Providing a link back to our first accompanist and longest serving musical director, the son and daughter of Robert Atherton both played in the orchestra for our shows in the 1960s and have had distinguished musical careers...


David Atherton was born in Blackpool and studied music at Cambridge University. After becoming the youngest conductor ever to appear at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden conducting Il Trovatore in 1968   he spent twelve years there as Resident Conductor. He has also appeared regularly with English National Opera, Canadian Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

David was co-founder of the London Sinfonietta in 1968 and as its Music Director gave the first performance of many important contemporary works.

He first conducted at the Henry Wood Proms in 1968 again, their youngest ever conductor and appeared in thirty successive seasons. He has opened the Prague Spring Festival and the Berlin Festival and travels widely, in particular to the USA. He founded the Mainly Mozart Festival in 1989 and returns to California each summer to direct it.



Joan Atherton played in Marton Operatic's orchestra from 1961 to 1964. Born in Blackpool, Joan was awarded an Exhibition to study with Felix Kok at the Royal College of Music, where she received a number of major prizes including the prestigious Tagore Gold Medal. She graduated with distinction and a Vaughan Williams Trust Scholarship enabled her to further her studies with Manoug Parikian.

Joan has held the position of Principal Second Violin with the London Sinfonietta since 1970. She has performed many of the major concerti and she is in demand as an orchestral leader, having guest led the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Glyndebourne Touring Opera Orchestra, the Wren Orchestra, and the Milton Keynes City Orchestra, the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada in Spain and the English National Ballet Orchestra.

Joan freelances with several London orchestras, and playing at the Coliseum in English National Opera's revival of The Mikado in 2006 brought back happy memories of our show in Marton Church Hall in 1960!

  Colin Bradbury played in Marton Operatic's orchestra from 1947 to 1950.   Winning the Blackpool Musical Festival Scholarship in 1950 enabled him to go to the Royal College of Music the following year.

Colin was Principal Clarinet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra for over thirty years and gave many solo performances with them.   He now combines his solo career with lecturing and adjudication, and he was President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians for 2006-7.   He devotes much time to finding new repertoire for the clarinet.    As well as making many recordings and giving recitals of both new and standard works for clarinet, he has founded Lazarus Edition, which produces printed copies of rarer works researched in different countries.   Among these is an arrangement for wind nonet of Sullivan's "Iolanthe" Overture.


Colin remembers his Marton years with affection as they helped to nurture a love of G&S that he has always retained.


Some recent photos of our beloved orchestra, pictured in their luxuriously appointed orchestra pit!

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