Alan Hazeldine

5 July 1948 - 10 November 2008

We have received many lovely tributes and messages of sympathy following the sad loss of our Musical Director Alan Hazeldine on 10th November 2008. Below are messages that people have sent. If you would like to leave a message here, please contact us.

Thank you to everybody for all your kind thoughts.

Alan's funeral service took place at St. James's Church, Muswell Hill on Friday 21st November 2008.

John Cockell

I was privileged to play under Alan's direction in the CCO cello section, from 1998 until 2002 (with a break in between). I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing from the CCO website, and wanted to add my own appreciation of him. Alan was simply the best conductor I have ever experienced, in the all-round manner that so many have spoken of in these remembrances. He was of course an outstanding musician, and able to communicate his vision of how the orchestra should sound in an imaginative, often humorous but always deeply credible manner. His conducting technique was one that I quickly came to appreciate and in the many years since that I have lived and worked in other cities where I could watch top-shelf orchestras in concert, I have often wondered "how can they follow where the beat is, the way that conductor is flailing about?" - Alan taught us about the music but also about the technical side of how the orchestral sound comes together. It was the best, most educational, most musically-satisfying, but also the most human and collaborative orchestra I have ever played in. I was transported back to so many concerts and rehearsals reading these posts from others. I too remember well the "this is not a democracy" admonition, in my case when I had the temerity to suggest that the rhythm in some section we were working on of the Rodrigo guitar concerto was not quite right. And I too earned a quick look of death by crashing in alone during a rest in the middle of the climax of the Shostakovich piano concerto - in concert! But as so many have said, at the pub round the corner later on, over a pint all was so much beer under the bridge and Alan never bore any grudges. In truth, he gave so much more to the effort, inspiring us to think more deeply about the music, to be more insightful about its inner workings - I recall this in particular with his mini-lectures in rehearsal on how to play Mozart correctly, which I will forever remember as one of the great highlights of working with Alan. Another great phrase of his that has stuck with me is how - upon waving a halt to our efforts on some passage or other, if we were a little slow in stopping our sawing/blowing/banging - he would say in that fantastic burr of his "all right, back in the box, back in the box". So much to say, so many great memories. It was really a true high point of my musical life to have been in the CCO with Alan, and when I left London in late 2002 one of my deepest regrets was that I would have to leave CCO - and sure enough, I have not found a better way to make music since. When I was sharing a beer with Alan after the last concert I played with CCO, he was kind enough to say that my departure would be a bit of a blow to the cello section, and said "you will be missed". Well, I am sure I was not really missed to that extent. But I am sure as can be, that to this day, Alan is missed deeply by the CCO and by us all who have been so lucky as to have had our music-making touched by him. And when I "drop off the twig" myself some day, I will be sure to go looking for Alan up in heaven, where I am sure he has already established a new orchestra up there for wayward players in need of a great conductor to sort them out.
Until that day, I will hold dear the memories of my time in CCO with Alan. Thanks, Alan - for everything.

Hywel Jones

Alan probably knew he was a great musician and conductor, but I don't think he ever really believed it or knew how much we appreciated him. We did. He would believe us now, if he knew of our difficulties in finding his successor and how much we miss him.

Jo Bucknole

I am not a musician, although it was through this medium that I met Alan.

I cannot claim that I knew him very well but what I did know was appealing, attractive, intelligent, cultured and perhaps most important, witty.

Alan could make me laugh and we seemed to share a particular way of visualising the world and human experience.

He once was brave enough to ride pillion when we went to the cinema on my motor bike. Fearing greatly for the potential damage to his hands should we come off, I asked him to make sure he wore a stout pair of gloves.

When I came to collect him he put on the helmet then solemnly produced a pair of red boxing gloves. I would defy any car driver to claim that he did not see us with Alan giving hand signals.

The world will be a little emptier without him.


Hamish Norbrook

Dominique and I joined the Hill Singers in time for their first concert, remaining with them, after the change of name to North London Chorus, until we left for Wimbledon. Alan was an inspirational conductor. He accepted that we were amateurs - but expected us to perform to the limit of our ability - 100%, if not more. One of his own stories was how, as a boy, the child attending piano lessons before him always seemed to have an easy time, whereas the teacher was always demanding much more of Alan. The teacher had recognised his talent, and was pushing him - into what became a career as a professional. We may not have been professional singers, but I am glad that Alan paid us the compliment of treating us as though we were.

