was born in Manchester in 1946. He studied at the Royal College of Music (where he was a Vaughan Williams Trust Scholar), principally with Herbert Howells, also with Humphrey Searle and John Lambert. In his final year he was invited to participate in masterclasses with Nadia Boulanger and after winning the College's major composition awards including the Cobbett Prize, he was awarded the Octavia Travelling Scholarship to study with Franco Donatoni in Italy during the summers of 1972 and 1973. There he also participated in masterclasses with Luciano Berio and György Ligeti. He graduated from the University of London in 1967 and became a Doctor of Music of the same university in 2001.
Michael broadened his experience by teaching in both general and specialised music schools in England, being Assistant Director of Music at Manchester Grammar School from 1970 to 1986 and Tutor in Composition to Chetham's School of Music from 1985 to 1992. His responsibilities in Manchester included the regular training and provision of boys' choirs for many BBC broadcasts and for concerts, recordings and tours by the Hallé Orchestra. From 1972 to 1979 he gained extensive conducting experience as musical director of a small opera company in Northern England and also worked for a period as répétiteur to the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm.
In the late 1970's, after a break of several years working principally in education, he began composing again; composing in a manner that was both unmistakeably English - the lineage immediately recognisable - but also individual, especially the manner of the technical and musical demands he made on his forces. These 'early' works were substantial and eloquent, particularly his two extended a cappella choral works Sainte Marye Virgine, commissioned by the William Byrd Singers and rapidly taken up and broadcast by both the BBC Northern and BBC Singers, and A Hymne to God my God, written to mark the 30th anniversary of the BBC Northern, now Britten Singers. Following the success of his Resurrection Symphonies written for Edward Downes and the BBC Philharmonic, the BBC commisssioned him to write another work for the same orchestra, the exciting Danses vitales : Danses macabres of 1987.
A sense of place and atmosphere has become an increasingly important element in his scores, which are characterised by a freshness and ebullience of gesture allied with a taut and logical formal strength. His music spans most major genres, although writing for chorus, for wind, and for brass have been a particular interest from the 1980's onwards. Ball has shown himself a versatile composer, clearly relishing the demands of writing to commission and thereby the opportunity to tailor his imagination to specific performers or occasions. Pageant for chorus and wind instruments, based on the Harrowing of Hell legend, made a tremendous impact at its premiere, and led to the commissioning of what is arguably his most internationally acclaimed work, Omaggio, for the 1987 Congress of the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles in Boston, Massachusetts. The energy, virtuosic flair and freshness of its invention is impressive and led to the eminent position which Ball now occupies in the wind and brass band worlds. It has been followed by a number of works for different grades of wind band, including a Concerto for Saxophone and Wind Band (1994) written for Rob Buckland and, more recently, a Concerto for Euphonium (2002) written for David Childs and available in versions for wind band, brass band and for orchestra.
Frontier!, his all-American counterpart to the Italian inspiration in Omaggio, was chosen as the test-piece for the 1987 European Brass Band Championship and is now a well established test-piece. It has been followed in the 1990's by a series of contrasting works for brass band each designed for a different level of banding, without any compromise of musical integrity. The Shakespeare inspired Midsummer Music (1991), is perhaps the most 'symphonic' of the set. Whitsun Wakes (1997) is virtuoso tour-de-force, commissioned by the BBC for its Music Live! Festival as an all-brass equivalent to Omaggio. The homage paid in this impressive work is to the heritage of the band movement in its northern heartland. An English Suite (2000) pays homage to the wider musical heritage of banding and to the music of Holst in particular. Its sequel A Cambrian Suite (2001) is an affectionate exploration of the music of 'the land of song'. The sharply-etched and colourful Chaucer's Tunes is available in two distinct and equally effective versions - for brass and for wind band. BBC Radio 3 were again the commissioners of
all the flowers of the mountain
written as the test piece for the 2004 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.
Music for less experienced players has been a feature of Michael's output throughout his writing career & includes pieces for flute, clarinet, horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, violin & piano. His music is regularly played and broadcast in the UK and, increasingly, in the USA and Europe.
was born in Matlock, Derbyshire and was educated at Dulwich College and The Royal Academy of Music, where he studied the horn with Barry Tuckwell. He has enjoyed a varied freelance career, which encompassed playing with all the major London orchestras. As a session musician he played on the soundtrack of numerous films including The Boys from Brazil, The Spy who Loved Me and Straw Dogs, and on the backing tracks of much pop music.In the role of soloist, he appeared at the Wigmore Hall, on the South Bank, round the UK, Italy and Belgium. With John Pigueguy, he recorded the concerti of Vivaldi and Telemann. With mouth of Hermes, he was in the vanguard of contemporary music performance throughout the 1970's. In this twenties, he began to write music and whilst a member of The Locke Brass Consort, he wrote several large-scale works for it. 'Prism for Brass and Percussion' was recorded on an acclaimed disc in 1975. 'Clearly a composer to be reckoned with' commented Records and Recording. There followed various commissions; 'Dialogue for Trumpet' and Brass for James Watson, also recorded; 'Trombone Concerto' for Don Lusher and The Godson for Robert Hardy, premiered on BBC 2.In all he has written in excess of 100 works, which includes string music for the GSMD, pianoforte music, much of which Sally Mays has recorded for ABC, concerti for Saxophone ~ for Martin Robertson, 'cello and viola ~ for Judy Swan.For thirty years, Gordon Carr taught at The Centre for Young Musicians and throughout his career has coached and conducted on holiday music courses. He has lectured at GSMD and at university of Keele. Conducting engagements have been with The Lock Brass Consort, London Brass Consort, London Youth Symphonic Band, London Youth Camber Orchestra, RAM Brass Ensemble, L.C.M. Symphonic Band and orchestra of International Summer School at Keele. Gordon Carr was a Professor at Trinity College of Music, but now is a full-time composer.
was born near Cardiff in 1929. Early training as a violinist led to composition lessons from the Australian composer Arthur Benjamin. His first national success came in 1954 with a performance at the Cheltenham Festival of his first Clarinet Concerto with Gervase de Peyer and the Halle Orchestra conducted by Sir John Barbirolli. Amongst his works are six operas, ten symphonies, many concertos, chamber and choral pieces.
Photo credit: Chris Stock
After graduating as an oboe player at the Guildhall School of Music Jim played with leading London orchestras and chamber groups before joining The Barrow Poets as a performer and composer. He had success in the recording studios with a series of records in which he set to music the poems of Sir John Betjeman, spoken by the poet and conducted by the composer. These and subsequent records, including 'Captain Beaky' with words by Jeremy Lloyd which topped the charts as both a single and album led to work in television as well as in the London West End theatre and at Chichester.
He has written the scores for over a hundred TV programmes and has won the BAFTA award for best television music four times. Television drama series include 'The House of Eliott', 'Soldier Soldier', 'Tom Jones', 'Midsomer Murders', and 'Born and Bred'. Film scores include 'A rather English Marriage', 'Lost for Words', and the classic silent film 'Girl Shy', by Harold Lloyd.
Concert works have been written for The Nash Ensemble, Philip Jones Brass, The Hilliard Ensemble, The Albion Ensemble, The Wallace Collection, The Raphael Ensemble and Poems on the Underground. His published compositions include 'A Londoner In New York' for ten brass, 'Mississippi Five' for wind quintet, 'The Golden Section' for brass quintet and a 'Clarinet Concerto'. He is also the recipient of an honorary degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.