School plucks another top guitarist for concert

2010: Steve Hackett
2010: Steve Hackett

ERIC Clapton memorably gave a one-man performance at the school eight years ago.

Now another acclaimed guitarist, Steve Hackett, who was once part of the rock group Genesis, is following in his footsteps at Birkdale School in Broomhill on Friday, May 20.

It’s a result of his brother, John, joining the school as a part-time teacher of the flute.

John will be in an acoustic trio that will perform for an audience of around 450, restricted to “friends” of Birkdale and raising money for charity.

He studied music at Sheffield University from 1975 to 1978 when he left to tour with his brother for six years.

Then he taught in various schools, moving to Sheffield about 10 years ago.

He has been teaching privately as well as composing music for flute players. He plays the flute and piano.

Dr Spencer Pitfield, head of instrumental studies at the school, said: “Birkdale has a vibrant and active music department and we are so very pleased to welcome John Hackett as our new visiting flute teacher.

“John has very kindly agreed to perform with his brother Steve and we are really looking forward to hearing these outstanding musicians perform live at the school.”

Steve Hackett earned a reputation as a versatile and innovative rock musician and was lead guitarist with Genesis as part of the classic line-up with Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford that produced albums such as Selling England by the Pound.

His musical embrace extends to jazz, world music, blues and classical music, covering the work of classical composers and producing his own acoustic guitar compositions.

After Genesis, he embarked on a solo career and had a spell with the Steve Howe supergroup GTR, which was highly successful in America.

Eric Clapton gave a one-man show in front of an audience of staff, pupils and parents at Birkdale in March 2003, talking about his life and career and playing classic songs on an acoustic guitar.

His then 17-year-old daughter Ruth was a sixth-former at the school and the guitar legend agreed to stage the performance to raise money for musical and computer equipment for Birkdale and a drug rehabilitation centre in Antigua, which he has supported for many years.

Demand for the 790 tickets was so high for the private concert that names had to be drawn out of a hat.