Alumni & Friends

Classic FM – 2021 Hall Of Fame: Michael Hurd (1950, Music)

As any of you who listen to Classic FM will know, now is the time of year when the channel invites listeners to vote for their top three pieces of classical music, out of which is compiled the ‘Hall of Fame’ of the top 300 pieces, with the ‘count down’ taking place on Classic FM over the Easter weekend. Can I ask fellow Alumni to consider voting for the Sinfonia Concertante by Pembroke Alumnus, Michael Hurd (1950). If you listen to the short second movement, I hope you will know why. Not only will it bring a beautiful piece of music to wider public attention, it might also raise the profile of the College. Voting is taking place online now at classicfm.com and closes on 14 March.

Michael was originally accepted into the University to study English, but made a late change to study music, becoming thereafter a freelance composer and writer on music until his death in 2006. He was a staunch champion of lesser-known English composers who, without his efforts, might have been forgotten: Ivor Gurney and Gerald Finzi, both ‘outsiders’ in different ways, but both composers of beautiful songs - complementing the finest English poetry. Much-travelled, in the 1990s Michael was an instigator of a (still-continuing) annual Music Festival in Port Fairy, Australia.

He wrote many dramatic works and books on music for school-children, the best-known being Jonah-man Jazz and Hip Hip Horatio, as well as more serious works such as ‘Missa Brevis’, the Shepherd’s Calender’ and (showing his humour) ‘Three Piece Suite’. For those of you who listen to classical music or who want to broaden the interest of your children in this field, the music of Michael Hurd is definitely worth a listen!

Written by Steve Atkinson (1973, PPE), Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board