Eric Crees is one of the most distinguished trombonists, arrangers and educators in the UK. He was Co-Principal Trombone in the London Symphony Orchestra for twenty-seven years and from 2000 until 2020 was Section Principal Trombone with the Orchestra of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He has played on many of the most iconic film tracks, including the first four 'Star Wars', 'Superman' 1&2, 'Harry Potter' 1,2&3, 'Braveheart', 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and dozens more.
Eric has taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London since 1977 and in 2014 was awarded two prestigious honours, Conferment to Professor at the Guildhall and the International Trombone Association's Neil Humfeld Award for Teaching Excellence. He is internationally recognised as a conductor and arranger of brass music at the highest level and has been the Musical Director of London Symphony Orchestra Brass and the Brass Soloists of the Royal Opera House and made seven CDs with them, mainly of his own compositions, arrangements and editions. He is now Artistic Director of his own group, The Symphonic Brass of London and has released two albums with them, 'A Bridge across the Pyrenees' and 'Preludes, Rags and Cakewalks'.
For more information see the two websites: ericcrees.co.uk , thesymphonicbrassoflondon.com
Ian Rae started playing the trombone at Manchester Grammar School when he was 14, and within two years auditioned successfully for the National Youth Orchestra where he first met Eric Crees. A highlight of that period was a performance of Le Sacre du Printemps under Pierre Boulez. After studying electronics and computing at the University of Durham he joined the BBC as an audio technician, quickly rising to the rank of senior TV sound mixer and ultimately Head of Sound at BBC Pebble Mill (now long demolished!). Although he was a founder member of Birmingham-based Gemini Brass and continued to lead its trombone section and undertake theatre work in the evenings and casual engagements at weekends, during the day he was unfulfilled behind a desk away from artists and producers and moved to a music production role in Local Radio giving air time to performers who had not enjoyed any before.
His experience of helping young rock musicians to tune their guitars led him to his second career as a peripatetic teacher for Birmingham City Council in the prosperous days when it boasted an in-house brass department of fifty staff. He was soon conducting on Saturday mornings and spent fifteen years with the Birmingham Schools' Concert Band, a 60-strong outfit for which he wrote dozens of arrangements all of which are now archived on the Merritts Hill Music website, along with the further ten-piece arrangements he made for Gemini Brass.
In February 2020 his Pacific Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra received its première in Birmingham to favourable reviews.
Since the eighties when he acquired his first alto trombone, he has avidly promoted its use not only in all cases where orchestral composers intended it, but in ensemble playing too.