Fiona Lander composes and arranges music across a variety of genres. She has over 20 years of teaching experience having worked in Secondary education as a classroom music teacher (St Joseph’s College, Ipswich) and as Head of Department (Honywood School, Coggeshall, Essex). Since returning to her native North East, she worked for Music Partnership North as a peripatetic woodwind teacher for 10 years and now works freelance as a teacher, composer, performer and choir leader.
She studied composition with Alan Bullard at Colchester Institute and gained a high honours degree. Whilst there, she won the annual Carol Writing Competition with her contemporary version of ‘We Three Kings‘ and was highly commended by Ursula Vaughan Wiliams for her Chamber Choir setting of ‘Who Killed Cock Robin’. Several of her arrangements for Saxophone Choir have been performed by the Clarinet and Saxophone Society whilst ‘Saxophone Jig’ (for soprano sax and guitar) was a finalist in the UK Song Writing Competition (Instrumental Category) in 2007.
In 2015 the recording she made with singers from schools in Northumberland of her choral work ‘Winter Carol‘ was released as a charity single and raised over £1,400 for disabled children and adults at The Percy Hedley Foundation in Newcastle. It was published by Faber in 2016 for ‘Sing Up‘ a fantastic educational resource for schools worldwide. The success of this led to three further commissions by ‘Sing Up’ (New Life Has Begun, In a Peaceful World and a dreamy version of We Wish You a Merry Christmas‘).
In 2017, Fiona and five other North East composers were commissioned to compose brand new carols by Voices of Hope (National Choir of the Year) for inclusion on their 2018 Christmas CD titled ‘A New Christmas’. Fiona’s ‘Holy Infant Child‘ became a bit of a hit with the choir and has since been performed by many other choirs as a result!
Other local commissions followed soon after from Hexham Orpheus Choir (Christmas carol), Tynedale Community Choir (20th Birthday) and three different songs for schools to sing at Newcastle City Holocaust Memorial Day. (2019-2023)
During Lockdown, Fiona wrote an unaccompanied piece for 8-part chamber choir titled Transmission, which gained international recognition in the AERCO Choral Competition and was selected to be performed by the Moscow Conservatoire of Music Chamber Choir in January 2021. She also gained national airplay on BBC Radio 3‘s ‘In Tune’ programme with her recording of Sing a Song of Sixpence.
More recently, three of her choral settings by Christina Rossetti have been performed by the Chorus of The Royal Northern Sinfonia at their Sounds of Summer pop-up tours at venues across the North East of England.
In 2021, Fiona was delighted to be added to the team of choir arrangers at www.choircommunity.net where a portfolio of her fully licensed scores and learning tracks can be purchased.
In addition to all her creative work, she directs a 10-piece ladies choir Dark Sky Voices and also teaches instrumental lessons at Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham, where she runs the Choir and leads the Jazz Band too!
Fiona has no shortage of performing and recording experience, having co-written and produced 7 studio albums with Paul Mason as the duo Landermason. She has also worked as a session musician on 3 other albums produced by Clive Gregson and John Woods (The Hayes Sisters, Union Jill and Clive Gregson with Liz Simcock).