Alison Balsom is the world’s preeminent female classical trumpeter. She is an unique and independent artist who have broken through to the mainstream whilst retaining her integrity and core musical values. Exceptional talent, a glamorous stage presence and a witty and engaging personality make Alison one of the most exciting and bankable artists in the core classical world today.
Alison’s new recording of modern and contemporary repertoire marks an important artistic stepping stone in her career. This labour of love features the world premiere recording of Seraph, James MacMillan’s trumpet concerto written for Alison, works by Takemitsu and Zimmermann and includes her long-awaited recording of the ever popular Arutunian Trumpet Concerto.
“what really makes this performer so magnetic and distinctive is the quality of the notes that tumble so effortlessly from whatever trumpet she holds in her hands, and whatever music she plays....[Zimmermann's] stylistically eclectic, passionate plea for racial harmony makes an immediate impact, especially when jazz kicks in and the music excitingly hurtles forward two thirds of the way through.” The Times, 6th January 2012
“the highlight is James MacMillan's "Seraph", with the assertive opening brio giving way to a more reflective Adagio dialogue between trumpet and violin, before emerging refreshed for the animated closing movement.” The Independent, 6th January 2012 ***
“[Macmillan's concerto] deftly combines trumpet and strings in music that ranges from the incisiveness of its first movement, via the 'seraphic' plaintiveness of its lightly textured Adagio to the robust interplay of the finale. Balsom takes its not inconsiderable demands in her stride, with the Scottish Ensemble unstinting in its support.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2012
“[Balsom] plays [the Macmillan] radiantly with the Scottish Ensemble. Concertos by Alexander Arutiunian and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, played with the BBC SSO, highlight Balsom’s technical and interpretative aplomb.” The Telegraph, 18th January 2012 ****
“'Seraph' is concise and communicative, and, as expected from Macmillan, approachable. Balsom gets its (one hopes) long career off to a strong start...[in the Zimmermann] Balsom is in her element. She advocates for this music with passion and dignity, and the strength of her technique allows her to focus on communicating the work's emotional content...this disc speaks well of her continuing maturation as an artist.” International Record Review, January 2012
“Seraph may not quite be another Veni, Veni Emmanuel...But it's still very enjoyable, from the Haydn-tinged jollity of the first movement, through a mysterious and lyrical slow movement to the rousing finale...Balsom is a superb advocate, combining technical brilliance with penetrating musicianship - a true poet of the trumpet as well as a formidable athlete.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2012 *****
“Balsom’s glorious sound makes you forgive any musical shortcomings [in the Arutunian]...Less pretentious and more musically satisfying than one has any right to expect, [the Zimmermann] is possibly a masterpiece...there’s something calmly uplifting about good brass playing. And this disc, well, uplifts.” The Arts Desk, 24th March 2012