Alexander Hawkins, Elaine Mitchener Quartet, Niel Charles & Stephen Davis

Biography Alexander Hawkins, Elaine Mitchener Quartet, Niel Charles & Stephen Davis

Alexander Hawkins
is a composer, pianist, organist, and bandleader who is ‘unlike anything else in modern creative music’ (Ni Kantu) and whose recent work has reached a ‘dazzling new apex’ (Downbeat). A largely self-taught improviser, he works in a vast array of creative contexts. His own highly distinctive soundworld is forged through the search to reconcile both his love of free improvisation and profound fascination with composition and structure.

His writing has been said to represent ‘a fundamental reassertion of composition within improvised music’ (Point of Departure), and his voice one of the ‘most vividly modern jazz’ (The Jazzmann).

As a pianist, he has been described as ‘remarkable...possessing staggering technical ability and a fecund imagination as both player and composer.’ Concerning his organ playing, critic Brian Morton recently commented that ‘[t]he most interesting Hammond player of the last decade and more, [Hawkins] has already extended what can be done on the instrument.’

An in-demand sideman, Hawkins continues to be heard live and on record with vast array of contemporary leaders of all generations, including the likes of Evan Parker, John Surman, Joe McPhee, Mulatu Astatke, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Braxton, Marshall Allen, Han Bennink, Hamid Drake, Rob Mazurek, Taylor Ho Bynum, Harris Eisenstadt, Matana Roberts, and Shabaka Hutchings, amongst many others. He has also been noted for a number of years for his performances in the bands of legendary South African drummer, Louis Moholo-Moholo.

In 2012, he was chosen as a member of the first edition of the London Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Soundhub’ scheme for young composers. He also received a major BBC commission in late 2012 for a fifty minute composition: One Tree Found was first performed and broadcast in March 2013, and was subsequently performed and broadcast for the WDR in Cologne (2014). He has also twice been commissioned by the London Jazz Festival (once as composer, once as an arranger), and by the Cheltenham Jazz Festival (2016). He was named 'Instrumentalist of the Year' in the 2016 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

Concert appearances have taken him to major club, concert and festival stages worldwide.

Elaine Mitchener
is a classically trained singer whose musical experience covers gospel, jazz and free-improvisation and contemporary new music. She has performed/ recorded with the London Improvisers Orchestra, Henry Grimes, Christian Marclay, David Toop, Steve Beresford, Phil Minton, Max Eastley and Maggie Nicholls. Music theatre productions include Muziektheater Transparant’s “Century Songs” project directed by Wouter Van Looy and David Moss, the role of Euphrosine for David Toop’s opera “Star-Shaped Biscuit” at the Aldeburgh Festival and “OF LEONARDO DA VINCI…” (a collaboration with David Toop and filmmaker Barry Lewis) in Venice 2010. In March 2012 she will perform the THREE HORATIAN SONGS by Heiner Goebbels conducted by Diego Masson.

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