For those who enjoy good music the recommendation is that you should pay a visit to the delightful and musical website www.johngeorgiadis.com to read of the importance that Laindon has paid in the choosing of a life as talented violinist both in orchestras and as a virtuoso soloist and recording artist, conductor and all round musicologist.
John Georgiadis, is a thorough Essex man, he was born in Southend on Sea and lived in Laindon for what were the most influential years of his life, those in which the pattern of his life’s work were set out for him. As he has said, they, his Laindon years, were “the years that I ‘kicked off’ the strict control that my father had previously exerted over and that subsequently led to my having some success as a violinist.”
John’s modesty conceals the fact that his career as lead violinist of some of the UK’s leading orchestras (at the age of 23 he was principal violinist in the Birmingham Symphony and of the LSO at 26) together with his world wide conducting activity has, because of his work with and on behalf of music in Essex, particularly with the Youth Orchestra, led to him being granted in July 1990 the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University of Essex.
Much of the detail of John’s musical career is set out on the website to which readers are thoroughly recommended. As it reveals, John came to live in Laindon when his father, needing a venue to set up his business which was involved with rabbit pelts, obtained the house named “Cranleigh” in Dunton Road, Laindon, the former residence of the Buckingham family. With is capacious outbuildings this proved ideal for what was needed and Alec Georgiadis was soon producing the Cranleigh Cleaning Cloth, a process which involved him taking on members of the local community, mostly female, as operatives.
Alec Georgiadis was an amateur violinist and he was keen that his son, John, should also master the instrument. His ambition was such that he laid down what appeared to some of his employees to be some pretty hard and fast rules concerning just how long and hard son John should practice the violin daily. It was not unusual to hear remarks about “poor John” being locked in the bathroom until all his allotted exercises had been completed.
It was while John and his family were living at “Cranleigh” that chance was to play an important part in influencing John’s development as a violinist. Alec Georgiadis and John’s mother, Pat, were on a walking tour in the Austrian Alps when they were intrigued to hear the sound of a violin being played with considerable panache coming from a mountain hut. John’s parents sat outside the log cabin and were treated to an impromptu recital for over an hour and, when the violinist responsible eventually emerged and his unseen audience had applauded the artist, it turned out that the instrumentalist was no less than the renowned Willi Boskovsky. Concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for forty-three years, Boskovsky was the instigator of the Vienna New Year’s Day Concert that, principally devoted to the works of the Straus family, can still be enjoyed every year at Christmastide on BBC television.
With their shared interest in the violin the Boskovsky and John’s parents stood chatting for some time at the end of which they offered that almost obligatory and polite invitation to Boskovsky that so often happens in such holiday encounters between strangers who never expect to meet again, to give them a ring anytime he was in London. Much to the surprise of John’s parents, Willi Boskovsky, in London on an engagement and staying at the Savoy Hotel, gave them a ring and as John says, he must have experienced “a serious shock” when they arrived at the hotel in his dad’s work van! He was probably even more surprised, when, no doubt anticipating being entertained by some wealthy English family at their country estate, he discovered that, on arrival at Laindon, he was expected to spend his visit performing with, coaching and advising both his teenage host and John’s father in a musical weekend.
Not having anticipated a “working” weekend, Willi Boskovsky had not brought his own instrument with him, but to his great credit and John’s lasting and deep impression, he borrowed Alec’s violin manufactured in 1924 and got down to it. It must have been something that very few people in Laindon would ever have expected to hear outside one of the great London concert halls. It certainly was for John, in particular, an incredible and thoroughly motivating experience that was to set him firmly on the worthwhile path of the admirable career he has pursued ever since.