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Michael Dunford of Renaissance Passes Away

Michael Dunford, musical composer and guitarist of the progressive rock band Renaissance passed away on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. He had just returned home from the first leg of the band’s North American tour and suffered a massive Instantaneous Cerebral Hemorrhage while dining at his home in Surrey, England Monday night. He was rushed to hospital where doctors declared his condition irreversible and terminal. He passed away at 11:06 pm GMT, surrounded by his family without having regained consciousness.

The reclusive and soft-spoken composer, a mainstay in the world of progressive rock, was born, raised and educated in Surrey. His first job was selling clothing in a local shop followed by a stint as an airside driver at Heathrow Airport which enabled him to form a “skiffle” group which lead to his first rock band called Nashville Teens in the early 1960s. Nashville Teens reached #6 on U.K. singles charts with their version of Tobacco Road. On leaving them, he formed several other bands including The Pentad and The Plebes. One night he went to see the original band Renaissance perform locally and ended up joining them in the early 1970s. The original band members were Jim McCarty, Louis Cennamo, John Hawken, Keith Relf and Jane Relf.

Dunford and vocalist Annie Haslam took over Renaissance’s reins in 1971 and soon had established the group as a world class recording and touring act, selling out venues like New York’s Carnegie Hall and The Royal Albert Hall in London. They would go on to release over a dozen albums before eventually parting ways in the mid-1980s. However, they would continue to write new material together and in 2001 reunited the band to record a new studio album, tour the following year, and release a live album. After another sabbatical, the refreshed line-up was introduced to the world and captured for posterity on Turn of the Cards and Scheherazade and Other Stories Live 2011.

Earlier this fall, Dunford and the band completed recording their first new studio album in twelve years. Grandine il Vento was recorded at Studio X in Ridgewood NJ, USA. All the music on the new album except for one track was composed and arranged by Dunford and features him on acoustic guitars and backing vocals.

Michael Dunford is survived by his wife Clare, sons William (13) and Oliver (10), and sister Judy Kendall. Services will be held at Woking Crematorium at a date to be announced.

First Re-Scheduled Renaissance Shows Announced

April 23 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta GA
April 25 – Palladium – St Petersburg FL
April 26 – Plaza Live – Orlando FL
April 27 – off
April 28 – Amaturo Theatre – Ft Lauderdale FL

More to follow.

Personal Message from Annie Haslam

Dear Friends

Annie Haslam & Michael Dunford 2012It breaks my heart that I have had to postpone the first two weeks of our very special tour.

I was hoping and praying that I would be OK.
I had been working, finishing off the new album despite the pain in my back, but it became so extreme I knew I had to finally seek immediate medical attention.

After going to a Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, then X-Rays, MRI’s, Cat scans and narrowly missing having to undergo spinal surgery, a decision had to be made, and it was very difficult for me.

I have never felt such heavy disappointment and sadness knowing so many of you were so excited to see the band again.
I am not allowed to go anywhere for 2-3 weeks, and will be in a back brace that I will basically need to wear 24 hours a day for 2-3 months.

We certainly will do all we can to make it up to you and come to play for you as soon as I am fully recovered. We are aiming for Spring 2013.

I am so thankful that I will be allowed to make the short trips to the last grouping of dates in the New Jersey/New York/Philadelphia areas, take off my back brace and perform!

We are certainly not an ordinary band, either by our music or the way we are blessed by people like you that have regrouped like us, and helped us on our new journey and new album.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart and look forward to seeing you all very soon.

Love and Light

Annie x

Renaissance Forced to Postpone Nine Tour Dates

Lead Vocalist Annie Haslam diagnosed with serious spine injury

Philadelphia, PA – September 27

Annie Haslam, the lead singer of renowned progressive rock pioneers Renaissance, has been diagnosed with a serious vertebral compression fracture and is required to wear a Jewett Back Brace for two to three months. Her doctors have prescribed a minimum two to three week abstention from all travel. As a result, Renaissance will be forced to postpone the first nine dates of the first leg of their upcoming 2012-2013 Concert Tour.

The dates affected are:

Wednesday October 3 – Howard Theatre Washington DC
Thursday October 4 – Variety Playhouse Atlanta GA
Friday October 5 – The Plaza Live Orlando FL
Saturday October 6 – Capitol Theater Clearwater FL
Sunday October 7 – Amaturo Theater, Broward Center for Performing Arts Fort Lauderdale FL
Thursday October 11 – Le Gesu Centre Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Friday, October 12 – Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry, NH
Saturday October 13 – Showcase Live Foxborough, MA
Sunday October 14 – Center For The Performing Arts – The Egg Albany, NY

Ms. Haslam’s specialist has advised that she may begin performing live again starting with the group’s scheduled Friday, October 19th performance at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield,CT. The group plans on rescheduling the cancelled shows and adding more dates in 2013.

“I am very upset about having to postpone these shows,” commented Ms. Haslam. “We’ve all been so excited about bringing our classics to the fans as well as previewing material from the new studio album Grandine il Vento.”

Renaissance recently completed mixing their first new studio album in twelve years, which is expected to be released in early 2013. The 2012 dates the band will be performing are:

**Friday October 19 – Ridgefield Playhouse Ridgefield, CT
**Saturday October 20 – The Concert Hall at Ethical Culture New York, NY
**Thursday, October 25 – Victoria Theater – New Jersey Performing Arts Center Newark, NJ
**Friday October 26 – Keswick Theater Glenside, PA
*Saturday, October 27 – Scottish Rite Auditorium Collingswood, NJ
*Sunday, October 28 – Strand Center for the Arts Lakewood, NJ

* Program comprising Turn Of The Cards and Scheherazade and Other Stories
** Program comprising Novella in its’ entirety plus a treasure trove of favorites and debuting selections from the
new album Grandine il Vento


Photo: Richard Barnes

Samples of New Renaissance Album and more

Thank you for your continuing support and positive energy. This has been a summer of intense focus on the composing and recording of our new album, Grandine il Vento. We’ve barely had time to come up for air, let alone enjoy the summer. That said, the journey has been magnificent and we’re now in the final stages of production; weaving in a couple of fantastic guest appearances before starting the process of mixing. To say we’re multi-tasking is an understatement!

With this said, completion of Grandine il Vento is taking longer than we had originally anticipated. In order to keep you and your ears in the loop, here is a sampler of several songs from the album. The songs in the sampler are:

Symphony of Light
Grandine il Vento
Cry to the World

For those of you that missed the deadline for our Kickstarter pre-purchase album campaign earlier this year, you can visit our web store and review some of the few packages that we are making available.

We are looking forward to seeing you on tour. If you haven’t purchased tickets please do so and be sure to let your friends know.

For those fans in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area, the Scottish Rite Auditorium is sold-out, but there are good seats still left for the Keswick Theater.

Once again, many thanks for your loyalty.


Annie, Michael, Rave, David, Jason, and Frank