group called Capricci.

"We started in a modest room that held 50 or 60, but eventually the crowds built so we had to move into the main hall, which was a major triumph.

“I think that the Dewsbury Lunchtimes have grown into quite a unique series and a bit of a leading light nationally.

"It’s a lovely hall with great acoustic, and it’s been such a varied journey with piano and chamber recitals, our café band and bigger ensembles.

"The reception is always so warm and friendly, and there are faces among the audience that I’ve known for years.

"When you walk out on the stage and say 'Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen', and they come straight back with 'Good afternoon, David!' you know you’re onto a winner!

“The brilliant Keith Swallow, Colne Valley Male Voice Choir’s principal pianist for over 60 years, will be returning at the age of 91 to join us for this concert.

"He and I will play the last movement of Franck’s Violin Sonata, and he’ll perform a movement from Debussy’s Petite Suite with my friend and former Opera North colleague, Tony Kraus.

"From the orchestra, Jess Burroughs (section leader cello), David Aspin (principal viola) and I will play a movement from Brahms’ Piano Quartet with Tony; another good friend and collaborator, the soprano Bibi Heal, will sing a Mozart concert aria and a lovely Strauss song called Morgen; and there’ll be some Beethoven.

"It’ll be a real mix, with a bit of chat about my days with the Dewsbury lunchtime crowd.”

After this heartfelt farewell, David’s attention will turn to his final performances with Opera North: Parsifal, Wagner’s epic opera telling the story of the quest for the Holy Grail.

“I just think that our Ring Cycle was the most amazing thing, and I can’t wait to hear that huge orchestra again under Richard Farnes,” David said.

“It’s really a treat to work for him, and I think – partly through his own choice – that he’s one of this country’s best kept secrets.

"I wanted to do something really big with the company one more time. It seems the most fantastic thing to do as a last opera.”

Tickets for the Kirklees Concert Season and Opera North’s Parsifal are available from operanorth.co.uk