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John Warren

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Biography of John Warren

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John Warren is a widely acclaimed composer, arranger and saxophonist who came to Britain from Canada in 1962. For thirty years the John Warren Band showcased his jazz compositions, featuring improvisers like John Surman, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Stan Sulzmann, Henry Lowther, and Alan Skidmore. The band performed regularly in London and toured Britain under the auspices of the Contemporary Music Network in 1976. The band broadcast extensively on BBC Radio and was featured on the BBC 2 TV “Sounds for Saturday” programme. Two tours of Germany and Switzerland included radio and TV appearances at WDR Cologne and NDR, including a live concert recording in Bremen. John has been commissioned to compose several large-scale works for the band, including “Tales of the Algonquin” a suite based on Native American folk tales which was recorded in 1972 and has now been reissued on CD by Vocalion. His collaborations with multi-instrumentalist John Surman continued with the formation of the The Brass Project in 1980. Throughout the eighties and nineties the band performed throughout Britain and at major festivals throughout Europe – North Sea, Lisbon, Le Mans, Glasgow, Coutances, Munich, and Orvieto and a selection of the work be heard on the CD recorded for ECM Records in 1992. In 1993 the London Jazz Festival commissioned a 60-minute suite from Warren, which was premièred broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Works by John have been commissioned by Danish Radio Big Band, WDR Big Band- Cologne, BBC Big Band, NDR Symphony Orchestra- Hanover, Oslo Radio Orchestra, The Dedication Orchestra, Tim Garland’s Northern Underground Orchestra.

Now based in York, John directs the Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra which brings together musicians from all over the North East of England to play challenging and innovative music. He has written suites for John Surman and Andy Sheppard to perform with the orchestra. His work in education has included lectures, workshops and performances of his compositions with student bands at the Royal College of Music, Leeds College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Trinity College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Birmingham Conservatoire. From 1997 to 2002 John lectured on composition and arranging as part of the B.Mus degree course at Newcastle College. He has also contributed to the Associated Board’s “Jazz Works for Ensembles” series. John devised “Inovention” a workshop for beginner improvisers of all ages and musical backgrounds, which has been operating throughout the North East for the last five years. At the request of the Durham Brass Festival John created “Northern Brass” a group which brings together musicians from the Brass Band and Jazz traditions (featuring Steve Waterman and Mark Nightingale). The festival has twice commissioned two large scale works for the group which were premièred at the festival in 2001 and 2003 and recorded in 2005.

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