Founded in 1976, the Albion Ensemble has played an important role as one of the UK’s leading chamber ensembles in performing and promoting wind chamber music.
The Ensemble presents a wide range of repertoire for wind quintet, octet and larger formations and has toured extensively throughout the world, appearing at festivals and on radio and television. Major tours have been undertaken for the British Council including recitals, masterclasses and teaching in China, the Far East and India. The Ensemble has also performed in many European countries and in Richard Baker’s Festival at Sea for P&O. The Ensemble has collaborated with many distinguished performers including the pianists Vlado Perlemuter, George Malcolm, Martin Roscoe, Roger Vignoles and David Owen Norris.
The Albion Ensemble has broadcast frequently for BBC Radio 3 and appeared on both BBC and independent television including documentary films on Elizabeth Maconchy and Sir Robert Mayer. The Ensemble’s eight recordings cover music for wind quintet, piano and wind quintets and a range of harmoniemusik releases including Mozart’s Gran Partita K361. Besides concert performances, the Ensemble has given many performances for young audiences and has undertaken courses and masterclasses for students. The Albion Ensemble has been involved in a number of premieres including works by Elizabeth Maconchy, Wilfred Josephs and Jim Parker.
The Albion Ensemble original membership was Philippa Davies, flute; George Caird, oboe; Andrew Marriner, clarinet; Robert Martin, horn and Jeremy Ward, bassoon, but over the years these players have been succeeded by Michael Cox (flute), Angela Malsbury, clarinet, Jonathan Williams, horn, Peter Francomb, horn, Felix Warnock, bassoon and Gareth Newman, bassoon. Other players to have appeared with the Ensemble include Helen Keen, flute, Victoria Wood, oboe, Katie Clemmow, oboe, Christopher O’Neil, oboe, Colin Lawson, clarinet, Michael Harris, clarinet, Julian Holmes, clarinet, Michael Thompson, horn, Stephen Stirling, horn, Lawrence Perkins, bassoon and many more.
Members of the Albion Ensemble hold principal positions in leading orchestras in the UK or teaching posts in UK and European conservatoires.