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James Pearson appointed as Musician in Residence at Girton College

James Pearson performing piano

Girton College is delighted to announce that James Pearson, Artistic Director at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, has joined the College as Musician in Residence from 1 April 2023.

James is an internationally renowned musician whose work covers all genres of music, especially jazz. Among the many people James has worked with are Paul McCartney, Robbie Williams, Gregory Porter, Rufus Wainwright, Nigel Kennedy, Ray Davies, and Joss Stone. He graduated from the Guildhall School of Music where he studied with Robert Saxton, Francis Shaw, Peter Bithell, and James Gibb and performed regularly with the symphony orchestra.

The Mistress, Dr Elisabeth Kendall, said:

“This is a fantastic appointment. James is an extraordinarily talented jazz musician at the very top of his profession. It’s wonderful to see music at Girton going from strength to strength.”

James Pearson said:

“I absolutely love Girton College. When I first performed there with Tim Boniface I felt wonderfully inspired. Girton has a fun, forward-thinking energy that fits really well with the type of music I perform. I am delighted to assume this position and look forward greatly to performing at the College, working alongside students and staff, and generally enjoying being creative in such beautiful surroundings. I hope to be able to lead some memorable and unusual collaborations with musicians and artists of all types over the coming years.”

College Chaplain and Jazz musician, Rev'd Dr Tim Boniface said:

“James Pearson is a jazz musician of the highest calibre whose technical prowess and enviable list of world-class collaborators is matched by his energy, knowledge of the tradition and enthusiasm for jazz education. Playing jazz with James is always a great pleasure, and I am delighted that he is becoming a member of the community here at Girton, where I have no doubt that he will be a great asset to our already flourishing musical culture. It is a great joy to welcome him as a Musician in Residence.”

James joins our other exceptionally talented Musicians in Residence: Andrew Kennedy, Jeremy West, and Nicholas Mulroy. More information about these musicians can be found below.

In case you missed it during the Coronation weekend, here is a fabulous jazz version of the UK national anthem performed by James at Cadogan Hall.

Andrew is a celebrated tenor. He has won numerous awards including the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Recital Prize. He studied at King’s College, Cambridge and the Royal College of Music in London. He was a member of the Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Passionate about song repertoire, Andrew gives numerous recitals in Europe and the UK and appears regularly with the pianists Julius Drake, Roger Vignoles, Iain Burnside and Malcolm Martineau.

His operatic roles include Tamino in The Magic Flute (English National Opera); Flute in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal Opera, Covent Garden); Jacquino in Fidelio (Glyndebourne Festival); Ferrando in Così fan tutte (Glyndebourne Touring Opera); Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore (Opera North); Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress (La Scala, La Monnaie and Opéra de Lyon and released on DVD); Vere in Billy Budd (for his Houston Grand Opera debut), Tito in La Clemenza di Tito (Opéra de Lyon), Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Opéra National de Lyon), Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw (Houston Grand Opera), Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Welsh National Opera), Flamand in Capriccio (Grange Park Opera), Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia for Den Norske Opera and Max in Der Freischütz for Opéra Comique, Paris under Sir John Eliot Gardiner.

Concert engagements include Francesco in Benvenuto Cellini and Mozart’s Requiem for the LSO/Sir Colin Davis (recorded for the LSO Live); Tom Rakewell in The Rake’s Progress (Stresa Festival/Noseda), Orfeo in Haydn’s Orfeo e Euridice (Boston Handel and Haydn Society/Norrington); Finzi’s Intimations of Immortality (BBCSO/Daniel); Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (Netherlands Philharmonic/Colin Davis); and Podesta in La Finta Giardiniera (AAM/Egarr). Performances of Britten include Nocturne (BBC National Orchestra of Wales), Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (CBSO, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and at the BBC Proms with the Nash Ensemble/Edward Gardner) and Les Illuminations (Edinburgh Festival).

Andrew was Acting Director of Chapel Music and Assistant Director of College Music for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Jeremy has a distinguished playing career which has taken him to 28 countries. He is a founder member of His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts – the leading ensemble of its kind – and is Principal Wind Player with the Gabrieli Consort and Players for their earlier repertoire. He has more than 60 recordings to his credit.

He teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in their Historic Performance and Brass departments. In his spare time he plays Eb Horn – an instrument about which he is passionate – for the City of Cambridge Brass Band.

Since the mid 1970s, he has been an evangelist for the cornett (the often-overlooked wind instrument which was held in highest esteem during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries). He played a leading role in re-establishing this instrument as a recognised and accepted virtuoso and ensemble instrument, and he now has thirty-five years of top-class playing and recording experience with many of Europe’s leading renaissance and early baroque ensembles. Jeremy has on several occasions been acclaimed a ‘pioneer’ of his instrument.

Since 1991 Jeremy has directed the instrument-making workshops of the late Christopher Monk. These workshops are devoted to the research, development, reproduction and world-wide distribution of all instruments in the cornett and serpent families. Examples of the workshop’s output, and in particular the extraordinarily popular resin cornett – an instrument which has inspired and enabled the majority of today’s players – may be found from New York to New Zealand, Scandinavia to South America.

Nick was first drawn to Girton by the quality of the other musical teaching personnel, thinking that if they worked here, the College must have something really rather special going on.

He is a professional tenor, singing throughout Europe and beyond, as a soloist with some of the music world’s leading conductors and orchestras. Previously, Nick directed Girton’s Chapel Choir (2011-2014), which deputise for Cathedral Choirs around the country – visiting Canterbury, York and Lichfield and the Choir toured abroad once a year.

He also played an active role in College music, and collaborated with the other musicians, to provide Girton with a rich and varied a musical landscape.

Photograph © Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club