Paragon Music Trust Paragon Music Trust


The Leo Baker Bequest

The funding Paragon Music Trust is able to distribute originally came from a bequest left over fifty years ago by Leo Reid Baker. Based in Bristol, he was a highly accomplished bassoonist and contra-bassoonist and well-known to eminent conductors of the last century, including Sir Henry Wood, Sir Adrian Boult and Sir Thomas Beecham.

During WWII, Reid Baker was a member of the RAF No. 1 band, and in the post-war years known well to Bristol professional and amateur musicians. Others knew of him through his columns in the Western Daily Press, co-founded in 1858 by Paul Macliver and his grandfather, the Newcastle journalist, Walter Reid. Leo later chaired the board of Walter Reid and Son Ltd.

He was supremely generous and put himself to any amount of trouble to foster the cause of music in Bristol. Such was his nature that anyone organising a concert knew he would never let them down. Once, when invited by Beecham to tour Germany with the Royal Philharmonic, he declined because he already had an engagement to play at the Victoria Rooms!

The Paragon Concert Society was formed in 1952 to support the Paragon Orchestra, formed by Professor HFD Kitto and Sidney Sager. When Leo, a bachelor, died in 1971, his legacy went on to support the Bristol Sinfonia, which superseded the Paragon Orchestra. Once the Bristol Sinfonia had ceased performing, the then trustees were sure that Leo would have approved of its use to support music performance in the Bristol region.

The Paragon Concert Society changed its name to Paragon Music Trust in 2014 and continues to use Reid Baker’s legacy for the benefit of music in the West of England.

The capital is invested and the income distributed by the trustees four times a year. See Apply.

In Memory of Christopher Brisley
3.8.1931 – 19.1.2024

It is with sadness that we heard of the death, in January 2024, of our long-term chairman, Chris Brisley. He grew up in Bristol, went away to school and returned as a Bristol University student, after which he became a well-respected lawyer in the City.

He was a multi-faceted person that included family man, listening to music and singing in choirs, charitable work, growing vegetables, cooking, DIY, writing pantomime scripts, enjoying puns and humour, and always seeing the funny side of life.

Involved with the Paragon since its early days, when Bristol Sinfonia disbanded, it was Chris who suggested a brilliant new purpose for the income from the invested portfolio. That new purpose, which Chris felt Leo Reid-Baker would certainly have approved of would, in future, support professional and amateur music performance in the Bristol region.

Without Chris, who knows what would have become of that money? The Paragon Concert Society was renamed Paragon Music Trust in 2014, to reflect more accurately its change of purpose. Over the many years of his leadership, it supported a huge range of music and continues to do so.

Previously an attendee at Paragon AGMs, in 2015 he invited me to join the trustees and later I became his deputy. Chris stepped down as chair in 2022 when I took over from him. The Trust owes him a huge amount for his visionary foresight.

My fellow trustees and I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to him, and offer our sincere condolences to his family.

Jane Krish, April 2024

Current Trustees

Jane Krish (chair)
Paul Anning (treasurer)
Nigel Nash (secretary)
Lavinia Ferguson (deputy-chair)
Matthew Kirkbride
Helen Moss
Elizabeth Shanahan

For further information, contact the Secretary, Nigel Nash
Email:, Tel:  0779 0422032.

Registered Charity No. 280203