Maurice Powell was appointed Musical Director of the IOMSO in 2004 following the return to England of the previous conductor, Wendy Smith.
He studied the French Horn with Francis Bradley at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and played professionally in London for some years before moving to Yorkshire and holding various teaching posts there and in Lancashire.
Maurice moved to the island in 1997, has played with the orchestra and the Mill Ensemble. Maurice is widely recognised for his research into aspects of the Island’s musical and variety entertainments during the ‘golden age’ of the Manx tourist industry and has contributed more than thirty articles to Culture Vannin (see manxmusic.com), including twenty new biographies for the series ‘Manx Musical Worthies’, a supplement to ‘New Manx Worthies’. In 2021 he completed an ambitious five-part survey of the weekly appearances of the famous dance bands, variety and concert artists that performed in Douglas and elsewhere on the Island between 1939 and 1965, the era of Joe Loss, Ivy Benson and Ronnie Aldrich, and has embarked on two new series of articles: ‘Manx Singers and the BBC’ and an annotated
edition of Harry Wood’s ‘Cavalcade of Music’ (1888-1938). A series of worksheets for
schools about the hey-day of the Island as a holiday venue have been available since 2018. His book ‘Manxland’s King of Music, the Life and Times of Harry Wood’, (Lily Publications,
2018), is available in bookshops throughout the Island, and a new book telling the story of ‘Pleasure Island’ after World War II will be available in due course.
Maurice is the presenter of Manx Radio’s ‘A Little Light Music’ on Thursday evenings at 9.00, a personal selection of light classical pieces, unfamiliar music by famous composers and interesting pieces by neglected composers.