Welcome to the Prince Bishops Brass website, here you can read, listen and contact us
Welcome to the Prince Bishops Brass website, here you can read, listen and contact us
Anthony began his musical training at The Salvation Army in Castleford, Yorkshire, progressing through a music scholarship to Ackworth School and then to Hull University where he graduated with an Honours Degree in Music. Following a year of post-graduate trumpet studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and two years as Music Director to the Salvation Army in Texas, he is now “one of the finest trumpeters of his generation”!
In 2007 Anthony was appointed principal trumpet of Skipton Camerata and in April 2008 he was appointed principal trumpet of Sinfonia ViVA. Following a live TV broadcast on Christmas Day 2002 he was also principal trumpet and soloist with the New English Orchestra until 2015. He is currently on trial with the BBC Philharmonic. Despite all this, he somehow manages to make regular appearances (including guest principal trumpet) with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hallé, Manchester Camerata, Manchester Concert Orchestra, Northern Chamber Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia. He also works with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Opera North, English Northern Philharmonia, the Royal Shakespeare Company, North of England Chamber Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Britten Sinfonia. He has played principal trumpet with Orquestra Nacional do Porto and been a member of the Britten-Pears Orchestra and Baroque Orchestra. In addition, Anthony is a part of ViVA Brass, Brass Ho! and Prince Bishops Brass.
As a session musician, Anthony has played on recordings with artists as diverse as Don Lusher, Kenny Baker, Norman Wisdom, Barbara Windsor, Claire Sweeney, Shirley Bassey, Delirious? and Gorillaz amongst many others, His albums of varied Classical works are available on streaming and download websites. In live performance, Anthony has performed with the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, Lesley Garrett, Hayley Westenra, The Sixteen with Harry Christophers, Liam McNally, London Community Gospel Choir, Steve Winwood, duetted with Sting and played for Pope Benedict XVI!
Anthony’s sound was heavily featured in an award-winning 2018 film, called “Solo!”
As a soloist, Anthony has toured extensively throughout the UK, USA, Holland, Norway and Brazil, and has appeared in Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Switzerland and Italy. With organist Gordon Stewart he gave the first performance of Andrew Carter's Petite Suite, which they then took on two tours in the United States. In addition to his own solo work and masterclasses, Anthony appears regularly on BBC Radio 4's Daily Serviceand BBC Television’s Songs of Praise. In the summers of 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012 he performed substantial solo works with the New English Orchestra at the Salzburg Festival, returning in 2014 to premiere a new composition written especially for him!
In late 2010 Anthony teamed up with Greg Bish to form a duo, whose informative concerts manage to display an unexpected complement that the trumpet and classical guitar can be to each other. Their first live recording, "An Intimate Evening with the Bish/Thompson Duo" is available online.
Anthony is well known for the wide range of instruments he plays in concerts - everything from didgeridoo and conch shell to coaching horn, antique and modern cornets, soprano trombone, bugle, flugel horn, ramshorn and antelope horn shofars, natural and piccolo trumpets!
Chris grew up in the world of Welsh brass bands, joining the Tenby & District Brass Band when he was 7 years old and by the age of 13, was the youngest player in the newly formed National Youth Brass of Wales. He moved on to the trumpet and was soon playing in the Principal seat with the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. Chris obtained a music degree at the University of Reading, where he was awarded the Peter Wishart Memorial Prize, and continued his studies on the Advanced Course at the Royal Academy of Music with Laurie Evans and Ray Allen.
Chris began his music teaching career in 1990 and after working in several schools in the Reading area, taught in Malvern, where he was Head of Brass at Malvern College and also Musical Director with the Malvern Hills District Brass Band, a band he twice took to the National Finals. His teaching then took him to Coventry, where he also played soprano cornet with the City of Coventry Brass Band, and then onto Houston, Texas, where he was Director of Music at The British School of Houston, as well as Assistant Conductor of the Houston Brass Band.
Since returning to the UK in 2011 Chris has been Director of Music at Rishworth School in West Yorkshire. As well as being in demand as a freelance trumpet and natural trumpet player, he is an ABRSM examiner and conducts BD1 Brass in Bradford. He was delighted to be asked to join Prince Bishops Brass in 2016.
Stuart Gray’s association with the Trombone began at the age of 12 after brief flirtations with both the Violin and Clarinet.
He quickly progressed and was soon performing in many bands in and around Gateshead. In his teens Stuart started to travel to Leeds to study with Chris Houlding (Principal Trombone, Opera North. Professor of Trombone, Royal Northern College of Music) and during this time was a member of Northern Junior Philharmonic Orchestra, British Youth Opera, and National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, joining them on their tour to Russia.
Stuart is a well known figure of several genres in the North East, playing in Orchestras and bands, and touring extensively with The Elvis Collection as well as with the Frank Zappa Tribute Band - Wagga Jawaka. As a soloist he has performed the Lars Erik Laarson Trombone Concertino and the Albrechtsberger Trombone Concerto with local orchestras. He is also frequently to be seen playing with the Royal Northern Sinfonia Orchestra.
Having always been active in the Brass Band Movement, he started his playing career in the early 80’s with Harton and Westoe Colliery Band and enjoyed spells as solo trombone with Silksworth Colliery Band and Greggs Bakery Band. As a conductor he took over Ovington Tynedale Band when aged only 23, taking them from the 4th to 2nd section over the subsequent 10 years. He was resident conductor with RMT Easington Colliery Brass Band (as featured in “Secret Millionaire” TV programme) from 2002-2009 and has recently taken over as Musical Director of Durham Miners Association Brass Band.
Stuart works for Tees Valley Music Service where as well as being a Brass peripatetic teacher he also holds the post of Area Music Co coordinator for Stockton. As part of his work with the music service he conducts the Tees Valley Youth Brass Band and coaches the Tees Valley Big Band.
Chris started playing the French Horn when he was 8 years old., then after leaving school he continued his musical studies at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.
He has since been working as a Brass Teacher and freelance musician. Chris's horn playing has taken him all over Europe, performing in France, Spain, Andorra, Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, and Italy. He is regularly to be seen playing in concert venues and theatres throughout the North East and Yorkshire, and has made television and radio broadcasts with the Northern Sinfonia and Opera North.
Chris enjoys the opportunity of playing different musical genres from ballet, to opera, musicals, concert orchestra, big band, and chamber groups. He has even made an appearance with The Bootleg Beatles!
Stephen began his connection with the tuba at the age of thirteen under the direction of Kevin Price, and progressed very quickly through the music grades, moving on under the instruction of Philip Hore to gain a place on the RSAMD tuba performance course.
Whilst studying at the RSAMD with Anthony Swainson & David Dowall, Stephen’s performance experience grew to include freelancing periods with the Scottish Opera Orchestra, the RSNO and the Scottish Concert Orchestra, as well as the leading Scottish Brass bands, CWS Glasgow, and the Whitburn Band. Concert tours have taken him to France, Germany, Luxembourg and Holland as well the Americas.
Stephen was a founder of Saltire Brass, the award winning Brass Quintet, with whom he played many successful concerts in Britain and across Europe, as well as national radio appearances. These all fed Stephen’s appetite for Brass chamber music, which he is delighted to continue with Prince Bishops Brass since moving from Scotland to the North East.