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.
was born in 1933 in Dumfries and educated in Durham and Newcastle, gaining BA Hons in English. After three years National Service as an officer in the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, serving in Northern Ireland and Germany, he spent two years travelling and living in Europe. In 1960 he became a Trumpeter with the Emcee Five in Newcastle upon Tyne, then co-leader in London of the Don Rendell-Ian Carr quintet. From 1969-88 his band, Nucleus, pioneered jazz-rock fusion and the use of
electronics, won first Prize at the 1970 Montreux Festival, followed by acclaimed concerts at the US Newport Festival and the Village Gate NYC, and toured worldwide - in Europe, Scandinavia, India, South America, and was very influential in Europe and elsewhere. In 1975 he was a founder member of the international band of composers and bandleaders, The United Jazz & Rock Ensemble, based in Stuttgart.
He became an associate professor at London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1982 and a member of the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, receiving the Italian Calabria Award for "outstanding contribution in the field of jazz". Throughout these years he played with many other leading musicians, and delivered many broadcast talks about music on Radio 3.
He has been on the committee of the Greater London Arts Association, and served on the Central Music Advisory Committee for BBC Radio and TV . He has been writing for BBC Music Magazine ever since its inception in 1992. In 1999-2000 he worked with Director Michael Dibb on a film documentary biography of Miles Davis for Channel 4 TV and for USA viewing. Ian Carr's 1998 updated biography of Miles Davis received great critical acclaim internationally.
Compositions: Solar Plexus 1970; Labyrinth 1973; Will's Birthday Suite,
1974 (for Globe Theatre Trust); Out Of The Long Dark, 1978;
Northumbrian Sketches, 1986, (for the Kreisler String Ensemble and jazz
Soloists); Old Heartland, 1988; Sounds and Sweet Airs, 1992, (for trumpet
and Cathedral organ, recorded in Southwark Cathedral).
Publications: Music Outside 1973; Miles Davis: a Critical Biography
1982; Keith Jarrett: The Man and His Music, 1991; Rough Guide to Jazz
(Jtly) 1995 and 2000; Miles Davis: the Definitive Biography 1998.
was born in Vienna in 1926 and settled in England in 1938. After taking a music degree at New College, Oxford, he studied composition with Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music, London, winning the Farrar Prize, and with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. His first post was as Music Director of the Bristol Old Vic Company (1950-51); he then came to London during the Festival of Britain to conduct various ballet companies including the Ballets Russes. From 1952-63 he was Associate Director of the Intimate Opera Company and in 1956 joined
the music staff of Glyndebourne Opera.
He received the Commonwealth Medal for Composition in 1959 and a Leverhulme Research Award in 1961, and has won two Ivor Novello Awards: for Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo (Best British Music for Children 1975) and "Lillie" (Best TV Music 1978). He was awarded the Gold Order of Merit of the City of Vienna in 1996, and in 2002 the Nino Rota Prize in Italy for "an outstanding international musical career".
He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Music, where he has been a Professor of Composition since 1961. He has been a Council Member of the Composers' Guild of Great Britain since 1970, served on the Executive of the Performing Rights Society from 1969-1996, and from 1981-89 was President of the International Council of Composers and Lyricists (CIAM).
His works range widely: sixteen ballets, including Alice in Wonderland commissioned by Festival Ballet in 1953 and regularly revived world-wide; two one-act operas - The Dumb Wife (libretto Peter Shafter) and Gentleman's Island (libretto Gordon Snell); nine concertos (oboe, trumpet, clarinet, bassoon, euphonium, tuba, violin, percussion, jazz harpsichord/piano); five string quartets; music for orchestra, brass band and wind ensembles; choral works, including an ecological cantata Summer Sunday and an oratorio Samson; works
for Hoffnung Concerts - Bournevita and Horrortorio; music for Son et Lumiere, and over seventy TV scores, including two BBC Shakespeare plays. Dorothy L Sayers and Agatha Christie series, Fight Against Slavery, Dorian Gray, Rumpole of the Bailey.
STAN TRACEY OBE
is an outstanding figure in the jazz world. His distinguished career has spanned five decades of flourishing creativity. He has been a highly influential and stimulating musical voice, not only to his peers but also to each successive generation of musicians with whom he has worked.
Stan's capricious piano playing combines the percussive melody of Thelonious Monk with the robust lyricism of Ellington in a highly idiosyncratic style. A master of harmony, he possesses a potent and compelling improviser's intellect. Through Stan Tracey's unflinching commitment and dedication has emerged a very rare artist who has sustained an output of highly exceptional music throughout his career.
