Who is Alistair?
Alistair is a slide and valve trombone player, composer, and educator based in Berlin and Munich.
He is known for his captivating sound, technical finesse, and ability
to shine in a multitude of musical contexts. As a composer, Alistair
possesses a personal and fearless voice, unafraid to meld the
stylistic differences of his influences together into something
wholly individual. His performance experience includes regular
appearances with small improvising ensembles, classical orchestras,
big bands, new music ensembles, swing dance combos, funk and soul
bands, and in pop horn sections. He has performed with Phil Woods,
Steve Wilson, John Hollenbeck, Peter Erskine, Bob Brookmeyer, Scott
Robinson, Fabrizio Bosso, Paolo Fresu, Francesco
Cafiso, and the WDR Big Band, amongst others.
was born on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Whilst
still a wee lad he left for the US, but has since returned to the
east side of the Atlantic and been based in Germany since 2013. After
picking up the instrument at age 10 and being mentored throughout his
school years by Tom Tait, Alistair studied trombone and jazz and
contemporary music at the Eastman School of Music from 2009—2013
with professors Mark Kellogg, Dariusz Terefenko, Bill Dobbins, Harold
Danko, Jeff Campbell, and Clay Jenkins. In addition to giving both
jazz and classical recitals and performing regularly with the Eastman
Jazz Ensemble and various other groups, he completed an independent
study on Baroque improvisation with Dariusz Terefenko. After
graduating summa cum laude from Eastman, he moved to Berlin. From
2014—2015, he studied composition with John Hollenbeck and trombone
with Geoffroy de Masure at the Jazz Institut Berlin, earning a
Masters degree and graduating with honours. From 2015-2017 he was a
member of the Bundesjazzorchester (Federal Youth Jazz Orchestra) under the direction of Niels Klein, Jiggs Whigham, John Hollenbeck, Jörg-Achim Keller, and Ansgar Striepens.
for Alistair's playing has come from critics, fellow musicians, and
competition judges. His solo work has been described as “haunting
and rapt” and has twice made him a finalist in international competitions —
the Carl Fontana Competition in 2013 and the JJ Johnson Competition
in 2016. In 2017, he was a finalist for the lead trombone position in
the Danish Radio Big Band.
2013, he premiered his Robert Burns Suite, a reimagining of Scottish
folk melodies written for a 15 piece ensemble. As part of his Masters
degree in 2015, Alistair composed and premiered a suite for a 14
piece ensemble based on baroque dances. His primary compositional and
orchestrational work as of late has been with the Stegreif Orchestra,
of which he is a founding member. A collaboration with Wolf Kerscheck
and Juri de Marco produced #freebrahms, a transformation of Brahms’
3rd Symphony into a genre-confounding vehicle for the
orchestra’s unique blend of ensemble interpretation and
improvisation. The work saw its premiere in April 2018 in the
Konzerthaus Berlin and has been lauded by critics.
multi-faceted musicianship makes him highly in demand across
a broad range of genres. He is a current member of the
Stegreif Orchestra, the Monika Roscher Big Band, the Gaststätte
zum Heißen Hirten, Hund und Hybris, the Careless Cats, Mr.
Zarko, and Badass Confit. He also performs regularly with the Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra,
the PODIUM Kammerorchester, Malte Schiller's Red Balloon, and L‘aupaire.
in the Autumn of 2018, Alistair will be on the faculty of the
Hochschule für Musik und Theater München's
Jazz Institut as the jazz trombone teacher.
Amongst his other interests, Alistair is an avid runner and cyclist, a voracious reader, enjoys travelling, and has a keen interest in language.