The Third Orchestra – Artist Profiles

Ahead of their exciting collaboration with our Southampton-based musicians, Anna, Issa, and Matt on Thursday 30 March, we learn more about some of the brilliant musicians that make up The Third Orchestra.

Cheng Yu

Born in Beijing and formerly a pipa soloist with the Central Orchestra of Chinese Music in China, Cheng Yu is a renowned pipa lute and guqin zither virtuoso, ethnomusicologist and specialist in Chinese music. She studied the pipa from the age of 7 from her father (a Pudong pipa master) and the guqin zither from the age of 14, graduated with distinction from the Xi’an Conservatory of Music and won several top prizes for her pipa performances. Based in London since the 1990s, she gained scholarships for her MMus and PhD degrees in ethnomusicology at SOAS, University of London. She is a co-founder of the UK Chinese Music Ensemble (1998), the London Youlan Qin Society (2003) and the award-winning Silk String Quartet (2007).

Third Orchestra is a rare platform enabling musicians from across cultures and genres to meet, shine and make wonderful music.  It feels like a rainbow family to me”

Cheng Yu

Iain Ballamy

ECM recording artist Iain Ballamy is internationally recognised as a saxophonist and composer. He has been described variously as urbane, original, melodic, freethinking and uncompromising. Listed in the BBC’s publication ‘100 Jazz Greats’ between Count Basie and Chet Baker his work is contemporary with both strong jazz and classical references and yet un-encumbered by formality and tradition. Over 3 decades spent transcending musical genres and stereotypes and gradually forging strong and ongoing relationships with musicians around the globe, Ballamy has worked with many cutting-edge figures of today’s contemporary jazz scene.

Iain is no stranger to our audiences at Turner Sims, having performed as part of the trio Quercus on several occasions; ; with singer June Tabor and pianist Huw Warren, these three unique musicians converge to create an evocative mixture of words and music, encompassing jazz, folk and traditional songs in contemporary settings.

I’ve enjoyed collaborating with musicians from all around the world since the late 80’s and it has greatly expanded my musical universe along the way. 

This project with the Third Orchestra is particularly to me exciting due to the sheer range of culture, diversity and instrumentation involved. It will be a true show of collaboration between local, national and international performers and sure to be an unforgettable experience for everyone”

Iain Ballamy

Matthew Bourne

Matthew Bourne is a recipient of numerous awards and accolades, and possesses an inventive and unique artistic approach for bringing infirm pianos back to life in Songs From A Lost Piano, collaborating with classical musicians of the London Sinfonietta in Written/Unwritten, the acclaimed solo piano albums, Montauk VariationsIsotach, and Désinances; and reinterpretations of Amon Tobin’s work for Ninja Tune. Other projects include Radioland; a live reworking of Kraftwerk’s Radio-Activity album (in collaboration with Franck Vigroux & Antoine Schmitt), solo synthesiser album moogmemory; and Nightports w/Matthew Bourne. Bourne’s work has appeared on compilations by Bonobo and Hot Chip, and featured in Paolo Sorentino’s 2018 film LORO. Bourne’s current musical focus as a collaborator include working with Keeley Forsyth (Debris / Photograph / Limbs); and also the release of Aeolian – a series of two-piano concerts with the late Keith Tippett.

Matthew last graced the Turner Sims stage back in 2016 with his project, moogmemory, with Michael England, which combined analogue electronics, minimalism and video synthesis.

Playing with The Third Orchestra is nothing short of exploratory: changes to the music can happen at any time, and in any direction. I hope that our collaboration with The Ripple Effect will reveal further avenues of intrigue and enquiry”

Matthew Bourne

Dennis Rollins MBE

Dennis Rollins is well-known on the British and international jazz scene and is celebrated for his versatility and muscular approach on that underrated instrument, the trombone. Born in 1964 in the Midlands to Jamaican parents, and raised in South Yorkshire, Dennis cut his teeth at the age of 14 studying and performing with The Doncaster Youth Jazz Association. After years of study, Dennis moved to London and began playing with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), and the legendary all-black jazz big band the Jazz Warriors. Over the years he has established a reputation as an artist of excellence, and has lent his unique and stylish talents to some of this country’s, and indeed the world’s, top jazz and pop personalities such as Courtney Pine, Baaba Maal, Jamiroquai, US3, Brand New Heavies, and Blur. He is also a key and crowd-pleasing member of the legendary Maceo Parker’s band.

In 2006 his jazz/funk outfit Badbone & Co won the prestigious BBC Jazz Award for Best Band and the following year he picked up Trombonist of the Year at both the British Jazz Awards and the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Awards. Dennis received the 2008 Parliamentary Jazz Awards for Jazz Education. In February of the same year he was awarded Honorary Freedom of the Borough in recognition of his successful musical career, and for his role as an inspiration to Doncaster’s musical youngsters.

As part of Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2018, Dennis was honoured with an MBE, for services to music.

Experience these brilliant musicians live on Thursday 30 March, in The Third Orchestra Project – The Ripple Effect here

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