A self-taught musician, Stan played his first professional engagement aged sixteen. The unlikely start of such a prestigious career saw him working for the forces entertainment network ENSA. However he quickly became involved in the lively emerging London jazz scene of the 1950s, playing in the bands of Laurie Morgan, Kenny Baker, Ronnie Scott and Tony Crombie. From 1957-9 he played piano and vibraphone and did the arrangements for the hugely popular Ted Heath Orchestra. As house pianist at Ronnie Scott's club from 1961 to 1967 Stan played with many of the most important figures in jazz history including Ben Webster, Roland Kirk, Wes Montgomery, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Sonny Rollins. His stature at that time is illustrated by his collaboration with Sonny Rollins, which produced some of the most creative music of both musicians' careers.
From 1964 to the present day, Stan has led a myriad of innovative groups incorporating the most progressive musicians of each generation which have included Bobby Wellins, Tony Coe, Peter King, Don Weller, John Surman, Mike Osborne, Art Themen, Kenny Wheeler, Clark Tracey and Gerard Presencer.
Throughout his career Stan Tracey has been a prolific composer, writing over twenty commissions and music for forty of his own albums. His first work "Under Milk Wood" inspired by Dylan Thomas's radio play of the same title, is widely recognised as a masterpiece. A number of suites for big bands followed.
Over the years Stan's music and playing has attracted a host of accolades and awards. Throughout the sixties and seventies he regularly topped the Melody Maker polls. Since the eighties the list has expanded to include Honorary Membership to the Royal Academy of Music (1984), Fellowship of the City of Leeds College of Music, (1993), an Hon. D.Litt. from the University of Hertfordshire and the Silver Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians (1997). He received the OBE in 1986. He has also received the following British Jazz Awards: Best Pianist (1992), Best Composer/Arranger ('93, '95, '97 &'99), Best Album Release (1993) and Best Small Group (1995). Under Milk Wood on the Blue Note label was voted Best Re-issue in '94. In 2002 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC.
Ignoring the lure of commercialism, Stan remained true to his musical roots and celebrated 50 years as a jazz pianist at a concert in the Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1993, (recorded on the famous blue Note label), and marked his 70th birthday with a 70th Anniversary Concert there in 1996. Now going from strength to strength, Stan, composer, band leader and solo performer, says, "somewhere deep inside the crusty old cynicism is still the bright-eyed lad thinking 'hey this is great!' ".
Stan has toured internationally, and in 1997 was invited by the British Council in Hong Kong to perform a specially commissioned work for the Octet during the run-up to the hand-over of the Colony to China. His much acclaimed performance was the last official concert at Government House, and resulted in an invitation to visit and give a concert in Beijing and Guangzhou - the first time a jazz musician had received an official invitation to perform in mainland China.
Stan's CD Solo:Trio issued in 1998 received rave reviews in the national press. His quartet featuring Bobby Wellins has recorded a new CD, Comme D'habitude, available now on the Jazzizit label. The original highly acclaimed recording of Under Milk Wood has been re-issued by Jazzizit. His Quartet did a coast-to-coast tour of the Canadian Jazz festivals in June/July 2002, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival, followed by a special concert at the British Embassy in Washington DC at the invitation of the Ambassador, Sir Christopher Meyer.
With more than 150 scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company and an impressive list of credits with major European theatre companies, Guy Woolfenden's theatre music is highly regarded throughout the world. He has collaborated with some of the world's finest directors, designers and choreographers in many award-winning productions. Guy completed the Shakespeare canon with his score for the 1991 production of Two Gentlemen of Verona and has written music for every Shakespeare play in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
As a conductor, Guy has worked with many of the major British symphony orchestras. His operatic work includes three productions with Scottish Opera and, in London, the first British productions of Nielsen's Saul and David, Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans and Liszt's Don Sanche.
In collaboration with choreographer André Prokovsky, he has arranged the music for four full length ballets, which he has subsequently conducted in productions with The Australian Ballet, The Royal Ballet of Flanders, Hong Kong Ballet Company, Asami Maki Ballet, Tokyo, and Scottish Ballet. Guy conducted the acclaimed Russian premiere of Anna Karenina with the Kirov Ballet in St Petersburg.
Guy's compositions for wind orchestra are performed all over the world and much has been recorded on CD. He conducted the première of his most recent work for wind, Firedance, in Chicago in December 2003, and his Bassoon Concerto was featured at the International Double Reed Society Conference in Melbourne in July 2004. Guy is conductor of the Birmingham Conservatoire Wind Orchestra, which, under his direction, is considered one of the finest young wind orchestras in Europe. Future composition plans include commissions for two pieces for symphonic wind orchestra, a flute concerto, and a choral work. His Clarinet Concerto has recently been recorded by ASV, and there are plans to record his Shakespeare song settings.
Guy is chairman of the Denne Gilkes Memorial Fund, a charity which helps young musicians and drama students. He is a past president of the Incorporated Society of Musicians and a past chairman of the British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles. In 1990 he was awarded a Fellowship of the Birmingham Schools of Music for his services to music in the Midlands, is an Honorary Member of the London College of Music and an Honorary Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.