Hailed as a “pioneering instrumentalist and writer” and praised for his “surpassingly beautiful music” and “undoubtedly brilliant mind”, British saxophonist Alastair Penman is a dynamic and versatile performer and composer, presenting contemporary music in new and exciting ways. Having earned masters’ degrees in both Information and Computer Engineering (University of Cambridge) and Saxophone Performance (Royal Northern College of Music), Alastair has a strong interest in the fusion of live saxophone performance with electronic effects, backings, and enhancements to create often previously undiscovered sound-worlds.
Although classically trained, Alastair enjoys exploring many musical worlds; such influences can be heard in his compositions and performances, which often transcend genre definition.
As a soloist, Alastair has performed at venues including Milton Court Concert Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trinity and St Catharine’s College Chapels (Cambridge), The Forge, and the Concert Hall and Carole Nash Recital Room at the Royal Northern College of Music. He has also made numerous concerto appearances, including opening the 2012 Wycombe Arts Festival. Alastair has been a guest recitalist both at the RNCM and Canterbury Christ Church University Saxophone Days, presenting material from his debut album, Electric Dawn.
In an ensemble setting, Alastair is soprano saxophonist with the award-winning Borealis Saxophone Quartet and has performed with the Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra, Ardente Opera, The Beethoven Ensemble, Ensemble BPM, and Cambridge Touring Opera. He has also appeared with jazz groups at Montreux and London Jazz Festivals, as well as at jazz clubs across Europe. Alastair has had the pleasure of working with conductors including Sir Roger Norrington, Dimitry Sitkovetsky, Baldur Bronnimann, David Hill and Stephen Cleobury, and has performed with jazz greats Mike Gibbs, Clare Teal, Steve Waterman, Mark Nightingale, Gareth Lockrane, Julian Arguelles, Liane Carroll, Issie Barratt and John Helliwell.
Alastair is a City Music Foundation Artist, Park Lane Group Artist and BBC Introducing Artist, and has won award from the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, RNCM (Fewkes and Harwood Scholarships) and St. Catharine’s College. Alastair has also been a finalist in the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe and RNCM Gold Medal Competitions.
Supported by the City Music Foundation, Alastair’s debut solo album, Electric Dawn, was released in November 2015 on Sospiro Records. The album features new compositions for saxophone and electronics and was produced by the legendary saxophonist John Harle. Critics have praised the playing as “exemplary”, “diamond-sharp, tonally burnished and singing free” and recognised that “each piece had a perfection of its own”, creating a “cohesive and triumphantly experimental debut”.