Arts Society Directory Day


Unfortunately our annual Arts Society gathering has been cancelled – shame, because it’s always great to catch up with colleagues, exchange ideas, and indeed get booked for lectures! In the meantime, do have a glance at the online version of my brochure, and if anything takes your fancy, do get in touch.

Southbank Sinfonia – a jazz exploration

Very excited indeed about a forthcoming project with the Southbank Sinfonia.  I’m bringing the orchestra together with jazz musicians from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama; together we’ll be exploring jazz in an orchestral context  – and you can hear the results in a free rush hour concert at St John’s Waterloo, London SE1 8TY  at 6:00pm on Thursday 20th May.  More details here.  

A project like this has been at the back of my mind for ages, and I suppose being both a classical and a jazz musician, there’s a certain inevitability about it – something like this had to happen sooner or later!  There’s been plenty of interest, and Bob Jones has made it the subject of a Classic FM Daily Arts Show podcast, which I’ll post separately. Meanwhile, here’s how it’s summarised in the press release:

Southbank Sinfonia will be joined by renowned jazz specialists Martin Hathaway and Sandy Burnett, and members of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama jazz department for a week-long project which explores jazz music in an orchestral setting. The project culminates in a special jazz Rush Hour concert at St John’s Waterloo, London on Thursday 20 May at 6pm. 

Conducted by Sandy Burnett, the evening’s concert will include a world premiere by Malcolm Edmonstone, with Martin Hathaway as alto saxophone soloist. The programme will also feature Bernstein’s On the Town: Three Dance Episodes and Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown and Beige Suite (arr. Peress).

 “Jazz and classical music are two forms that have always been close to my heart,” says Sandy Burnett. “While they usually inhabit different environments, in recent years I’ve become fascinated by how the two musical cultures can be brought together.  And I passionately believe that there’s so much that jazz and classical musicians can learn from each other. For this exciting project, I’ve hand-picked two classic American twentieth-century works which achieve a true synthesis of musical styles – with the jazz and classical elements working in, so to speak, perfect harmony.  Bernstein’s understanding of both the symphony orchestra and popular culture was second to none, and I hope that the chance to hear Duke Ellington’s powerful and uplifting masterpiece Black Brown and Beige, in an orchestral suite version sanctioned by the composer, will be an unforgettable experience.  As for Martin Hathaway and Malcolm Edmonstone, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to entice leading jazz musicians of their stature to join us for this project, as well as the students of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, an institution which blazed the trail for jazz education in this country.”



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