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Crouch End Festival Chorus memorial concert for composer David Bedford

PUBLISHED: 12:00 21 April 2012

David Bedford, composer of

David Bedford, composer of "Twelve Hours of Sunset,"

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The late composer David Bedford was not what you might expect from someone steeped in classical music.

Just as at home listening to Pink Floyd as Pacini, he was a musician who bridged genres long before it was fashionable.

Recalling his first meeting with the composer at The Royal Albert Hall in 1972, David Temple, musical director of the Crouch End Festival Chorus, said: “I didn’t realise that composers were living people, I thought they were all museum relics.

“I expected him to look a bit like a nutty professor but he came in with long hair, a beard, wearing leathers and he had just injured his leg riding a motorbike. He was a real avant-garde composer.”

The Crouch End Festival Chorus is holding a memorial concert in Muswell Hill to celebrate the life and work of Mr Bedford, who died last October after suffering from lung cancer.

They will perform an array of pieces from the composer’s repertoire, as well as songs from bands he admired, including Californian surfer favourites The Beach Boys.

It was another two decades before the pair met each other again, when they began to collaborate on musical arrangements.

“When I started the Crouch End Festival Chorus I thought it would be really good to get in touch with David and tell him how much I admired his music,” said Mr Temple.

“One of the things that interested me about him was that was that his musical tastes were so diverse. He was into Pink Floyd as much as he was Benjamin Britten.

“That was quite novel back then. It was unusual to find somebody who crossed musical genres.”

Mr Bedford was born in Hendon, Barnet, into a family steeped in music.

His grandmother, Liza Lehmann, was a composer, his mother, Lesley Duff, was a singer and worked with Benjamin Britten, and his brother, Steuart, became a regular conductor at Aldeburgh.

Steuart, who lives in Highgate, said: “David had an enormous range of musical interests, you couldn’t pin him down. He loved things from the most simple construction to more complex, what he called ‘plonkety plonk’ music.

“Our family were all very musical dating back to the mid 19th Century and we both gravitated towards to the musical field.

“This concert will be a great celebration of David’s musical talents.”

The memorial concert will take place at St James’s Church in St James’s Lane, Muswell Hill, on Saturday, April 28 from 4pm.

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