Posted: 23 February 2009
On 11th February 2009, the Trustees of the Alan Bush Music Trust, hosted a party to celebrate the unveiling of the portrait bust of Alan Bush by the late Ian Walters in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall at the Royal Academy of Music, London. Several Patrons of the Trust attended, notably, Dr. Timothy Bowers, Professor Edward Gregson and Dr. Anthony Payne. The Trust had invited supporters who had contributed to the successful appeal to raise the necessary funds to enable the Trust to purchase the bust to a party to celebrate its unveiling at the Royal Academy of Music. Members of staff of the Royal Academy of Music and friends and relatives of the late Ian Walters, which included the widow of Ian Walters, Mrs Yolande Sheppard-Walters, also attended. All the Trustees were there. In all, there were around eighty guests.
|Bust of Alan Bush by Ian Walters|
Professor Marc Racz, Deputy Principal of the Royal Academy, who provided the continuity for the evening, spoke first about Alan Bush's long association with the Royal Academy, as a student for three years from 1918 and later as Professor of Composition from 1925. Alan Bush held this position with two short breaks, while studying in Germany from 1929-1931 and during his military service in the Second World War, until his retirement in 1975.
Professor Marc Racz then introduced the speakers. Firstly, Dr. Rachel O'Higgins, Honorary Secretary, expressed her thanks for the many people that had made the event possible. She thanked Mrs Yolande Sheppard Walters, the widow of Ian Walters, who, in May 2007, had informed Rachel O'Higgins and her late husband, Professor Paul O'Higgins, that the bust still existed and was responsible for having the bronze portrait bust made for the Trust. Rachel O'Higgins thanked the Royal Academy of Music for agreeing to install and house the bust for the next few years in such a splendid venue, and finally, she thanked the supporters who had responded so generously to our appeal. She added that it was almost entirely due to the efforts of our late Treasurer, Professor Paul O'Higgins, that the Trust was so successful in raising the money it needed to purchase the bust. She concluded with a message of greeting from our Patron, Dr. Ronald Stevenson, who was unable to attend the party.
Next, Dr Tim Bowers, now Head of Undergraduate Programmes at the Royal Academy, spoke movingly about Alan Bush both as a musician and a teacher and the contribution he made to the life of the Academy. He also added that Alan Bush was also a very kind man, who took enormous personal interest in his students and how they progressed both during their years of study at the Academy and after they left. There were several past students attending the Party; these included Dr. Tim Bowers, Philip Pilkington, Andonis Violaris, Nicholas Walker and Professor Edward Gregson, who retired as Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music in July 2008. While Professor Gregson was Principal of the Royal Northern College, he actively promoted Alan Bush's life and music and he continues to prove active support for the Trust.
The third speaker, Howard Baker, a friend and colleague of Ian Walters, spoke very movingly about his long friendship with the sculptor. He said that it was as a result of viewing the portrait bust of Alan Bush by Ian Walters, created in the early 1980s, that he came to learn about Alan Bush.
Finally Clare Lubrano, a Trustee, gave a short message of greeting from her father, Michael Hinson, Editor of Clarion, who was unable to be at the Party.
Following the speeches, we had a recital from Nicholas Walker, who played two piano pieces by Alan Bush, Nocturne, op. 46 (1956) and Corentyne Kwe-Kwe, op.75 (1972). He performed both pieces extremely well and was warmly applauded. Corentyne Kwe-Kwe is an exhilarating piece based on early African dance rhythms, which Alan Bush first encountered in British Guiana, while researching for his third opera, The Sugar Reapers. Nicholas Walker's recital was a high spot in the evening.
The guests were then invited to partake of wine and refreshments. They were also encouraged to view the sculpture in the adjoining room. Everyone who saw it thought it was a very fine piece of work, which captures all the features which every one remembers about Alan Bush in his eighties. It also captures Alan's characteristic gesture as a pianist.
Members of the public can view The Alan Bush Portrait Bust at any time when the Royal Academy of Music is open.
The evening was a great success and enjoyed by everyone who attended.
Unveiling Party Photos