Saxophonist and composer Trish Clowes has been described as “an improviser to be reckoned with” (Downbeat Magazine) and “one of the most agile and original jugglers of improv and adventurous composition to have appeared in the UK in recent times” (John Fordham, the Guardian). A BASCA British Composer Award winner and former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, Clowes has received critical acclaim for all five of her releases for Basho Records, the last two featuring her My Iris quartet with Chris Montague (guitar), Ross Stanley (piano and Hammond organ) and James Maddren (drums). Hailed as “the jazz of the future” (Augsburger Allgemaine) the band have toured and performed worldwide, including appearances at Rochester International Jazz Festival (US), Toronto Jazz Festival, the Barbican (EFG London Jazz Festival), the National Opera House (Wexford), Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Galway Jazz Festival, Turner Sims, Women in (e)motion Festival and the Stadthaus Ulm. They have also recorded broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and Radio Bremen.
Born on May 11th 1984, Clowes was raised in Shrewsbury, Shropshire and moved to London in 2003 to study at the Royal Academy of Music, notably with saxophonist Iain Ballamy and composer Pete Churchill. Clowes was later honoured as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (2013). Clowes’ first album ‘Tangent’ (2010) was noted for its “promise – and ambitious vision” (Guardian), featuring her band of the same name, special guest pianist Gwilym Simcock and an orchestra conducted by Jules Buckley. ‘And in the night-time she is there’ (2012), her second, featured an improvising string quartet lead by Thomas Gould and Clowes recorded her “highly individual” (Schweiz am Sonntag) third album ‘Pocket Compass’ in 2014, working with the BBC Concert Orchestra on three tracks.
Clowes has been commissioned by BBC Radio 3 on two occasions to write for the BBC Concert Orchestra and one work (‘The Fox, the Parakeet and the Chestnut’) went on to win her a BASCA British Composer Award in 2015. Other significant achievements include a television appearance as part of BBC Proms Extra, a songs project called Under Your Wing with vocalist Norma Winstone and guitarist Mike Walker (broadcast on BBC Radio 3, 2014), solo appearances with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Celtic Connections 2014) and Northern Sinfonia, a debut at Wigmore Hall (2015) with the Heath Quartet and Gwilym Simcock and commissions for Onyx Brass and London Sinfonietta. Alongside her work as a performer and composer Clowes has been curating her own new music project Emulsion since 2012.
After an inspirational experience at the Banff International Jazz Workshop (2015, curated by Vijay Iyer), Clowes decided to research Emulsion’s potential as an immersive performance space and is currently a PhD candidate at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire with a STEAM Scholarship. Her supervisory team includes Dr Nicholas Gebhardt, Dr Joe Cutler, Dr Tony Whyton, Dr Vijay Iyer and Fiona Talkington.
The work of a musician goes beyond the stage and Clowes is passionate about her roles as professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and ambassador for the charity Donate4Refugees.
“This is British Jazz at its best…I assure you she is a great, great talent.” Jamie Cullum
“The music is ambitious, fresh and experimental. Trish is a talent to watch” Julian Joseph
“Everything Clowes does has an invigorating purposefulness…” Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph
[above photo by Rose Hendry]