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19 June 2024
Windows: Works for Trombone composed and conducted by Benjamin Ellin

Joseph Alessi, Christian Jones, Blaire Sinclair (trombone)
Orchestra of Opera North
Benjamin Ellin (conductor)

Windows is a unique  album from award-winning British composer and conductor Benjamin Ellin. Uniting three of the world’s leading trombonists: Joseph Alessi; Christian Jones, and Blair Sinclair with the Orchestra of Opera North under the direction of Benjamin Ellin, Windows offers an intimate exploration  of Ellin’s music for trombone. 
 
This new release features two concerti , Pandora for tenor trombone and orchestra (soloist Joseph Alessi) and Gresley for bass trombone and orchestra (soloist Christian Jones). Also showcased are a standalone trio, 'Stow Sketches, and a kaleidoscopic world premiere for trombone trio and orchestra, Windows. 
 
The album was the brainchild of Christian and Benjamin following the world premiere of Gresley in 2021 with the Orchestra of Opera North: the first bass trombone concerto ever commissioned by a British orchestra. 
 
“The reception after the performance was really positive, so the next logical step was to take the orchestra into the studio and record it alongside Benjamin’s other outstanding trombone compositions. We wanted this album to challenge the many preconceptions about my ‘endangered species’ instrument and help to promote it as a dextrous solo voice in an ensemble”, explained Christian. 
 
Christian and Benjamin dreamed of this collaboration since meeting in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in 1996, while the relationship between trombone legend Joseph Alessi and Benjamin began when he was awarded the Barlow Endowment Prize for Composition in 2009 and was commissioned to write a new concerto for Alessi. 
 
“The two main concerti are different in genesis but both are based around the brilliance of the soloists I have been afforded the chance to work with” stated Ellin. “That alone, for any composer would be a dream, but to cleanse the musical palette on the album with the two trios was an absolute treat and I hope the audience really enjoy the journey.”

£12.25
MPR006CD

Benjamin Ellin: Pandora: Concerto for tenor trombone and orchestra

I. Discovery

II. The Deception of Fate

III. Nocturne, Renaissance

IV. Finale

Benjamin Ellin: 'Stow Sketches: Trombone trio

I. Hoe Street Demons

II. William Morris Nocturne

III. 'Pound a Bowl'

Benjamin Ellin: Gresley: Concerto for bass trombone and orchestra

I. Part 1

II. Part 2

Benjamin Ellin: Windows: Trombone trio with orchestra

Recorded in the Mantle Music Studio, Howard Opera Centre, Opera North, Leeds UK on 22nd-24th November 2022
Design: Hannah Whale, Fruition Creative Concepts
Recording Engineer: Ben Connellan
Recording Producer: Mike Purton
Executive Producer: Christian Jones
Total Time: 64:26
Release Date: July 2023

Joseph AlessiJoseph Alessi was appointed Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 1985. He began musical studies in his native California with his father, Joseph Alessi Sr. As a high school student in San Rafael, California, he was a soloist with the San Francisco Symphony before continuing his musical training at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music. Prior to joining the Philharmonic, Mr. Alessi was Second Trombone of The Philadelphia Orchestra for four seasons, and Principal Trombone of L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal for one season. In addition, he has performed as guest Principal Trombonist with the London Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall led by Pierre Boulez.

Composed especially for Mr. Alessi, he performed the world premiere of the Chick Corea Trombone Concerto with the Säo Paulo Symphony Orchestra in August of 2021. In May of 2023 he performed the US premiere with the New York Philharmonic.

Mr. Alessi is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School; his students now occupy posts with many major symphony orchestras in the U.S. and internationally.

Further information about Mr. Alessi can be found on his website, www.slidearea.com. Mr. Alessi plays exclusively on a Shires-Alessi model trombone.

