was born (1960) in Beckenham, Kent in a street 'full of bank managers'. His parents grew cabbages in the front garden and filled the house with vagrant friends and their families: 'I don't think we fitted in' he concludes. Django credits the delight he takes in his music to the variety of musical influences from his childhood; his father being a collector of Romanian folk, African music, and Jazz. After various lessons on piano, violin and trumpet, Django found himself at the Royal College of music in London studying composition. On finding that the pianos had signs saying 'not to be used for playing Jazz' on them, he left two weeks later realising he wanted to remain a self-taught composer.
This year Django was the inaugural artistic director of Fuse Leeds04 - a biennial new music festival celebrating the wealth and diversity of today's vibrant music scene, for which he commissioned Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood to write a new work for Ondes Martnot and the London Sinfonietta. In honour of improvising saxophonist Evan Parker's 60th birthday, Django commissioned sixty composers including Gavin Bryars, Sir Patrick Moore and John Zorn, to write one bar each, and then he quilted these into the piece 'Premature Celebration' which was performed by The London Sinfonietta with Evan Parker and Paul Lytton. Django also composed 'Umpteenth Violin Concerto' for violinist Ernst Kovacic.
In June 04, Django began a recording project with Vince Mendosa and the Dutch Metropole Orchestra The long awaited second performance of his Piano Concerto What it is Like to be Alive was performed by Joanna MacGregor and the Duisburg Symphony Orchestra on the 26th June 2004 and his new album You Live and Learn
was released on the 28th June 2004 on the Lost Marble label receiving a rare 4 star review by The Observer and album of the week by the Guardian. For more information visit www.djangobates.co.uk
Born in Manchester in 1923 he was at first attracted by "the sight and sound of gleaming brass instruments." A composition pupil of Richard Hall at the Royal Manchester College of Music, where he also studied the trumpet and conducting. He played the trumpet in the Scottish National and Hallé orchestras and as a freelance until 1963, after which he combined composing with conducting and teaching at the Huddersfield School of Music. He conducted Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra for 31 years, and frequently conducted radio performances of his own orchestral works with various BBC orchestras.
Though he experimented with 12-note techniques as a student, his mature and characteristic compositions are conservative in idiom, influenced primarily by Sibelius and Nielsen, Elgar and other English symphonists of a generation before his own. The major inspirational source of his music, particularly of his four large-scale and expansive symphonies, is the north country in which he lives, its poetry, its painting and its landscapes. He also declares a fascination for Scandinavia, Iceland, and northern Europe generally, especially the landscape and the climate. He has been captivated by the Scottish Highlands since serving in the 51st Highland Division during the Second World War, and says "this is the most potent inspiration to the music I write". His contributions to the brass band repertory have been notable.
He officially retired from music lecturing a long time ago, but is still persuaded to help when the need arises. He continues to compose and has recently finished a fifth symphony. He was made an MBE in 1995.
who was born in Bristol, England, read music at St Paul's College, Cheltenham and Dartington College of Arts, Devon, where he studied, in particular, composing and conducting. In 1968 he joined the BBC as a music producer, working mainly in BBC Education, writing, producing and frequently broadcasting many programmes such as Time and Tune and Singing Together which regularly enjoyed audiences of around 2 million listeners weekly. In 1988, wanting to spend more time on composing and to offer more practical help to teachers and pupils, he left the BBC to become a freelance musician. Straightaway he founded The New English Concert Orchestra undertaking many performances annually in concert halls and in schools. He also started the National Junior Music Club, now called Musicworld which publishes resource magazines for schools and runs music courses for teachers.
Since 1988, combined with workshops for young people and often working with his wife, the soprano Carole Lindsay-Douglas, he averages around 150 performances a year. With his wife, he travels the length and breadth of Great Britain and Europe, works regularly in the USA and has worked twice in Hong Kong. In April 1999 he was in South Korea conducting his own music with various choirs. In 2002 he was once again in South Korea, directing workshops and working with one of the countries top professional choirs, the Suwon Civic Choral, who has just commercially recorded his Mass (1991).
Performing to young people is an important part of Douglas Coombes' work, but he gives concerts to all ages - or as he describes it "From nought to death!" He frequently appears in family concerts either conducting and/or narrating such works as Peter and the Wolf and his own compositions in the genre - Ting Tang the Elephant, The Treasure Trail, The Wonderful Adventures of Sindbad - a concert pantomime which he conducted in the Royal Albert Hall in 2002.
Douglas has conducted many of the UK's leading orchestras including The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, The Scottish Chamber, The BBC Welsh, The London Concert, The Manchester Camerata, The Bournemouth Sinfonietta, The Northern Sinfonia and The New English Concert Orchestra. A recent conducting highlight took place when he directed the chamber orchestra in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem.
