Valerie Langfield is a freelance musician, teaching piano, theory and aural, and accompanying and coaching singers and instrumentalists. She has a particular interest in technique (especially playing without pain or tension), and has given presentations (including one at the 2016 ISME Conference in Glasgow) on how she teaches, and on the exercises she has devised to promote safe and pain-free playing.
Originally from London, Valerie Langfield has been based in the north-west of the UK for 30 years. Her first degree was from Cambridge (where she studied piano with the South African teacher, Valerie Norman). She then took a post-graduate course in singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; her work as an accompanist draws substantially on the experience she gained there.
Valerie is a composer (chiefly of chamber music); she is also an instrumental teacher at the Department of Music, University of Manchester, and privately, and as a writer on music, is a contributor to the revised New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (MGG), the Berlioz Encyclopedia, and has contributed chapters to other edited volumes. She wrote the definitive biography of the song-composer Roger Quilter, who was also the subject of her her PhD thesis, and she has written sleeve notes for several CDs of Quilter's music: songs, piano and orchestral music.
She travels all over the country, giving talks on music - and of course on Quilter in particular.
Valerie Langfield has substantial experience of editing British operas for performance and recording: for Opera Ireland, Balfe's Falstaff; for Opera South and the Royal Dublin Society, Balfe's Bohemian Girl; for the European Opera Centre, arias from Wallace's Amber Witch; for Victorian Opera North-west The Maid of Artois (Balfe), Robin Hood (Macfarren), and a collection of Victorian opera overtures; and for Lucerne Opera, Smyth's The Boatswain's Mate. For Retrospect Opera - of which she is a founder member - she has edited Smyth's The Boatswain’s Mate and Fête Galante, and also Raymond and Agnes by Edward Loder.
She has edited Ruth Gipps’ Piano Concerto and Dora Bright's Piano Concerto and Variations for Piano and Orchestra, now released on the SOMM label; has contributed a chapter on the songs of Cyril Scott for the recent Companion to Scott's life and music (published by Boydell & Brewer), and she is at present editing the diaries of the Cambridge musicologist Edward Dent, and a collection of letters from Dent to Jack Gordon, staff producer at Sadler's Wells in the 1930s.