Music is something I enjoy sharing, and so I get a great deal of pleasure playing with various other musicians in a variety of professional ensembles. Below are details of my main current groups:
BINGHAM STRING QUARTET
I formed the Quartet back in 1985 while I was still a student at the Royal Academy of Music. It’s been at the forefront of my musical life now for over 20 years. We’ve recorded many CDs (some of which are available in my online shop), performed for radio and television, and toured worldwide. Our repertoire covers everything from Beethoven to Bartok, and from Mozart to Maconchy. We’ve given first performances of works by many young composers and have commissioned a variety of pieces over the years. The Quartet also runs several popular chamber music courses and gives school workshops. Please visit the Quartet website at binghamquartet.net
TOUCHABLE DREAMS with JEREMY HARMER
I have now performed three different shows with narrator and musician Jeremy Harmer: “Touchable Dreams”, a unique mix of poetry and music, a show to celebrate the work of Charles Dickens, and an evening of words and music based around “Pride and Prejudice”.
The extraordinary “Touchable Dreams” performance has already played to critical acclaim around the UK, as well as touring to many other countries including Slovenia, Mexico, Romania, Italy, America, Israel and Turkey! There is also a CD recording of “Touchable Dreams” available on iTunes or via my online shop.
Taking its title from a poem by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Touchable Dreams is an exploration of the symbiosis between the expressive beauty of words and the ethereal poetry of music. Both aim to express the passion, tenderness and agony of deep feeling, and when they complement each other, the effect can be extraordinarily intense.
Sometimes, in Touchable Dreams, words follow the music, echoing its plangent harmonies; at other times music follows the words, transforming their individual power into raw emotion. And sometimes the words and the music are intertwined in an almost physical interdependency.
Touchable Dreams describes romantic love, transient love, ridiculous love, bitter love, lost love, and sublime love in the music of J S Bach, Steve Bingham, Nick Drake, Andrew Keeling, Johann Pachelbel, Astor Piazzolla, eugene Ysaye and other, and in the words of poets and playwrights such as W H Auden, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Bishop, e e cummings, Carol Ann Duffy, Jeremy Harmer, Ted Hughes, Elizabeth Jennings, Jenny Joseph, Roger McGough, Brian Patten, William Shakespeare and others.
As Jeremy wrote; “we want to show how music and words – the very bases of human emotion – can co-exist and enhance each other’s power for one of the greatest emotions – love – of the human experience.”
I regularly give duo concerts with some other excellent musicians – violin and viola recitals with my wife Brenda Stewart (violist of the Bingham Quartet), violin and cello concerts with James Halsey (cellist of the Bingham Quartet) and guitar and violin recitals with looping guitarist Jason Carter. Please contact me for full details of the wide-ranging repertoire available for these combinations.
NO-MAN (live band)
This 7-piece band is based around the No-Man duo of Steve Wilson (guitar) and Tim Bowness (vocals), and was formed in 2008 to perform various live concerts of No-Man music, including a sellout London gig – the first live No-Man performance in 15 years! More about No-Man on their official site here.
This unusual combination of violin, clarinet, piano and percussion features three other superb musicians – Victoria Soames Samek, Adrian Sutcliffe and Chris Brannick. Alongside a busy schedule of schools workshops our concert performances feature works such as the Milhaud and Khatchaturian Clarinet Trios, various duo combinations and solo works. The group has already commissioned several new pieces and we are all active in arranging music for our unique combination: Current arrangements include everything from a ‘West Side Story’ medley to renaissance dances by Susato!
For full details of Foursight please visit our website at www.foursight.biz.
THE NEWS OF THE VICTORY and SNAKECHARMER
In a somewhat different vein I also play in the Norfolk-based ceilidh band ‘The News of the Victory’. Run by the inexhaustible Derek Paice, this is a ceilidh band with a difference: It’s a sort of rock ceilidh, playing original music written and arranged to fit traditional dances. It’s a very popular group, and great fun to play in. More details (and to book it if you’d like to!) please go to www.thenewsofthevictory.co.uk. Derek and I also do occasional ceilidhs in a 2-man version called “Snakecharmer”: This ‘minimalist’ ceilidh band features my looped electric violin and bass pedals, with Derek calling and playing assorted percussion and guitar!
…and last, but by no means least: PHIL TOMS – composer and arranger
Phil is an amazing musician who has written and arranged numerous pieces for me over the last few years. He is the man behind the scenes for the musical arrangements on many of my YouTube videos, and has contributed original pieces, looped arrangements and classical arrangements for my live concerts and for several recording projects. You can find out more about Phil from his website – philtomsmusic.com