|Born||14 July 1977|
|Genres||Classical, Easy Listening|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, Pianist, Organist, Entertainer, Conductor, Composer, Arranger|
|Instruments||Vocals, Piano, Organ|
|Piano, Organ, Trumpet, Posthorn, Xylophone, Musical Saw|
Gordon Charles Cree BMus FGMS (born 14 July 1977, Ayrshire Central Hospital, Irvine, North Ayrshire) is a Scottish entertainer, singer, pianist, organist, arranger, orchestrator, conductor and composer.
Early life and education
Cree is the only child of a blacksmith father and a lace weaver mother and was brought up in the village of Hurlford, near Kilmarnock, until the age of 8 when the family moved to the village of Darvel, which is usually given as his hometown. He was educated first at Hurlford Primary School and Darvel Primary School before completing his secondary education at Loudoun Academy in Galston. At the unusual age of 16, he was admitted as an undergraduate student at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow where he graduated Bachelor of Music in 1998, aged 20. Following his formal education he studied piano and musical direction with Peggy O'Keefe, orchestral scoring and arranging with Brian Fahey and organ with Professor George McPhee at Paisley Abbey.
Pianist and Musical Director
He originally came into the music and entertainment industries as a pianist and musical director. From 1997 until 2006 he regularly appeared on stage, television and radio as accompanist to some of the legends of the Scottish entertainment scene, such as Moira Anderson, Jimmy Logan, Kenneth McKellar, Fran and Anna, Johnny Beattie and Peter Morrison. He spent seventeen seasons (up to three per year) at the Gaiety Theatre, Ayr and six seasons at the Glasgow Pavilion, intermittent seasons at the Kilmarnock Palace Theatre, The Glasgow King's Theatre and the Edinburgh King's Theatre as well as countless short-runs, tours and single events throughout the UK, USA, Sweden and Germany.
Singer and entertainer
Sporadically from 1997 and with more focus from 2006, Cree has been appearing in concerts, recitals and variety seasons as a singer and entertainer. Having made singing his major study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama his early singing career (1995–2005) consisted of a large number of serious recitals, oratorios and concerts. From 2006 onwards he began to appear on variety bills throughout the UK, including seasons at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, the Blackpool Opera House, the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, the Theatre Royal, Margate, and was a longtime cast member (as top of the bill in the 2008 Blackpool season) of the legendary Duggie Chapman's "Good Olde Days" and "Matinee Music Hall" shows. He continues to appear as a variety and cabaret artiste, while making occasional "serious" singing appearances.
As a child, aged 7, the organ was the first instrument in which he received tuition. In 1990 he competed for and won the title "Scottish Young Organist of the Year" at the Wurlitzer of East Kilbride Civic Centre (now dismantled.) Although he has maintained organ posts in Ayrshire from 1993–present (Hurlford Kirk, Darvel Parish Church, Kilmarnock Laigh Kirk being at least three known posts he held,) he only seems to have emerged as a concert and recital organist since 2010.
In the classical field he has regularly given recitals at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling, The Caird Hall in Dundee, Ayr Town Hall and was the originator of the Darvel Organ Recitals Series at the Grade I listed organ of Darvel Parish Church.
In the theatre organ world he regularly performs at these magnificent instruments throughout the UK. Organs at which he is listed as having appeared are: the Wulitzer of Blackpool Tower Ballroom, the Wurlitzer of Blackpool Opera House, the Compton of the Plaza Cinema, Stockport Plaza, the Wurlitzer of Stockport Town Hall and especially the Wurlitzer of Pollokshaws Burgh Hall in Glasgow, with which he appears to have a special and longstanding relationship.
Conductor, arranger and orchestrator
Since 2001, he has appeared extensively as a conductor, often conducting light music, music theatre and filmscores. A large proportion of the music he conducts is arranged and/or orchestrated by him. From 1999-2001 he studied arrangement and orchestration with Brian Fahey, who was staff arranger at Chappell & Co, staff musical director at EMI, musical director to Shirley Bassey (1964–1972) and conductor/arranger of the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra (1972-82.)
In 2001 he began forming ad hoc concert orchestras under his own name, The Gordon Cree Orchestra with which he continues to appear. He also appears as a guest conductor with The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet and the Scottish Festival Orchestra.
He has provided arrangements and orchestrations for tens of theatre shows as well as for a wide array of established ensembles, including Marilyn Horne, Moira Anderson, Joan Savage, Joan Hinde, Norman Wisdom, Cheryl Forbes, The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, The BBC Concert Orchestra, Northern Ballet, The Ulster Orchestra and the Glasgow Phoenix Choir.
Cree has published many works, most of them short and very light in nature.
- Selected Orchestral Works:
- Capri Suite
- Angela (tribute to Angela Morley)
- Concertino (for organ and string orchestra)
- Champagne Flutes
- Fiddlers Free
- Havanaise (for violin and orchestra)
- Petite Marche Cérémoniale
- Suite for Strings
- Nocturne (for cello and orchestra)
- The Bognor Bugler's Return (for trumpet and orchestra)
- Solo Organ Works:
- Trumpet Tune
- Toccata on Adeste Fidelis
- Popular Music:
- Scotland, My Song Forever (song)
Cree lived for many years with international mezzo-soprano concert singer Cheryl Forbes before they married in 2012. They live quietly in a seven-room apartment in the Ayrshire village of Darvel, where he lists among his hobbies gardening, reading, cooking and classic cinema.
He is well known for his support of various charity through his performance and endorsement. He has been active for many years on behalf of the Scottish Showbusiness Benevolent Fund, The Grand Order of Water Rats, he formerly sat on the Master Court of the Trades House of Glasgow and is an Executive Founding Trustee of the Ayrshire (East) Foodbank which he established alongside his wife, Cheryl Forbes.
It was announced in August 2013 that Cree and Forbes would be stepping down as sole executives for the Ayrshire (East) Foodbank due to family and work commitments, but stated that it was their dear hope that others would come forward to continue the work of the charity. The charity resumed under new management in October of the same year.
He is also the co-founder and organiser of a large-scale annual musical event which has raised tens of thousands of pounds for Scottish charities, including the Ayrshire Hospice, C.H.A.S., Combat Stress, Sight-Savers, Erskine Hospital and Food for Africa.
- "Gordon Cree - Loudoun Valley (Ayrshire)". Loudoun Valley. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Morrison, Richard. "Songs Of My Home". Richard Morrison - Baritone. Richard Morrison. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Cree, Gordon (15 March 2009). "Gordon Cree". Profiles (A to Z). MovieMire. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Cree, Gordon. "Gordon Cree". Industry Directory. Glasgow, Scotland: Scottish Music Centre. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Moore, John (23 July 2007). "Gaiety Whirl". The Stage (The Stage Media Company Limited). Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- "Gaiety Scottish Centenary Gala". Robert C Kelly. 2003. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Eastwood, Andy. "Gala Night of Stars 2008". Andy's Archive. Andy Eastwood. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- "Darvel's own series of organ recitals". Darvel, Scotland: Darvel Parish Church. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- "Nigel Ogden: The Organist Entertains". Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Russell, Ian (17 April 2009). "Darvel entertainer Gordon Cree to appear as guest at Scottish Cinema Organ Trust". Kilmarnock Standard (Kilmarnock, Scotland: Scottish & Universal Newspapers Limited). Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Forbes, Stewart. "Stewart Forbes". Stewart Forbes. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- Davidson, John. "Previous Engagements". Scottish Festival Orchestra. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- "Master Court". Glasgow, Scotland: The Trades House of Glasgow. 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2012.