Aged five I saw a tiny violin in a shop window and was entranced by its shape: sure enough, it turned up on Christmas Day that year and I’ve played ever since, encouraged largely by my mother, herself a fantastic pianist and Head of Music. A little later I took up the drums and taught myself jazz piano.  Much of my youth was spent playing with orchestras, jazz bands and chamber groups, as well as singing in choirs and on stage in musicals. As a violinist I competed regularly in music festivals across the South-East of England, and continued to perform solo recitals through my time at Cambridge and throughout my teaching career, during which I’ve been very fortunate to coincide with some stunningly good pianists.

In 2016 I set up, with two friends, a gypsy-jazz band, Manouche Etcetera, which performs around Oxford. We appear regularly as part of the Wytham jazz series, and at Kazbar and Tarifa on Oxford’s Cowley Road. We also perform at private parties and  charity functions, and have performed at Oxford Festival of the Arts each year since 2017. This year we hugely enjoyed playing to a large crowd as part of the Cheltenham Festival. We launched ourselves properly in Oxford in May 2017 with a sell-out concert at the Old Fire Station theatre; you can read a review here.

Here’s a link to the band’s website where you can listen to a few of our numbers (including our lockdown recordings!), and below are a couple of fun videos of us in action! If you have the appetite for a whole concert, you can watch our livestreamed gig at Applecart Theatre in London.

For several years I was resident cocktail pianist at Browns in Oxford, which is where I developed my playing style and tried out my new compositions on the customers. Sitting at a piano for three hours gives you ample opportunity to observe other people, too. There were a string of regulars, from a coffee-swilling Turkish economist to an elderly Russian princess of rather faded beauty, and little bits of their life stories have made it into my writing. And the old buffer who requested Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’ without fail every time he came in, or the Ukrainian barman who taught me the basics of mixology and arm-locks.

Many of my lasting friendships have been formed through music. I’ve been fortunate to work at schools where music is highly valued and where there are always opportunities to show the pupils how much fun can be had, whether performing ‘Flanders and Swann’ re-writes in assemblies or playing jazz gigs with older pupils.

I’m always keen to play or sing music; if you’re looking for anything from a background pianist for your wedding to a full-length cabaret act please get in touch; I’ve some wonderfully talented musical friends and we take great pride in creating bespoke programmes and sounds to suit different venues and occasions. Above all, we have a lot of fun in the process, and so will you.