Geraldine Green (maiden name Denny)

Geraldine Green – Photo by Marge Bradshaw

I was born in Belfast in 1967. My interest in music was awakened when I was 7 years old, during a holiday when my parents and I (I have no siblings) stayed in a guesthouse near Dublin, run by a family of musicians, which included the composer John Dunn. Inspired by the wonderful flute playing of the teenage daughter, I immediately began learning the recorder, with the help of my father. My father was not a musician, but he was the kind of natural student who could turn his hand to learning almost anything, and together we both learned to play the recorder from tutor books at home. I never looked back. I was completely smitten by music. When I was about 9 years old a wind quintet visited my primary school to give us a concert. This was an extremely rare treat. What was that gorgeous long, black instrument with the bell and silver keys which oozed forth the most heavenly, rich, oily sounds I’d ever heard? I was so entranced by it that I cannot remember the other four instruments in the group. Ah, the clarinet! Thus, I then plagued my poor parents incessantly for a clarinet. But, being the shrewd people that they are, they made me prove it was no fad by insisting I study recorder for another year first. This I gladly did, and then they kept their promise and bought me a clarinet. I was so happy I felt giddy!
All through my teens I worked as hard as possible, studying the clarinet and piano at the Belfast School of Music, and completing all the usual grade exams. I even loved scales! Yes, I found it a great releasing of tension after a hideous day at school to take my frustrations out on the poor scales by whizzing up and down them as loud and fast as was sanely possible. My poor parents – they were saints to tolerate the racket without complaint!
Now, during all these early years my head was constantly filling up with music that I knew was not anyone else’s. All I was aware of was an enormous, urgent, internal drive to get it down on paper. And fast! I did not even know at this tender age that this was in fact the beginnings of composition. Composers, to me back then, were long dead geniuses like Beethoven and Mozart. I actually didn’t care what it was called; I just got to work, writing many little piano pieces and hundreds of single line melodies that just kept flying into my head every day, demanding to be instantly written down. It filled me with wild energy and excitement every time I was at work on a piece (no matter how small or insignificant) and it quickly became an addiction. Every time something happened to me, whether exciting, upsetting or just ordinary, everyday events I had to write, at the very least, a tune to express it. I still do this now. With the constant listening to the great works of Richard Strauss, Mahler, Beethoven and Haydn, this drive soon became one to write orchestral music. Now there’s a hefty challenge for you, I thought, how the heck do I write all this mish-mash down? I spent years (and still do) hungrily studying the orchestral scores of the great masters, learning how orchestral sounds were translated into written music. It is a lifelong journey which never ends, I can tell you!
So, when I was nineteen I finally made it into the London College of Music – a dream-come-true. There I spent 3 years on the GLCM degree course, specializing in clarinet with David Campbell and piano with Renalda Mackie. At this stage composition was still the hidden light under the bushel. I was shy about it and found it rather difficult to talk much about it back then. However, despite the piano and clarinet being very much dominant, the urge to write would not remain suppressed and it began to seep out. I just kept on quietly writing in my non-existent spare time and was lucky enough at college to have a few orchestral pieces tried out by the college orchestra. While they were not played to performance standard, it was enough to help me realize that I must pursue this further. My harmony tutor, Michael Regan, and John McCabe, the college director, both gave me great help and encouragement in orchestration, which I am still grateful for to this day. So, my post graduate year was spent on a wonderful Diploma course in writing film music, under Francis Shaw. I adored this course and learned a huge amount. It was invaluable having unique opportunities to have my music expertly played and recorded. It was thrilling beyond belief, and after it there was no stopping me.
Throughout the 1990s, when I left college, I wrote constantly and was lucky enough to have very good musician friends who played and recorded much of the music. I received some commissions also and worked on these with excitement and relish. I also taught clarinet and piano at Ibstock Place School in Roehampton and this was a wonderful position which lent me marvelous opportunities to orchestrate and arrange music for the school band, orchestra and choir. I also met many great people there, a few of whom I’m still friends with today. I enjoyed years of exciting freelance clarinet playing in a wide range of events from shows, weddings, chamber music and orchestral concerts, some of it extending as far as Birmingham.
But sometimes life takes unusual turns. In July 1996 I went to work as a brewer of beer with The Firkin Brewery! Looking back now, I realise that in some bizarre and twisted way, my music needed me to make this change in order for it to actually grow and mature. I didn’t know that back then though, and it really did feel a very odd thing to do. But I went with my instincts, and ended up loving the new job. And indeed, I met Bob, who would one day become my husband! Bob played fantastic folk guitar. Bingo! Out came my penny whistle and, together with the fine, good ale we brewed, we embarked on a fabulous life of Traditional Irish Folk Music. This led us to meet many folk musicians and for years we played in pub sessions, concerts and ceilidhs all over the UK and Ireland. Needless to say I wrote folk tunes nineteen to the dozen, which we played along with the usual traditional session music.
In 2000, after sadly being made redundant from the Firkin Brewery we moved to Manchester where we soon got married and started our family. Bob retrained into IT and is now a highly skilled Network Manager. We had 2 beautiful children, Megan (now 18) and Edward (called after Edward Elgar and now 16). I stayed at home with them until they started school, while at the same time still practising and continuing to write music, both classical and folk. And that takes us up to where I am now.  I’m  back into the music life again for real. I currently play clarinet/Bass clarinet/Eflat clarinet with the Bolton Symphony Orchestra and cello with the Bolton Chamber Orchestra, and am also teaching part-time clarinet/piano/ whistle to both adults and children.  Fancy a good tune? Well, you’ve come to the right place – the kettle’s on!