Douglas is a prolific composer and has written for all ages - professional and non-professional - and his output includes 2 symphonies, a requiem, 5 masses 3 operas, 2 ballets, orchestral music, songs, church music and music for children. Many compositions have been supported by grants from the Arts Councils of England and Scotland.
His most recent compositions include The World's Redeemer for Soprano Solo, Choir and Organ (for Paoli Presbyterian Church, Pennsylvania), Buffian, the Sorcerer's Apprentice for Children's Choir and wind band (for Bedford schools) Dance Variations for recorder orchestra (for the Peregrine Orchestra), Summer Serenade for Choir and Strings (for Hertford Choral Society) and An East Anglian Folk Song Suite for SSA choir, strings and harp, written for his own choir, the Amici Singers. He has just had published A Chance To Sing a book of 8 original songs on current social issues and 2 arrangements of Victorian ballads which was written to raise money for the charity Barnardo's. The book was launched this July (2004) at the Royal Albert Hall in a concert conducted by Douglas with a choir of over 1200 children. During the past few years he has conducted a number of concerts for Barnardo's at such venues as The Royal Albert Hall (London), Birmingham Symphony Hall, Leeds Town Hall, Ely Cathedral and Lambeth palace (London.) Also for Barnardo's, on November 5th, 2004, he conducted The New English Concert Orchestra in St. John's Smith Square, London for the concerto debut of the outstanding 13 year old violinist, Victoria Goldsmith
During the past few summers, Douglas has conducted the New English Concert Orchestra in the open-air Battle Prom concerts in England, held in such places as Attingham Park (Shropshire), Battle Abbey (East Sussex), Hatfield House (Hertfordshire), Losely Park (Surrey), Ragley Hall (Warwickshire), Stoneleigh Abbey (Warwickshire) and Stowe Landscape Gardens (Buckinghamshire). New venues for 2005 include Burghley House and Blenheim Palace (Oxfordshire.)
Douglas Coombes is a popular lecturer and course director. He is Chairman of the Adjudicators Council of the British and International Federation of Festivals and adjudicates frequently throughout the UK and overseas. For the last two years he has been the music director and consultant of the BBC's TV Song of Praise Competition to find the Senior and Junior School Choir and conducted the choirs in the two celebratory concert. He has been appointed to the same position for 2005
He is a member of various organisations - Association of British Choral Directors, British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, Mechanical Copyright and Phonographic Society, Musicians' Union and Society of Authors and Performing Rights Society. He is also one of the Patrons of the British Kodaly Academy. For recreation, he directs The Amici Singers, a women choir which he founded in 1978; over Easter, 2005, the Choir made their 8th tour of the USA. He also enjoys watching rugby and cricket.
Robert was born in Leeds in 1950. He studied music at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth where his composition tutors were Ian Parrott and David Harries. In 1975 he was appointed to the post of Lecturer at the Coventry School of Music. He is currently Principal Lecturer in Music at Coventry University and is responsible for the running of the University's two B.A. music courses.
Robert Ramskill has written works which range from those written for young and amateur musicians, at all ability levels, through to those composed for professional performance. His output includes orchestral and choral music, piano pieces, works for a variety of wind and brass ensembles (including wind and brass bands), and pieces for various chamber ensembles.
Works include an anthem written for the choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral, a Tuba Concerto (written for the tuba virtuoso, Colin Sneade, who has played it in this country and abroad), a Piano Concerto (premiered by Julian Hellaby and the Leamington Chamber Orchestra in Leamington in February 1998), and a 'Jazz Impromptu' for violin and piano which was selected for the final stage of the 'UK and Eire Composers' Platform and performed in the Purcell Room, London, in December 2000 by Adam and Catherine Summerhayes. This last piece has also been recorded commercially on the Sargasso label. Most recently he was commissioned (with funds from the Arts Council of England) to write a piece for two pianos which, in April and May 2004, was performed in Coventry, Leicester, Lancaster, Radley College, Dartington and at the CBSO centre in Birmingham by Peter Noke and Julian Hellaby.
Robert Ramskill has written many albums of music for the Brasswind Publications catalogue and a number solo brass pieces from these albums are set in the current syllabuses of all the major practical examination boards. He is also very active as an arranger, and is a regular contributor of arrangements to BBC Television and Radio programmes, most notably for BBC 1's 'Songs of Praise'. He wrote three of the arrangements for the 40th anniversary edition of the programme in 2001 which featured the BBC Concert Orchestra and The Royal Society Chorus (amongst a number of other choirs).