Stuart Longley took up the reins of Horsham Harmony in September 2018. He is a versatile musician, teacher, conductor and arranger. He has a broad range of musical interests and over 20 years experience leading ensembles within the youth and community sector.
Stuart grew up in Blackpool, Lancashire. He was a relatively late starter in his music studies, joining his first choir at the age of 14. He took up the saxophone and rapidly progressed, playing in a somewhat surprisingly confident manner in his school jazz band just ten minutes after first picking up the instrument! Soon he was trying his hand at every instrument he set eyes on, raiding the local library of its entire music stock and immersing himself in ensemble music-making of every genre imaginable. Within a year he knew for certain he would make a career in music somehow and that it would be his lifelong passion.
Upon graduating with a music degree from Exeter University he embarked on a four-month internship with the BBC Philharmonic Education Department, working on a major project involving over 6,000 Year 9 students aiming to raise aspirations in areas of social deprivation across North Staffordshire. This ultimately led to his teaching career, initially as a secondary class teacher and since 2001 as an instrumental/vocal teacher and conductor with East Sussex Music, leading whole class instrumental and vocal projects in primary schools
and directing/coaching senior county-level and regional ensembles.
Alongside his teaching career he has undertaken choral, orchestral and wind conducting studies on short courses and masterclasses with, among others, Neil Ferris (BBC Symphony Chorus), Peter Broadbent (Joyful Company of Singers), Peter Stark (RCM) and Mark Heron (RNCM) with further
support from Glyndebourne Education. Formal conducting and guest conducting positions have been held with youth and community orchestras and wind ensembles both in East Sussex and the North West of England, with occasional forays into music theatre (West Side Story, Oh What A Lovely War), collaborative arts projects and music-making of a more commercial nature. He was recently appointed Music Director for a James Bond-themed charity ball in Eastbourne,
complete with 70-piece orchestra, house band of young musicians and singers from the world of cabaret and music theatre, raising over £17,000 for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, supporting children with
As a classical saxophonist he has taken the unusual route of being largely self-taught, supplemented by occasional studies with professors of many of the UK’s leading conservatoires including Gerard McChrystal, John Harle, Rob Buckland and Andrew Tweed. A long-term member of Brighton-based Southern Winds, he has given regular performances of wind chamber music such as Walton’s Facade and the theatre music of Kurt Weill as well as larger wind scores by Hindemith, Schoenberg, Grainger and jazz-inflected works by Milhaud, Stravinsky, Bernstein & Villa Lobos.
Stuart was a principal player with the National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain, appearing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and World Saxophone Congress in Slovenia. He performs as an orchestral saxophonist whenever the rare opportunity arises (enjoying Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Vaughan Williams’ 9th Symphony in particular, as well as works by Gershwin and Prokofiev). He has also occasionally been spotted masquerading as an orchestral percussionist!