Anton Hunter co-runs The Noise Upstairs, a Manchester and Sheffield-based improvisation night and performs regularly with improvisational groups including Takahashi's Shellfish Concern. He is also interested in the blending of improvisation and composition, and explores this boundary in his quartet 'Haq.' With The Beats & Pieces Big Band he recently won the European Young Jazz Award. Currently Anton is exploring solo performing, and is booking a short UK tour in September, his first as a soloist.
Richard Knight is a sonic and computational artist, usually working and performing with digital equipment. However he has established himself as a practitioner of the no-input mixer, a subverted device which allows eccentric analogue feedback to be harnessed in an often precise and diverse manner. His first complete mixer-based album was released via Concrete Moniker in 2010 (www.concretemoniker.co.uk), and investigates instrumental techniques of utilising audio mixers in a tonal context.
Knight also has an interest in forging relationships between acousmatic music and popular electronic music - in this vein he has a forthcoming EP on the French experimental/techno label Logistic.
Richard co-curates the Manchester based bi-monthly electroacoustic/free improvisation event 'Electronic Organica'.
Ian Vine is the composer of over 5000 individual works and other pieces.
Rodrigo Constanzo is a Spanish-American performer and composer living in Manchester, England. He is an avid improviser and performs regularly using home made electro-acoustic, and modified electronic instruments. He has performed at the FUTURESONIC and Manchester Jazz Festivals in Manchester, the SOUND Festival in Aberdeen, and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. He has released several CDs including an improv duo CD with Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, and most recently, I AM YOUR DENSITY, a large ensemble improv composition which includes the graphic score with it. He is currently working towards an MA in Electroacoustic Composition at the University of Manchester and involved in several projects including Takahashi’s Shellfish Concern, an improv based performance-art group. He also co-runs The Noise Upstairs, an improv collective and label which puts on monthly nights and quarterly workshops in Manchester and Sheffield.
Bethan Roberts – Oboe/Cor Anglais, studied music at Manchester University, and then at the RNCM. Since then she has enjoyed a varied career as a freelance oboist, from playing with major orchestras, such as Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the BBC Philharmonic, to performing on a tour with Il Divo. Chamber music has always been a huge part of her musical life and she is a member of several groups, giving regular recitals and workshops. Recent highlights have included a trip to Dijon, France in May 2011 with Manchester Reed Trio, as special guests on a European Exchange of Reed Trios, where they performed a newly commissioned work ‘Obsidian’ by Norman Skipp. Bethan is also a keen composer and arranger, having had a student composition performed by the Lindsay String Quartet. Improvisation has become an additional musical interest and Bethan regularly frequents The Noise Upstairs. Also Bethan has had the pleasure of performing with _scape at their last two performances in Chorlton Arts Festival.
Abigail Sanders (Based in Greater Manchester) is a french horn player, improviser and composer. Born in Sussex in 1987 and started playing the French Horn aged 9 with East Berkshire music service. She was offered an entrance award to study at the Royal Northern College of Music in 2005.
She does freelance work performing with orchestras nationally including Dartington Festival Orchestra, Skipton Camerata, Chamaleon Arts Orchestra (Harrogate), St Johns Chamber Orchestra (Maidenhead) and Manchester, Lancaster and Keele University Orchestras.
Manchester’s vibrant experimental music scene has enabled Abigail to explore avenues outside classical tradition. An experienced improviser, she is a key member of ensemble Ecosonics. She has recently been awarded a Cornerhouse Micro Commission to collarborate with visual artist Neemita Dabhi as part of Take the Floor; an interactive visual and sound art performance combining South Asian floor art / Rangoli, and live improvised music at the Manchester Mega Mela Festival
Philippe Schwartz - Euphonium, began his musical training at the age of seven at the Conservatoire de Musique de Luxembourg. A year later he started Euphonium lessons in the class of Patrick Krysatis and subsequently passed final examinations in Theory, Harmony, Euphonium and Chamber music at Luxembourg Conservatoire. In 2004 Philippe decided to further his musical education at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where he completed both a BMus (hons) and a MMus with distinction under the tuition of Euphonium-pioneer Steven Mead.
While at College, Philippe was made a finalist in the 2007 and 2009 RNCM Concerto Auditions as well as securing a place at the prestigious RNCM Gold Medal Weekend in 2008. In 2007 he got through to the Semi-Final stage of the European Brass Band Championships Solo Competition held in Birmingham. In 2009 Philippe was the first brass player in the history of the RNCM to gain a perfect 100% score in his final Masters performance recital, which gained him the ‘Harry Mortimer Memorial Trust’ Brass Student of the Year Award.
Since moving to the UK, Philippe has had a busy performance schedule as a soloist and band player. He has performed solo recitals in Luxembourg, Norway and England and has appeared as guest soloist with the Luxembourg Conservatoire Wind Orchestra, the Luxembourg Military Band, the RNCM Brass Band and Wind Orchestra to name a few. In 2007 Philippe was invited to perform Philip Wilby’s Euphonium concerto with the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra.
In the brass band world, Philippe was appointed the second Euphonium seat at the world renowned Grimethorpe Colliery Band in 2006. This position enabled him to extensively perform throughout the UK well as attend two European Brass Band Championships. During his spell at the Grimethorpe, Philippe won two National and two English Championship titles. Since September 2009 Philippe holds the Principal Euphonium seat at the Leyland Band.
Philippe now mainly works as a Euphonium soloist and a low brass tutor as well as chamber musician with his Tuba-Euphonium Quartet Bass Elements. Besides his soloistic work within the brass band, Philippe regularly guests with professional symphony orchestras in the North West of England such as the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester.
Gill Ripley - Violin. Originally from Kent, Gill began learning the violin at the age of six. After gaining a scholarship to study with the Lindsay String Quartet at Manchester University, Gill studied for her MusM degree at the Royal Northern College of Music. Following her studies Gill was awarded a place with Southbank Sinfonia, which included the opportunity to play Bruch’s Violin Concerto with the orchestra. After leaving Southbank Sinfonia, Gill now enjoys a varied career; working with many different orchestras around the UK including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Ballet, BBC Philharmonic and the Ulster Orchestra. Recent solo performances include Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Sibelius’ Violin Concerto and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante. Gill is passionate about chamber music and is a member of many ensembles, including Strata Strings which can be heard on Friday 27th May in St Clements Church at 1pm.
Ben Cottrell is a composer and saxophonist currently based in Manchester. He studied on the prestigious Joint Course between the University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music, where his principal study was contemporary classical saxophone. Ben received numerous prizes and awards during his time at the RNCM, including performing a Highly Commended recital during the college’s Gold Medal Weekend (its highest platform for solo performance).
Ben is the musical director of the Beats & Pieces Big Band, which he founded in 2008 as a vehicle for his own compositions and arrangements, and since then the band has established a reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting emerging jazz groups. In March 2011, Beats & Pieces were named as the winners of the European Young Artists’ Jazz Award, one of the continent’s major jazz prizes for emerging musicians, held as part of the Burghausen International Jazz Festival in Germany. The band have also received glowing 4 star reviews from both The Guardian and The Times for their live performances, and will be recording a live album at Manchester's iconic Band on the Wall venue in June 2011 for release in the autumn. The album will be released on Efpi Records, an independent label which Ben co-founded and co-runs.
Ben was extremely proud to be selected as one of the participants for the seventh edition of the prestigious ‘Take Five’ professional development scheme in 2010/11, aimed at ‘the UK’s most talented emerging creative jazz musicians’. The scheme is produced by Serious and funded by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, the PRS for Music Foundation, Arts Council England and the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.