Monthly talk

It has become a tradition at Beccles U3A for the monthly meeting to be followed by a Guest Speaker. As you will see from the list below, the subjects are very varied. With topics ranging from a personal story of climbing Mount Everest to the incredible story of the 25-year strike at our local Burston School, they are not to be missed.

The monthly talk takes place immediately after the Monthly Meeting on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 10.30 at Beccles Public Hall.


Wed 19th September 2018:- Adrian Brown Conducting the music - Waveney Sinfonia

Adrian Brown is a British conductor with an outstanding national and international reputation. Adrian was an enthusiastic presenter who couldn’t help but convey his passion for music and we were all fascinated to hear him talk about his life as a conductor at the September U3A meeting.

Adrian was educated at Northgate Grammar School for Boys in Ipswich, Suffolk, and was a pupil of the conductor Sir Adrian Boult. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music in London, he studied intensively with Sir Adrian for some years. He remains the only British conductor to have reached the finals of the Herbert von Karajan International Conducting Competition in Berlin; in fact, the Berlin Philharmonic was the first professional orchestra he conducted. He hailed from a musical family and his mother said that she thought he had been vaccinated with a gramophone needle. He has a tenor voice and also plays the violin.

In 1972 Adrian was appointed Music Director of Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra, a position from which he stood down in March 2013 after 40 years. In honour of this, a Celebratory Concert was held in Cadogan Hall. It is felt he has made a considerable contribution to the musical education of numerous youngsters over a long period. Working with young musicians has also been an area where Adrian Brown has made a valuable contribution to British musical life, as well as in Europe, Japan and the Philippines. He has frequently conducted both the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, working closely with Sir Colin Davis and Sir Roger Norrington) and the National Youth Wind Orchestra.

The following are just a few of his achievements:

  • In 1989 he received the Novello Award for Youth Orchestras at the Edinburgh Festival, where he was conducting the Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra. He has been a regular chairman of the jury for the National Association of Youth Orchestras' Conducting Competition, and in 2005 he was invited to join the panel of jury members for Music for Youth
  • In 1992, Brown went to Russia to conduct the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
  • In 1996 he went to Japan to work with the Toyama Toho Academy Orchestra
  • In 1998 Sir Roger Norrington invited Brown to conduct the Camerata Salzburg
  • In 2009 he conducted the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra in Vilnius.
  • In addition to the many overseas orchestras that Brown has worked with, he has also conducted many British orchestras, including the City of Birmingham Symphony, the BBC Symphony, the BBC Scottish Symphony and the London Sinfonietta
  • In June 2002 Brown was one of a hundred musicians who were presented with an award by Classic FM at their Tenth Birthday Honours Celebration.
  • He has performed in front of the Queen Mother

Adrian now has a repertoire of around 1,000 pieces of music. His next concert is with the Waveney Sinfoinia Musical Society. This was formed in 1978 and was the brainchild of Richard Featherstone and Adrian has been with the Society since its formation. The aim of this Society is to provide an opportunity for local young people to play with more mature musicians in an orchestra under a professional baton. The orchestra is based in Lowestoft and performs three times yearly (October, January and May).

Details of the next concert are:

Saturday 6th October 2018 @ 7.30pm
Trinity Methodist Church, Lowestoft
Conductor: Adrian Brown
Leaders: David Adelson and Liz Skinner

Beethoven Overture - King Stephen
Dvořák Violin Concerto
Soloist: Charlotte Rowan
Mendelssohn Symphony No 3 "Scottish"

Thank you Vicki John for writing this report

Wed 17th October 2018:- Cathy Small Protecting against Fraud

Wed 21 November 2018:- Richard Hughes from the Assembly House in Norwich - A Career in the Hospitality Industry

Wed 19 December 2018:- Christmas Meeting

Wed 16 January 2019:- Dr Stephen Ashworth Lasers - how they work

Wed 20 February 2019:- Graham Higgins Tales from the Bench - a magistrate reviews his work

Wed 20 March 2019:- Sally Dearman Women CAN fly - a female pilot talks of her experiences#

Review Past Monthly Talks