Christian JonesOpera North bass and contrabass trombonist Christian Jones began playing at the age of ten,
progressing through the excellent Staffordshire, Midland and National Youth Orchestras. Appointed
to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 2001, aged twenty, Christian graduated from London’s
Royal Academy of Music with first class honours the following year. A month later, he joined the
Philharmonia Orchestra and spent a decade recording soundtracks and performing around 150
concerts per year across the world. Since relocating to Yorkshire with his young family in 2012,
Christian continues to work internationally, with recent faculty appearances across Europe. Launched in 2017 as a study aid for students, Christian’s YouTube channel currently features over 100 videos of solo works, technical advice and orchestral and operatic excerpts. He is using the footage as part of a performance-based PhD at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, where he has also taught since 2015.

In October 2021, he gave the world premiere of the first ever bass trombone concerto commissioned by a professional British orchestra for one of its members: Benjamin Ellin’s Gresley with the Orchestra of Opera North.

Aside from music, Christian can often be found running in mountains and swimming in cold seas!

Blair SinclairOriginally from New Zealand, Blair completed his undergraduate studies at Victoria University
of Wellington with tutors David Bremner and Marc Taddei. During this time he won the Second
Trombone position with Orchestra Wellington, and worked with the Auckland Philharmonia
and New Zealand Symphony Orchestras. He moved to the United Kingdom in 2005 where he
completed a Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London under tutors Ian Bousfield,
Denis Wick and Dudley Bright. After graduating with a DipRAM, the highest accolade awarded to performers, Blair moved to Norway to take up the Solo Trombone position with the Stavanger Symfoniorkester. He returned to England in 2012 to join the Orchestra of Opera North as Principal Trombone, where he has also recently performed the Martin Ballade and Rota Trombone Concerto. He has performed as guest Principal Trombone with many of Britain’s orchestras, including the London Symphony, Royal Opera House, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and Hallé orchestras.

Benjamin EllinAward-winning and critically acclaimed British conductor and composer Benjamin Ellin is currently co-founder and Musical Director of De Mowbray Music, Music Director of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, co-founder, conductor and composer of the contemporary-fusion ensemble Tafahum and Principal Conductor of the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra. Benjamin is also a founding trustee of the Evgeny Svetlanov Charitable Trust.

Benjamin has received commissions from orchestras and organisations across the world and in a variety of genres. Examples include his Symphony No. 1 which was premiered in 2022 under Dmitri Jurowski, his oratorio One Before Zero, to commemorate the centenary of WW1 which was premiered in Amiens (France) in 2016 before being performed across Europe and he has also penned scores for independent films, cross-genre collaborations and many concerti, including the two featured on this album.

Ellin’s belief in a musical world without boundaries is equalled by a tireless commitment as a Music Director and as a guest artist with leading ensembles across the globe. From 2006-2010 Benjamin was also Music Director of Pembroke Academy of Music in London, which provides vital musical education and opportunities to the young members of the Walworth community, London.

Orchestra of Opera NorthThe Orchestra of Opera North holds a unique place amongst British orchestras. Universally praised by audiences and critics alike, it is the only ensemble in the country to have a year-round dual role in the opera house and concert hall.

In addition to the Company’s regular opera seasons, the Orchestra plays a significant part in the major concert series of the region, including working with Kirklees Council to curate the Kirklees Concert Season based in Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Halls. Long-standing relationships with other city institutions see the Orchestra performing regular concerts of major symphonic repertoire, gala concerts and collaborating with the region’s choral societies, as well as performing annually alongside pop legends from the 80s and 90s in Leeds Millennium Square. It is the resident orchestra for the Leeds Conductors Competition and plays in Leeds University’s International Concert Season.

The Orchestra is committed to nurturing the skills of the musicians of the future through its work with the Education team, including mentoring members of the Opera North Youth Orchestra, a preprofessional ensemble for young instrumentalists at sixth form and university. It also actively connects with new audiences and performs family-friendly and relaxed concerts throughout the year.

MPR006     View Booklet     UPC: 5060742690445

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