Hamish Norbrook

Helen Cannell

Alan was my general musicianship teacher when I first studied singing on the A.G.S.M course at the Guildhall, when I was 19. He also gave me my first experiences singing in staged performances in two operas Cherubino and Berta in Barbiere outside of college. His trust that I could do them at quite a young age helped my confidence and gave me much needed early experience of being part of a team creating an opera. He always valued the singer and afforded them the opportunity of giving feedback and incorporating their ideas.Very rare!
Alan had a dry sense of humour and made the rehearsals and performances fun and one also felt his relaxed presence in the pit or in the rehearsal rooms.
I am very sad to hear he has died so young and would like to pay tribute to the help he gave me.

Bryan Kesselman

There follows a brief email correspondance I had with Alan in 2008.

Dear Alan,
I came across your website by chance, and I thought I would let you know how interesting and useful I think it is. You may not remember me, but you taught me in a 'general musicianship' class at the Guildhall from 1977-80. I remember the lessons that you devoted to conducting, and they have served me very well over the years as a model for keeping my conducting clear and simple. I have been working as a professional singer, composer and music/singing teacher since then, and frequently need to conduct at various concerts.
I hope you are keeping well.
Best wishes,
Bryan Kesselman

Dear Bryan,
Thanks for that. I wrote that out a long time ago and expanded into an article for Classical Music but it got thunderous silence as response at the time. I hope it has helped some folk along the way though, if only by provoking thought.
I no longer teach, either at the Guildhall or much privately either. I got diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004 and have been putting up a merry fight ever since. I am currently having my fourth round of radio therapy and am hopeful of bouncing back - yet again. I hope I do as I am down to conduct a birthday concert and Cancer Research oncert on July. It would be embarrassing, if not a little difficult to do this if I was dead so I suppose I had just better stay alive.



Charlie Mawer

I am Alan's cousin from Glasgow.

I attended the concert on Saturday 31 January and the party that followed to celebrate Alan's life. I was personally invited by Alan on condition that I didn't 'fall off the twig', as he put it, before him.

As you probably know, Alan was a bit fey, very much like his father before him who had it in spades as I know only too well. So I suspect Alan was with us somewhere on Saturday, making sure that we really enjoyed ourselves the way he wanted us to.

The members of his family would like to thank all those who looked after Alan, particularly in his last four years but also took him into their orchestral and choral families long before then. It is obvious to us how much he was loved by so many of his North London family. I have no real knowledge of the Bulgarian connection, but from what I've been told, it was the same. You just have to look at the internet to see what I mean.

As I have said before, I had no idea how into Robert Burns Alan was. This last week has been fairly hectic for me, playing at a number of suppers. These range from the douce ladies circles (with IRN BRU to drink) to the notorious Glasgow Police dos.

It was at one of these that I was asked to accompany a Mod Gold Medallist who sang his songs in the Gaelic. At the end of these I was approached by an at that time well known Police Super. who lurched against the piano and asked me how (expletives deleted) on earth I'd managed to follow that guy singing in Gaelic. 'Och', I replied, 'it was easy, I just translated the music into Gaelic'. He tottered away quite happily, heading as fast as he could to the toilets.

I may say in closing that since I have met and talked to and indeed been made part of the family of Alan's friends in London, I have been so happy that he had his London families to care for him.

Thank you all.

Nick Evans-Pughe

Playing with the Corinthian Chamber Orchestra (1994-2001) ranks as one of the highlights of my 20 year career, not just for the enjoyable and often accomplished performances, outstanding soloists, wonderful repertoire and the like, but also because of the privilege of working alongside Alan, a true musician and compassionate (and passionate) human being. I am truly sad that I missed his funeral (my fault for not staying in touch after moving away from London) so this will have to serve as my tribute to a fondly remembered friend and colleague. He will be missed, no doubt, by many in the orchestra, former pupils and colleagues and many friends beyond but each of us carries something of his musical excellence with us as a testimony to his life. Thanks Alan and may you rest in peace.

Jill Bailey

Alan, you were an inspiration. It was a privilege to play for you!

So-Ock Kim

Alan, you will be dearly missed. You were always so kind to me, it was wonderful to have known and worked with you. I will remember our performances together with great fondness. Rest in peace.