BRASS ENSEMBLE OF OPERA NORTH
The Brass Ensemble of Opera North is a flexibly sized chamber ensemble, comprising of players from one of the United Kingdom’s most versatile orchestras.
The sextet features the ‘heavy end’ of the brass section, (two trumpets, three trombones and tuba), and performs a wide variety of music for many different audiences.
The group’s hugely varied repertoire comprises original works for brass, as well as transcriptions of all genres of music spanning four centuries. The Brass Ensemble of Opera North, invite you to sit back and enjoy an evening of highly polished, entertaining music.
Murray Greig – Trumpet
Murray studied at the RNCM with Howard Snell from 1984-1988, and after a year with the Orchestra of the Royal Ballet, was appointed Principal Trumpet with the Orchestra of Opera North in 1989. He has taught at the Royal Northern College of Music since 1989, and has given master-classes throughout Europe and America, as well as at leading British conservatoires and universities. Many of his former students now hold orchestral and teaching positions in the UK, Europe and the USA. He has also worked as trumpet professor for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain.
As well as numerous solo recitals and concerto appearances, Murray enjoys performing chamber music with the Brass Ensemble of Opera North, the Orfeo Trumpet Consort, the Golden Section (originally the Wallace Collection) and has recorded with the London Trumpet Sound.
He was for many years a member of the Board of Directors of the International Trumpet Guild and hosted the conference of the ITG at the RNCM in 2002. Murray also teaches at Chetham’s School of Music.
Michael Woodhead – Trumpet
Michael Woodhead joined the Orchestra of Opera North in 1978 as a founder member. Michael studied at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) with Cecil Kidd before embarking on a busy freelance period with the Halle, BBC Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras. During this time he also served as Principal Trumpet with the Scottish Ballet Orchestra and Guest Principal with the Ulster Orchestra. He was invited to join the Orchestra of Opera North as Sub Principal Trumpet at its inception and remains today one of the long serving founder members, playing Principal Trumpet in many of the Company’s productions and concerts. Michael teaches the trumpet at the Universities of Huddersfield and Leeds, having previously taught in the same capacity at the University of York. Michel acknowledges the importance of teaching students of all ages and has for many years been Trumpet Tutor with the National Childrens Orchestra of Great Britain. Michael has also acted as external examiner at Leeds College of Music and the RNCM, where he has also given classes.
Blair Sinclair – Trombone
Originally from New Zealand, Blair 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. He graduated with a DipRAM, the highest accolade awarded to performers. Blair then moved to Norway to take up the Principal Trombone position with the Stavanger Symfoniorkester, a position he held for nearly 3 years. Following this, Blair moved back to England to join the Orchestra of Opera North as Principal Trombone in 2012.
Blair has performed as guest Principal Trombone with many other orchestras in Britain, including the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Halle, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia and English National Opera.
Robert Burtenshaw – Trombone
Originally from Scarborough, Rob was started on the trombone by Joe Blewitt. After having lessons with Neville Roberts, he was awarded a place at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, where he was taught by Peter Leary. He then went to the Royal College of Music as an Exhibitioner and was taught by Arthur Wilson. During his final year he won the Arthur Sommerville Brass Prize and gained the ARCM diploma with honours. Whilst in London he freelanced with the ECO , Oxford Pro Musica, and played in a number of West End shows.
In 1978 he joined the newly formed orchestra of Opera North as sub-principal trombone. He has freelanced with RLPO, BBC Philharmonic, Hallé, CBSO, Welsh Opera, LSO, RPO, He has played in the BBC Proms with the BBC Philharmonic, LSO and RPO, and has recorded Gabrielli with the LSO Brass.
Rob teaches at Chetham’s School of Music and Leeds University, and has also taught at schools such as Bingley Grammar and Giggleswick. He says he has learnt much from his pupils and has discovered useful teaching techniques from coaching adventure sports! When not playing the trombone, Rob can usually be found either hill walking, mountain biking or paragliding!
Christian Jones – Bass Trombone
Christian began playing the trombone at the age of ten, and continued under the guidance of the Staffordshire Music Service until entering the Royal Academy of Music in 1998. He was appointed to the bass trombone chair of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in 2001, and the BBC and RAM kindly enabled him to complete the four-year BMus course while working full time in Cardiff. Soon after graduating with first class honours in 2002 Christian moved back to London to join the Philharmonia Orchestra. He has been Principal Bass Trombone with the Orchestra of Opera North since 2012. He has also recently been President of the British Trombone Society (2013 – 2015).
Christian has worked in chamber groups such as the London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia and Soloists of the Philharmonia, as well as with the CBSO, London Philharmonic, BBC and London Symphony Orchestras. He has coached and conducted in Cambridge and Zaragoza and given several classes and masterclasses at the Royal Academy, Royal College, Royal Welsh College and Trinity Colleges of Music.
In 2008 Christian recorded and premiered Gareth Wood’s bass trombone concerto with the National Youth Brass Band of Wales. Other solo engagements have included pre-concert performances at the Royal Festival Hall and an illustrated lecture on the development of the trombone and its role within ensembles.
In addition to numerous UK private pupils, he coaches regularly on The Brass Academy (UK) courses and teaches at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
Brian Kingsley – Tuba / Cimbasso
Brian studied the tuba at the Royal College of Music Junior Department with Patrick Harrild of the LSO. He then went on to study there full time with John Jenkins of the Philharmonia Orchestra.
On completing his studies, he was appointed Principal Tuba with the Orchestra of Opera North as a founder member of the orchestra in 1978. Since then he has also performed with most of the other Symphony Orchestras and Opera Companies around the country.
Brian teaches the tuba at the Royal Northern College of Music and Chetham’s School of Music, as well as having been brass teacher and Ampleforth College for more than 30 years.