10 Responses to “About”

  • Hallo Geraldine,
    It might be of interest for you to know that some of your compositions will be perform in münster NRW on the 22.6.im the Ev. Markus church Münster.
    Viele grüße aus den Münsterland
    Matt Walsh

    • Dear Matt,

      My sincere apologies for not responding to your kind message of telling me about some performances. Due to family circumstances I have been neglecting my website lately and been a bit out of touch, but from now on I will be more active on my website. There have been some lovely messages from people who are enjoying and playing my music and I really appreciate that. Thank you very much for taking the time to inform me. I would be very interested to know which pieces they were, but I understand that nearly a year has passed by now, so don’t worry. Thanks again, Matt, I appreciate your message. All the best to you.

  • Hi Geraldine and Pearl, it was lovely receiving your email there, would you believe I was just tonight going to phone your landline number but I have accidentally erased it, if you could send me your phone number again I will phone during the week. Sounds like you have a jolly household there in horwich!
    Best Wishes, Paula Curran

  • Hi Geraldine and Pearl,it was lovely hearing from you a couple of weeks ago, I have stupidly mislaid the email giving your landline. If you wouldn’t mind sending it again I will phone you, it will be lovely catching up. It sounds like you have jolly household over in Horwich!
    Regards Paula Curran

  • I am so enjoying your music being played on Radio 3 this evening. Not having heard of you my curiosity took me to an online search and I’ve now read your story.

    I am not skilled musically but often turn to R3 when there’s nothing on that interests me on Radio 4 and thankfully that’s what happened this evening. Sheer delight.

    Best wishes
    Philippa Humphrey

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Philippa, I still haven’t recovered from the shock of being played on Radio 3! My son is dancing around the living room in excitement while I am on the phone to Gary (flautist) in Germany. So glad you enjoyed the performance.

      • I too switched over to Radio 3 from 4 and have loved listening to your engaging piece for flute violin & piano. I do play the flute so it was particularly interesting to listen to – so varied in mood & pace from one movement to the next & I liked the way the instruments blended together. Hope you get some other compositions on the air waves!

        • Thank you for your response Marion. Gary, Matthias and Sebastian play beautifully together. I am so lucky to have them to play my music!

    • Dear Philippa, Thank you very much for your lovely words. Sorry for my delay in replying, I am still in disbelief that my work made it onto Radio 3 and only now getting round to making sure I’ve replied to everyone who has been so kind as to tell me how enjoyable it was. I am a terrible administrator, but I’ll do my best! Music speaks to everyone in its own way so you don’t have to be musically skilled to enjoy it, and I’m so glad you did. Some of the best music in the world has been written by folk who don’t read the dots but who can just play and create it naturally.
      Thanks again and many best wishes.

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