Jamie Savan is founder-director of The Gonzaga Band and a member of His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts. He is also active as a solo recitalist, and has worked as an orchestral principal with the English Baroque Soloists (Sir John Eliot Gardiner) and the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra (Ton Koopman). He has performed with many other of the world’s leading period-instrument ensembles, including the Academy of Ancient Music, Concerto Palatino and Bach Collegium Japan to name but a few, and enjoys exploring the many facets of his instrument, ranging from Renaissance improvisation techniques to new music for cornett and live electronics. He is lucky enough to combine his performing career with research and teaching at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he is Professor of Performance-led Research in Music.
Jamie’s principal interests are in rediscovering little-known music of the past in old manuscripts and original printed part-books, and in bringing it to life though the process of transcribing, editing, performing and recording. This has led to a number of acclaimed CD productions under his direction, both with HMSC and the Gonzaga Band, including most recently Venice 1629 and Amadio Freddi’s Vespers (1616) on the Resonus Classics label.
Research and performance have gone hand-in-hand since graduating from Oxford University with a first class degree in Music in 1997. In 2005, he completed a doctorate in historical performance practice at Birmingham University, where he was also active for several years as a visiting lecturer. Jamie also taught cornett at Birmingham and was professor of cornett at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, before being appointed as Lecturer and Head of Performance at Newcastle University in 2010, and Senior Lecturer at Birmingham Conservatoire in 2016, where he is now Professor and Director of Research.
Jamie began his musical life as a trumpet player. While at school he was a principal trumpeter of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales, and as an undergraduate at Oxford he studied with Michael Laird (renowned pioneer of both the natural trumpet and cornett), and passed the ARCM diploma in trumpet performance with honours. He went on to specialise on the cornett as a postgraduate student of Jeremy West at the Royal College of Music in London, funded by a Leverhulme studentship, and with Bruce Dickey at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, funded by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.
Jamie’s playing has received considerable critical acclaim: a BBC Radio 3 presenter described his sound as ‘the most beautifully toned cornetto playing I’ve heard’. A reviewer for the BBC Music Magazine had ‘rarely heard mellifluous swing to match cornettist Jamie Savan’s’, while the Telegraph, in an echo of Mersenne, described his ‘superb technique and truly singing tone’ as a ‘glorious ray of musical sunshine’.
“the most beautifully toned cornetto playing I’ve heard” BBC Radio 3
“I’ve rarely heard mellifluous swing to match cornettist Jamie Savan’s” BBC Music Magazine
“superb technique and truly singing tone… a glorious ray of musical sunshine” The Telegraph
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