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Alison Balsom

About this Artist

Alison Balsom has performed with some of the greatest conductors and orchestras of our time, including Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Roger Norrington, l’Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York and London Philharmonic orchestras, and has appeared as soloist at the Last Night of the BBC Proms. She regularly collaborates with some of the world’s leading chamber ensembles, including the Academy of Ancient Music, Il Pomo d’Oro, The English Concert, and most recently, The Balsom Ensemble (a handpicked group of leading Baroque soloists). Alison is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including Gramophone Artist of the Year, the Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Award, three Echo Klassik Awards, and three Classic BRIT awards (two of which as Female Artist of the Year).

Alison studied trumpet at both the Paris Conservatoire and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and, in addition to her honorary doctorates from Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Leicester, she is now an Honorary Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Guildhall. Alison regularly teaches masterclasses worldwide, including at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute. In addition to her busy performing schedule, Alison has previously given a TED talk, entitled “Music as a Healer” and a lecture at Somerville College, Oxford University on “Women in the Arts.” A passionate advocate of the importance of music education, she is also an ambassador for the BBC’s Ten Pieces project.

In 2013, Alison conceived and then became creative producer and protagonist of the critically acclaimed production Gabriel at Shakespeare’s Globe in London – a project that Alison revived in concert at the Barbican in October 2019 as part of her residency at Milton Court, London. Other projects that form part of her season as Artist in Residence include Miles Davis’ Sketches of Spain with Guildhall Jazz Orchestra, a virtuosic and experimental program of Purcell and Birtwistle with Britten Sinfonia, and an “In Conversation” event with trumpet legend Wynton Marsalis. Further highlights of 2019/20 include performances with Music of the Baroque in Chicago conducted by Jane Glover, the Academy of Ancient Music, and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Passionate about pushing the boundaries of her instrument, Alison has had numerous concertos written especially for her. She gave the world premiere of Guy Barker’s Lanterne of Light at the BBC Proms, and she includes Thea Musgrave’s Trumpet Concerto, Bramwell Tovey’s Songs of the Paradise Saloon, and Qigang Chen’s Joie Eternelle amongst her repertoire. Recent career highlights include residencies at the Wigmore Hall and Cambridge Corn Exchange, concerto performances with the New York Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre National de Toulouse, as well European tours with the Kammerorchester Basel, Zurich Chamber Orchestra. and The Balsom Ensemble.

From 2018 to 2019, Alison was Artistic Director of Cheltenham Music Festival, where she curated a season that brought together the London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Academy of Ancient Music alongside soloists Nicola Benedetti, Jess Gillam, and Danielle de Niese. A hugely ambitious programmer, Alison’s 2019 festival included no fewer than 20 new commissions (and subsequently, world premieres) and included music by Ruth Gipps, Kaija Saariaho, James MacMillan, Lili Boulanger, Oliver Knussen, and many more.

Building upon her rich recording catalogue for EMI Classics and later Warner Classics of over 12 solo albums, Alison’s latest recording entitled Royal Fireworks was released on the Warner Classics label in November 2019. In December 2019, she toured the album to Germany, with stops including the Konzerthaus, Berlin; Alte Oper, Frankfurt; and Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg.