A memorial concert dedicated to conductor, producer and Hertfordshire Music Festival Artistic Director Tom Hammond who died unexpectedly at the age of 47 in December 2021 will be held on 30th September at St George’s Church, Hannover Square in London W1.
I first met Tom for a podcast recording in a cafe in Southwark, London close to where he lived. He brought with him a passion for amateur music-making, an infectious enthusiasm for the music of Sibelius, and his mongrel rescue dog Patch.
The levels in the recording are a little on the wild side I now realise listening to it back now, but the passion is there in Hammond’s voice. So too sincerity evident when talking about his area of expertise. What that results in is a direct and positive communication style.
That’s also the memory I have of him. Podcast interviews are effectively a process of listening intently to a complete stranger. So intense is the experience that it can be exhausting. And it often means that I’m left with a lasting impression of someone you only spoke to for 45 minutes.
That’s no accident of our meeting. I think that’s Tom Hammond. That how he was with everyone. That’s why he was a good producer, an advocate, and communicator. That’s why he was well-connected and well-loved.
Little wonder then his untimely death at the age of 47 hit such a wide network of musicians in the way that it did. His death came as a great shock. I heard from a handful of contacts who said as much. A reminder that the network is small and that knowledge, good grace, and enthusiasm go a long way in building a network of contacts.
Organised by a group of Tom’s close friends and colleagues, his memorial concert will include music by Sibelius, Mozart, Nielsen James Francis Brown and Bernard Hughes.
Music by Matthew Taylor (who will also conduct the concert) will also feature. Performers will donate their time for free, with proceeds from ticket sales given the Future Talent and London Music Fund.