Alison Balsom has performed with some of the greatest conductors and orchestras of our time including Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, Sir Roger Norrington, l’Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, Philadelphia Orchestra, New York and London Philharmonic orchestras, and has appeared as soloist at the Last Night of the BBC Proms. She regularly collaborates with some of the world’s leading chamber ensembles including the Academy of Ancient Music, Il Pomo d’Oro, The English Concert and most recently The Balsom Ensemble (a handpicked group of leading Baroque soloists). Alison is a recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including Gramophone Artist of the Year, the Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Award, three Echo Klassik Awards and three Classic BRIT awards (two of which as Female Artist of the Year).
Alison studied trumpet at both the Paris Conservatoire, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and, in addition to her honorary doctorates from the Universities of York and Leicester and Anglia Ruskin University, is now an Honorary Fellow and Visiting Professor at the Guildhall. Alison regularly teaches masterclasses worldwide, including at the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute. In addition to her performing schedule, Alison has previously given a TED talk, entitled ‘Music as a Healer’ and a lecture at Somerville College, Oxford University on ‘Women in the Arts’. A passionate advocate of the importance of music education, she is also an ambassador for the BBC’s Ten Pieces project.
Alison enjoys the artistic process of producing and managing her own bespoke projects, including the critically acclaimed production of Gabriel at Shakespeare’s Globe in London where Alison acted as creative producer and protagonist. This project was recently revived in concert at the Barbican in October 2019 as part of her residency at Milton Court, London. Other recent career highlights include residencies at the Wigmore Hall and Cambridge Corn Exchange, concerto performances with the New York Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque Chicago and Orchestre National de Toulouse as well European tours with the Kammerorchester Basel, Zurich Chamber Orchestra and The Balsom Ensemble.
Passionate about pushing the boundaries of her instrument, Alison has had numerous concertos written especially for her. She gave the World Premiere of Guy Barker’s Lanterne of Light at the BBC Proms and she includes Bramwell Tovey’s Songs of the Paradise Saloon, Qigang-Chen’s Joie Eternelle and Thea Musgrave’s Trumpet Concerto (which made its UK premiere at Cheltenham Music Festival in 2019, and its US premiere with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in the summer of 2021) amongst her repertoire.
From 2018-19, Alison was Artistic Director of Cheltenham Music Festival where she curated a season that brought together the London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Academy of Ancient Music alongside soloists Nicola Benedetti, Jess Gillam and Danielle de Niese. A hugely ambitious programmer, Alison’s 2019 festival included no fewer than 20 new commissions (and subsequently world premieres) and included music by Ruth Gipps, Kaija Saariaho, James MacMillan, Lili Boulanger, Oliver Knussen and many more.
In the 2021/22 season, Alison enjoys a new collaboration with Britten Sinfonia, makes her debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, appears as guest soloist at Classic FM Live at the Royal Albert Hall, and gives prestigious concerto performances in Lerici and Parma.
Alison has built a rich recording catalogue for Warner Classics (formerly EMI Classics) and has released over 12 solo albums. Alison’s latest recording entitled Royal Fireworks was released in November 2019 and toured to some of the most prestigious concert halls all over Germany, including the Konzerthaus Berlin, Alte Oper Frankfurt and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg. In March 2022, Alison signed a new 5 album deal with Warner Classics which will showcase her diverse musical interests and artistic range into the years to come, with her new recording Quiet City to be released in August 2022.