We are a group of friendly, enthusiastic musicians based in East Finchley, North London. Founded in 1998 by Stephen Kersley and Stuart Allen (SWON’s conductor at the time) with a start-up grant from Barnet Council, we have now been producing varied and exciting music for two decades for the interest and enjoyment of the local community. Our current membership comprises around 50 musicians and our musical director and conductor is Christopher Braime.
We rehearse on Wednesday evenings 7.45pm-9.45pm at Martin Primary School in East Finchley. We have three terms per year with a concert at the end of each term. Our current concert venue is St. Martin’s Church, Gospel Oak.
Aside from our principal concerts, we also regularly take part in festivals and joint concerts with other ensembles. We have taken part in the National Concert Band Festival, in which we earned gold awards for three years running in 2014, 2015 and 2016. We have also been fortunate to enjoy working closely with other wind orchestras and choirs from London, Italy, and Liverpool.
Aside from performing regularly in North London, we enjoy taking our music further afield. Past tours have included concerts in Antwerp in 2007, Reims in 2013, Liverpool in July 2017 and Poole/Bournemouth in June 2018.
SWON is keen to nurture young composing talent, and as such we held a ‘Young Composers’ Competition’ in 2013. We were rewarded with three outstanding pieces of repertoire that formed the backbone of our 2015/16 concert season.https://canadian-pharmacy24-7.com
We are committed to producing high quality and enjoyable performances both for our members and the local community, whilst being accessible to all who wish to be involved.
About Our Musical Director
We are delighted to welcome Dwight Pile-Gray as our new Musical Director from October 2021.
Dwight began playing the French Horn at the age of 12. He took a performance degree at Trinity College of Music, where he received tuition from some of the country’s finest horn tutors, and where he also studied conducting with Peter Stark and Gregory Rose. During this time Dwight performed with the Junge Europe Philharmonie in Germany, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. He also played with several opera companies at home and abroad and was a member of numerous ensembles, including a brass quintet, a woodwind quintet, and a horn, violin and piano trio.
On completion of his degree in 2005, Dwight joined the Corps of Army Music and, after graduating from the Royal Military School of Music, took up his first post with the Band of the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. After five years with the Band of the Scots Guards from 2012 he now serves with the Band of the Grenadier Guards whilst pursuing a varied freelance career performing, teaching, and playing in recitals with his ensemble the Apollo Wind Quintet.
Dwight is a member of Chineke, the first BAME orchestra in Europe, and has performed with them all over the country including the BBC Proms. He has worked with the BBC on a few collaborations including on the Great British Orchestra challenge and worked with BBC Radio 3 as a consultant for music of Black composers. As well as being a horn teacher he is also now in demand as an adjudicator of music competitions. Dwight also lectures at the London College of Music teaching conducting to undergraduates and modules to postgraduates including ensemble direction alongside studying for his PhD.
In February he was awarded an AHRC/BBC Fellowship. This joint funding award is to carry out research to contribute to the BBC’s Celebrating classical composers from diverse ethnic backgrounds. The studies will help inform performances and broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 by the BBC Orchestras including a special concert in 2022 that will showcase works of the composers featured in the research.
Dwight is equally at home with symphonic wind band and orchestral repertoire. He is one of two conductors for the St Giles Orchestra in Oxford as well as being the conductor of The Old Barn Orchestral Society in Maidstone, Kent. Previously he was the Musical Director of the Chalfont Wind Band in Buckinghamshire from 2010 to 2019.