Festival Partners of Cheltenham Jazz Festival

Palermo Jazz Ex III

Not many people know that our Jazz Department has enjoyed a long relationship with the Cheltenham Jazz Festival for years, which has become more significant in recent years since we became a festival partner.

BMus (Hons) Jazz

Find out more about the course

Cheltenham Jazz Festival is known to many as one of the UK's leading jazz festivals, and is part of the Cheltenham Festivals’ annual season. The festival has over 20,000 visitors every year, and is curated by British jazz and pop singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Jamie Cullum.

Birmingham Conservatoire’s Jazz Department gets involved in a number of gigs at the festival, and this year fourth year students Charlie Bates and Nick Brown were also part of an education and outreach project called Musicate, which culminated in a concert for schools on the Friday morning of the festival from the Pizza Express Live Arena, attended by 700 school children from the Gloucestershire area. 

Olly Chalk Trio II A highlight of the festival was when our students took part in a main programme performance as part of the Trondheim Jazz Exchange. The exchange saw two gigs on home turf, one at Symphony Hall and the other on the Saturday at Cheltenham Jazz Festival's Parabola Arts Centre before heading off to Trondheim. Other students selected to perform at the festival included the Olly Chalk Jazz Trio (pictured), and the Italian Jazz Exchange, who all performed on the Free Stage.

Around town we also made quite an impression, with performances in the festival’s fringe programme such as the Heavy Beat Brass Band – fronted by fourth year student Charlie Lancaster and formed of conservatoire students past and present. 

We also hosted evening Jam Sessions at Hotel Du Vin, where a house band made up of our musicians was compered by Senior Lecturer in Jazz Andrew Bain and played every night until 3am. Many festival artists and famous faces graced the stage at these jam sessions, providing rare opportunities for musicians of the future to collaborate with established artists of today.

In addition to a strong representation by our students, the conservatoire was represented by a quartet of our tutors called the Hans Koller Quartet that performed at the Parabola Arts Centre, and alumna Laura Mvula opened the festival from the Big Top on the Wednesday night.

We look forward to our relationship with this fantastic festival continuing to go from strength to strength. Our involvement provides invaluable opportunities for our students to experience playing at a high profile international jazz festival, and learn more about how major festivals are run. Next year we hope to film what we get up to!

Find out more about our Jazz Department

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