Alastair Penman

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About Alastair

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Award winning saxophonist, clarinetist and composer who has toured in the UK and globally. BBC Introducing, CMF, PLG and LMN Artist.

Hailed as a “pioneering instrumentalist and writer” and praised for his “surpassingly beautiful music” and “undoubtedly brilliant mind”, British saxophonist Alastair Penman is a dynamic and versatile performer and composer, presenting contemporary music in new and exciting ways. Having earned masters’ degrees in both Information and Computer Engineering (University of Cambridge) and Saxophone Performance (Royal Northern College of Music), Alastair has a strong interest in the fusion of live saxophone performance with electronic effects, backings, and enhancements to create often previously undiscovered sound-worlds. Although classically trained, Alastair enjoys exploring many musical worlds; such influences can be heard in his compositions and performances, which often transcend genre definition. As a soloist, Alastair has performed at venues including Milton Court Concert Hall, Trinity and St Catharine’s College Chapels (Cambridge), The Forge, and the Concert Hall and Carole Nash Recital Room at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has also made numerous concerto appearances, including opening the 2012 Wycombe Arts Festival. Alastair has been a guest recitalist both at the RNCM and Canterbury Christ Church University Saxophone Days, presenting material from his debut album, Electric Dawn. In an ensemble setting, Alastair is soprano saxophonist with the award-winning Borealis Saxophone Quartet and has performed with the Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra, Ardente Opera, The Beethoven Ensemble, Ensemble BPM, and Cambridge Touring Opera. He has also appeared with jazz groups at Montreux and London Jazz Festivals, as well as at jazz clubs across Europe. Alastair has had the pleasure of working with conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Dimitry Sitkovetsky, Baldur Bronnimann, David Hill and Stephen Cleobury, and has performed with jazz greats Mike Gibbs, Clare Teal, Steve Waterman, Mark Nightingale, Gareth Lockrane, Julian Arguelles, Liane Carroll, Issie Barratt and John Helliwell. Alastair’s talents have been recognised with awards from the City Music Foundation, Countess of Munster Musical Trust, RNCM (Fewkes and Harwood Scholarships) and St. Catharine’s College. Alastair has also been a finalist in the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe and RNCM Gold Medal Competitions. Supported by the City Music Foundation, Alastair’s debut solo album, Electric Dawn, was released in November 2015 on Sospiro Records. The album features new compositions for saxophone and electronics and was produced by the legendary saxophonist John Harle. Critics have praised the playing as “exemplary”, “diamond-sharp, tonally burnished and singing free” and recognised that “each piece had a perfection of its own”, creating a “cohesive and triumphantly experimental debut”.

Performance details
I can perform outdoors
I have a car I can use to travel to gigs
I can perform with backing tracks
My equipment is PAT tested
I own a PA system
Classical, Film / TV music, Contemporary classical, Classical crossover, Musical theatre, Opera, Baroque, Christmas, Jazz, Modern jazz, Jazz fusion, Experimental, Avant garde, Light music, Originals, Easy listening, Pop, Covers, Funk, Motown
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Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Composer, Alto saxophone, Soprano saxophone, Tenor saxophone, Baritone saxophone
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Event types:
Concert, Wedding, Wedding proposal, Funeral / Memorial service, Church service, Private event, Corporate event, Charity event, Recording session, Theatre / Show, Cruise, Birthday party, Christmas party
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Other skills:
Arranger, Audio engineer, Composer, Orchestrator, Producer, Fluent sight-reader, Fluent improviser, Live looping, Instrumental teaching
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From customers:

Review D, 4 years ago

Alastair Penman created surpassingly beautiful music... The record is excellent...Each piece had a perfection of its own and the combination of sax and electronics never sounded cluttered but pure and diamond-sharp, tonally burnished and singing free on both instruments...Thanks to RNCM for a masterpiece of programming.

The P, 4 years ago

Penman is a pioneering instrumentalist and writer who is creating music that explores new territory. The use of electronic programming teases out new sounds within the conventional solo-saxophone canon, creating ethereal soundscapes and an all together surprising interplay throughout the record...He could go in many different directions from here, and the jazz/electronic/music world will be all the richer for it....There’s much to extract from this record, and equally much to enjoy as a cohesive and triumphantly experimental debut.

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From other musicians:

James McAulay
9th February 2016
James McAulay

I saw Alastair perform a recital at St Martin-in-the-Fields earlier today and was blown away by the ease with which he performed such virtuosic works. Stage presence was natural and assured, and tone was beautiful. Looking forward to hearing him again in the future.