A CONCERT will be held in tribute to a musician and teacher whose influence on live music in the region earned him huge respect.

Bishop Auckland Music Society’s final concert of the season will be held in memory of its former chairman John Lowles, who died in 2020.

Mr Lowles was born in Calcutta, India, in 1941, before his family moved back to England in 1946, living in Sussex and later in London.

He was educated at Winchester College, learnt composition at the Vienna Conservatoire of Music, and studied French and German at Cambridge University.

In 1964 he taught English in Finland for a year before moving back to London.

In 1970, he moved to Cotherstone, in County Durham, with first wife Judy, where they lived until 1977 with children, Mix and Alan.

Mr Lowles then moved to Mickleton. His first decade there was full of music, family and time in Finland with partner Pirkko, who he had met during his teaching year abroad.

In 1992 he married his late wife Pamela, and moved in with her and her four daughters.

In 2014 he relocated to Barnard Castle to be more involved in the culture of the dale.

During his long time in Teesdale, Mr Lowles was known for his huge contribution to the musical life of the area.

As well as being a pianist and composer himself, he taught piano and guitar as well as French and German privately, and ran many male and female voice choirs, the most recent one being the Deerbolt Ladies Choir.

He taught music at the King James I Grammar School, in Bishop Auckland, and was later head of music at Staindrop Comprehensive until the early 1990s, putting on countless productions and musicals.

He was also very involved in the organising of live classical music.

In 2017 he staged seven concerts in the Barnard Castle Methodist Church to raise £10,000 to buy a new piano for The Witham.

He also played a big part in the Darlington Music Society, ran the children’s music group Tunemakers, in Cotherstone, during the 1970s, and was a member of Marilyn Anderson’s Heighington Choir in the 1980s.

For many years he was also a highly valued part of Bishop Auckland Music Society, organising concerts, contacting and hosting musicians and writing the programme notes.

A BAMS spokesperson said: “A consummate musician himself, John was well known throughout the area for helping to promote live music and for encouraging people of all ages to practise and delight in the joy of music.”


The late John Lowles

The late John Lowles


The society will pay tribute to Mr Lowles, by dedicating the final concert of the season to him.

On Friday, October 22, the Meraki Duo – Meera Mahara on flute and guitarist James Girling – will perform works by Bach, Villa-Lobos and Andy Scott at Bishop Auckland Methodist Church, opposite the hospital at 7.30pm.

Tickets priced £14, or £16 on the door, are available from Brotherton’s Music, opposite Morrisons, or from Brian Varley on 01388-606075.


Meraki Duo - Meera Mahara (flute) and James Girling (guitar)

Meraki Duo - Meera Mahara (flute) and James Girling (guitar)



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