11 Tinley Garth
Tel: 01751 433379
The Useful Music catalogue is woodwind based and has proved immensely popular over the years. Graham Lyons is also the father of two other companies: The Lyons C Clarinet www.firstclarinet.com and the English and Maths GCSE test books from Learning Curve (also distributed by Spartan) www.teacher-friendly.co.uk.
Graham Lyons started the piano at the age of six but at thirteen, inspired by Benny Goodman, switched to clarinet lessons. He continued to play the piano, but without formal tuition, using it to investigate harmony and jazz improvisation. His first clarinet teacher was George Draper, whom he remembers with great affection. For five years his weekly high spot was his clarinet lesson. After National Service as a Radar Fitter, Graham went to Oxford to read physics. At Oxford, music, not physics, took priority and, not surprisingly, he was sent down at the end of the first year. After Oxford he studied bassoon and composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, paying his way by working in a jazz club on piano, clarinet and saxophone.
For the next twentyyears Graham worked as a performer in symphony orchestras, musicals, clubs andon broadcasts. He also composed advertising jingles and television backgroundmusic, and arranged for bands, cabaret and various (now defunct) BBC Radioorchestras. In addition he also taught woodwind instruments part-time inschools. In fact he is best-known for his educational publications, comprisingmore than sixty tutors and albums, with combined sales of more than 300,000.Many of his compositions are on the wind syllabuses of the music examining boards. In 1976 Graham compiled and edited `The Russian Version of the Second World War', from various sources - mainly Soviet school text books. It was published in Britain by Leo Cooper, and in the USA in 1981 by Facts on File. The Pentagon bought 5,000 copies!
In the early eighties Graham lived in New Zealand, working as a sessionmusician and arranger with NZTV.