PUBLISHED: 09:24 01 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:53 01 October 2019
A St Albans doctor is putting medicine aside to make way for music.
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Julian Godlee with the group he sings with. Picture: Jamie Rickman Photography
Dr Julian Godlee, who works at The Maltings Surgery and is owner of The Hertfordshire Clinic, will be singing in a solo concert at St Albans Cathedral on Saturday, November 9.
The doctor has left the NHS after three decades for classical singing and is looking forward to marking this huge change in style with an evening in the Lady Chapel next month.
He said: “It is a wonderful atmospheric, spiritual place in the centre of St Albans, which has meant so much to me over the years.”
In his former years, Julian was given a scholarship to go to Eton where he studied alongside actor Hugh Laurie and also spent five years as a chorister at Kings College Cambridge.
Dr Julian Godlee at St Albans Cathedral, where he will be in concert on November 9. Picture: Laura Bill
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Julian said it was always a difficult decision between medicine or musician but his strong family connection – being the great-great nephew of Joseph Lister – kept him loyal to the family profession.
He added: “I’ve had a heartwarming response with tickets going well. Some patients said they didn’t know I was retiring. Others are thanking me for my 30 year coal-face shift. And others quoting lines from Heine and looking forward to hearing the mix of poetry and music. Rehearsal is going well – the biggest challenge is committing to memory the poems – 10 by Thomas Hardy and 16 by Heinrich Heine.”
The doctor and bass soloist will recite two pieces; Gerald Finzi’s ‘Earth and Air and Rain’ – settings of poems by Thomas Hardy and the incomparable cycle of Heine poems, Robert Schumann’s – Dichterliebe.
Accompanying the soloist in concert is renowned pianist Anna Tilbrook, who has accompanied singers including Bryn Terfel, Ian Bostridge, Angela Gheorghiu, Willard White and Jose Carreras.
In 1983, Julian founded The Brocket Consort where his wife and two daughters now join him. The eight-piece vocal group perform at a range of venues and have raised funds for Home-Start and amputee charity, Elizabeth Legacy of Hope. The doctor says he hopes to continue to fundraise while having the opportunity to perform with top-ranking pianists.
Julian and his wife Carolyn also own Cley Windmill, which is where singer James Blunt was raised.
The concert will start at 7.30pm.