Stephen R. Clarke, (Chairman), Historic Masters and Trustee of the Stratton Trust, born 1946 and a collector of vocal recordings since 1958 (his collection now augmented by the Stratton Collection), a Canadian and a solicitor resident in Toronto, studied singing in Toronto (a tenor) with Howell Glynne, Elizabeth Benson Guy and Greta Kraus, now attempting to remove the remaining mysteries about what material from the early days of vocal recording actually has survived, and lecturing to voice students at the University of Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company and elsewhere about the vocal tradition as it is evidenced by recordings.

Alan Bilgora (Vice Chairman) studied voice with Robert McGovern, a pupil of Giulio Crimi – a distinguished Italian tenor of the 1920s. Alan was a member of the Toynbee Opera Group, one of the first’ Opera Workshops’ to be established in London and undertook leading tenor roles in works by Verdi, Smetana and Mozart. For almost four decades he was a member of the London Jewish Male Choir, serving as Chorister, Secretary, Vice Chairman and Chairman as well as acting as Soloist-Compere on a number of their visits to Israel, the U.S.A, Germany, and Ireland. He also appeared on television in ‘Chelsea at Eight” and ‘Stars on Sunday’. He has sung in most of the important Synagogues in London and the provinces, frequently supporting guest appearances by the world’s leading Cantors. Alan’s all-abiding passion is collecting original recordings of the great singers of the past, specialising in the tenor voice, but also having a particular interest in artists of Jewish origin. A regular contributor of articles and reviews for the ‘Record Collector’, he compiles sleeve notes and provides original recordings for transfer for record companies, such as EMI, Rubini, Nimbus, Symposium, Naxos and Pearl. He has written a detailed introduction to a book, published in Italy (currently being up-dated) covering Jewish singers who left a recorded legacy. Alan is also Vice Chairman of the London based Recorded Vocal Art Society

Michael Letchford

Past Members:

Roger Beardsley has collected gramophone records from the age of three when presented with a copy the ‘Laughing Policeman’: the fascination with the music and technicalities of recording has never left. A spell at BBC Radio Leeds in the 1970s and early 80s as a presenter and eventually producer of a classical music programme was followed by entry into the business of audio restoration and to date has over 400 CDs to his name. A member of organisations such as The Music Preserved Council and CHARM (Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music), and technical advisor to the music departments of Kings College London and York University, he is now spending more time on preservation of historic recordings in a number of archives.

Stanley Henig (Secretary and Managing Director) has been a collector for more than fifty years. His original interest in recordings of great singers of the past on 78rpm shellac records has extended into collecting printed material on operas and singers dating back into the early nineteenth century. When Historic Masters Ltd was established in 1983 he became the first, and to date, only Secretary – subsequently Managing Director – and is also Secretary of Historic Singers Trust. He has written extensively on opera – sleeve notes for CDs of the great singers of the past, articles for specialist magazines and reviews. He contributed essays to the St James International Dictionary of Opera and was co-author of Enrico Caruso – Recollections and Retrospective. He was a member of the Court, and for a time, Chairman of the Royal Northern College of Music of which he is now an Honorary Member.

 

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