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Craig Lawton

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About Craig

Conductor with Winchester Chamber Orchestra and Conchord Singers. Freelance percussionist and Organist
Public liability insurance of £10 million

Craig Lawton is lively and enthusiastic conductor, freelance organist and percussionist working in the South of England. Firmly believing in the power a musical experience can give someone, he tirelessly bring this passion to rehearsals, concerts and projects. Working with a diverse range and size of ensembles has allowed Craig to develop a large repertoire, none-more so than the concerto and solo repertoire. Empathising with the importance and difficulty in getting solo work with ensembles, Craig seeks to give musicians an opportunity where he can. This was developed with Mary Mehuin from the Kent International Piano Courses, giving young people concerto opportunities with the Winchester Chamber Orchestra. Craig made his professional conducting debut in Europe with the Ostfold Symphony Orchestra in Norway. Continuing to enjoy podium time in France, Berlin, Bulgaria and Italy. Studying organ with Sarah Baldock at the University of Southampton, Craig has remained an active organist, appearing as organ soloist in Poulenc’s Concerto in G minor, and numerous performances of Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony. He plays weekly services as Director of Music at Christ Church Freemantle and occasionally gives organ recitals. In conjunction with a busy conducting schedule, Craig makes time for charitable music projects, something incredibly important to him. In 2016 he was approached to spearhead the “Oncology Choir” a choir formed of staff from the University Hospital Southampton’s Oncology department to fundraise for the revolutionary new ‘Centre for Cancer Immunology’ in Southampton. This passion for fundraising through music is shared and brought to fruition with friend and colleague Paul Ingram. Between them, the dynamic duo have undertaken three epic musical marathons for Comic Relief; Haydathon (2009) and Beethovathon (2015); performing all symphonies by the two heavyweight composers and Orchestral Decathlon (2017). Craig has continued to develop his skills with Jason Lai, and most recently, in Berlin with Prof. Colin Metters (RAM). He initially studied with Dr John Traill and later at the University of Southampton with Robin Browning.

Performance details
I have a car I can use to travel to gigs
Classical, Film / TV music, Classical crossover, Christmas, Contemporary Christian, Traditional church music, Baroque, Fanfare, Musical theatre
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Event types:
Church service, Wedding, Funeral / Memorial service, Cruise
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Other skills:
Orchestrator, Arranger, Fluent sight-reader, Fluent improviser, Repetiteur, Community music worker, Accompanist
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Customer questions

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

Timings for events can often change. If this happens just let me know at the earliest opportunity so I can work with it. I always aim to be flexible so things can run smoothly for you.

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?

This is not something I would usually do. For weddings and funerals if you are using an iPod/CD for any music this must be provided by you and the tracks checked in advance.

How much time do you need to set up?

If I'm playing in a church or crematorium that I'm not familiar with around 30mins beforehand should suffice. For timpani and percussion concerts I usually aim for 45-60mins set up time.

Can I pick the pieces you play from the set list?

For weddings and funerals I have a list of appropriate works which you can choose from. However, I am always happy to discuss what you are looking for to ensure the atmosphere and sentiment for your event is fulfilled.

Do you bring all the equipment you need to perform?

For weddings and funerals in churches I would usually use the in house instruments. For timpani I have access to and can transport 3 hand tuned and 2 pedal instruments

Can you learn specific pieces before the event?

If there is a piece which is not in my repertoire that is of importance to you there is a chance I will know it and be able to perform. If a piece needs to be specially arranged for the organ or piano there is a fee of £35 to take in additional preparation and rehearsal time

What do your clients love most about your performances?

Talking about what I'm doing! When conducting or giving recitals I like to talk and introduce the works we are performing and let them know what the journey to the concert has been like. This helps breaks down barriers and shows a different side to the job.

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

I have performed in many of the churches in Southampton in addition to the Turner Sims, O2 Guildhall, Thornden Hall. Nationally I have performed in the Colston Hall, Bristol; Queen Elizabeth Hall; Royal Albert Hall, Merton Abbey Mills, London

Which artists have you been most influenced by?

So many of the great conductors; Klemperer, Bernstein, Tennstedt

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

Performing to a sell out Romsey Abbey in 2016 conducting Richard Strauss' An Alpine Symphony


Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£35
Up to 1 hour£160
Up to 2 hours£180
Up to 3 hours£200