Composer Prize Winner 2023
Alex Paxton (*1990) is an award-winning composer and improvising trombonist based in the UK. In 2021 he was awarded an Ivor Novello Composer award for his piece SOMETIMES VOICES. He was nominated for the Gaudeamus Award 2022 and was elected to the 9th International Composition Seminar. The young composer has won the Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, Dankworth Jazz Prize for his composition BYE and was part of the London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik Composer Scheme. In addition, he has won the Harriet Cohen Memorial Music Award for his compositions.
"A riotous overabundance of love and rage... an extraordinary experience."
The Wire Magazine
Alex Paxton was awarded various commissions, such as ILOLLI-POP for improviser and ensemble which he played with Ensemble Modern, and CANDYFOLK- SPACE-DRUM for the London Sinfonietta’s Writing the Future-programme. Alex played and recorded his concerto OD ODY PINK’D for jazz musician and orchestra with the Royal National Scottish Orchestra. He was scholar of the Leverhulme Art Trust with the London Philharmonic Orchestra 2016 –2017 with his work NOW WE ARE DUH-DUR. His piece SPAKE represented the UK in the orchestral section of the International Society of Contemporary Music. Furthermore, he is a commissioned contributor to John Zorn’s Arcana X 2021.
The composer’s albums MUSIC for BOSCH PEOPLE and ILOLLI-POP were released to critical acclaim on the labels Birmingham Record Company/NMC and nonclassical. He released TELLSONG, commissioned by Listen Pony Label and Indigne de nous on Everest Records. His compositions are part of leading Spotify playlists. HAPPY MUSIC for ORCHESTRA will be released on Delphian Label in 2023
"This is the most joyous sound I’ve heard in ages!"
New York Times
His music has been played, recorded and commissioned by leading orchestras and ensembles including Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, AskoSchönberg, Riot Ensemble, Nouvel Ensemble Contemporain, Wigmore Hall, Explore Ensemble, Klammer Klang, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra (BBC proms 2021), Making Music, Ensemble x.y, x.y Song, Hyper Duo, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Jazz Orchestra (UK), Listen Pony, Aldeburgh Festival, Psappha Ensemble, Orion Symphony Orchestra, Helios Collective, Chaos Collective Orchestra, Mirrors of Hall Big Band, Dr. K Sextet, 5KBrass Quintet, Royal Academy of Music Philharmonic and Royal College of Music Philharmonic as well as soloists Zubin Kanga, Tabea Debus, Beibei Wang, Patrick Terry, David Zucchi and Jacob Collier.
"This is what an orchestra can be like in the 21st century: an ensemble that speaks with one voice yet also gives voice to each of its members."
Alex Paxton has written six operas including NOGGIN and the WHALE (Massed forces including 500 young instrumentalists and singes), FOR the LOVE of THORNSTIEN SHIVER hosted by English National Opera and Helios Collective, BEL and the DRAGON as part of the Tête à Tête Opera Festival, the EQUIVOCAL HARRIET BOWDLER at Second Movement Opera, WOOLF MUSIC at the Forge in Camden and RAVEN’s CHILD for Jacob Colier and Orchestra.
As an improvising and jazz trombonist Alex has played as a soloist with Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, Riot Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and ensemble x.y. He is founder of the Dreammusics ensemble and performs regularly with pioneering improvisers such as Charlotte Keeffe, Steve Noble, and is playing in groups like London Improvisers Orchestra, Hyperion Ensemble, Apocalypse Jazz Unit and Laura Jurd.
"Meticulously scored… seems to change with every bar, enfolding bite-size pieces of classic minimalism, brass brand tradition, electronic noise, & video game plasticity... intensely virtuosic and giddily joyful. electronically slathered trombone… Paxton is a monster improviser and connects his garrulous attack to the most extroverted playing of George Lewis & Roswell Rudd."
Bandcamp Daily Best Contemporary Classical
Extensively, Alex writes art-music for musicians in community settings including, innovative ways of writing for young instrumentalists and singers in a post-Roald Dahl world of new-music, such as his works NOGGIN and the WHALE, Fly Like a Kitchen, Muffin, Pudding Tummy and The Sound of Magic. He is professorial composition staff at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and has worked as lead-composition tutor and workshop leader on the National Youth Orchestra Great Britain, he has taught and lectured at composition and improvisation at conservatories including Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal College of Music (and multiple other universities in the UK).
"One of the most exceptional voices from a new generation of UK talents."
The Philharmonia Orchestra
Alex studied as a scholar at the London Royal Academy of Music (Bachelor of Music, 1st class and Distinction) and the Royal College of Music (Master of Composition, with Distinction). His Music is published by Ricordi (Berlin).