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Our Music Director - John Forsyth FRSA MBE

John was formerly County Music Adviser for Cleveland; Head of the County Music Service, West Sussex; Regional Director o​f Music, Berkshire; and Director of Music and Performing Arts, St Aidan’s School, Harrogate. He studied classical guitar with John Williams and Julian Bream and gained an MA (Distinction) from Leeds University and Performer's Diplomas in both Violin and Classical Guitar.

Throughout this period he taught violin and guitar and performed with groups such as The Aulos Ensemble, Yorkshire Camerata and The London Contemporary Dance Theatre Ensemble. He established and conducted Harrogate Pro Musica and The Cavalli Singers and sang professionally with The White Rose Consort and The Mastersingers. He has acted as Choral Director at music festivals in Norway and Strasbourg, Choral Fellow at Oregon State University, Guest Lecturer at the European Guitar Teachers' Summer Conference and Musical Director at BBC Music Live Weekends.

John has been a consultant for The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain; a course leader and mentor for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Professional Development programme; an Ofsted Inspector; and a Lecturer in Primary Music Education, Durham University.

In 1992 he established the Tees Valley Youth Choir, which performed in some of the finest venues in Europe, including Venice, Hungary and Spain, and was runner-up in the 2006 BBC Choir of the Year.




John has initiated two other choirs: Locomotion, a Darlington-based boys’ choir, and Vox, for young Teesside adults. Both continue to thrive. In 2010 he founded the North East Youth Chorale, who performed and recorded Elijah in the 2011 Proms with the Gabrieli Ensemble under Paul McCreesh, and in 2013 joined Chetham’s School Chamber Choir and the Gabrielis in a recording of War Requiem. In 2012 John’s opera for young people, The Kingfisher’s Tale, received universal acclaim following its premiere.

Since 2012 John has developed his guitar recital/accompanying programme, including with the sopranos Rowan Pierce and Suzi Saperia.

In October 2021, John added a new venture to his musical life when he was appointed Musical Director of Durham University Choral Society. He continues to be CPC’s Music Director, a position he has held with distinction since 1999. In 2006, he was invited to be a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; in 2009 received the Mayor of Middlesbrough’s Award in recognition of his services to music regionally and nationally; and in 2011 was made an MBE.

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