Alison Balsom

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Alison Balsom
Alison Balsom.jpg
Alison Balsom at a recital in Hamburg in 2006
Background information
Birth name Alison Louise Balsom
Born (1978-10-07) 7 October 1978 (age 36)
Royston, Hertfordshire, UK
Genres Classical
Occupation(s) Musician, educator
Instruments Trumpet
Years active 2001–present
Labels EMI Classics, Hyperion Records

Alison Louise Balsom (born 7 October 1978) is an English trumpet soloist.

Early life and education[edit]

Balsom was born in Hertfordshire. She attended Tannery Drift Primary School, then the Greneway Middle School and the Meridian School, all in Royston, Hertfordshire, where she played in a brass band, the Royston Town Band. She took her A-levels at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge.

She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Conservatoire de Paris, and also with Håkan Hardenberger.


Balsom has been a professional classical trumpeter since 2001. She is a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist,[1] and she released her debut album with EMI Classics in 2002. In 2005, she released her second disc, Bach Works for Trumpet as part of a contract with EMI Classics. In 2006, Balsom won 'Young British Classical Performer' at the 2006 Classical BRIT Awards and was awarded the 'Classic FM Listeners' Choice Award' at the Classic FM Gramophone Awards. She won 'Female Artist of the Year' at the 2009 and 2011 Classical BRIT Awards. Her third album (the second disc in the EMI contract), Caprice was released in September 2006 and was awarded 'Solo CD of the Year 2006' by Brass Band World magazine. Balsom was a soloist at the 2009 Last Night of the Proms, performing, among other pieces, Haydn's Trumpet Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a jazzy arrangement of George Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me" with mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly.

In collaboration with playwright Samuel Adamson Balsom devised Gabriel, a play using the music of The Fairy-Queen and other pieces by Henry Purcell, which she performed with actors and The English Concert as part of the 2013 summer season at Shakespeare's Globe.[2]

Balsom was the principal trumpet of the London Chamber Orchestra.[3] Her main trumpet is a Malone-converted Bach C Trumpet.[citation needed]

She is a Visiting Professor of Trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.[4] In 2014, she returned to BBC Young Musician of the Year as a presenter of the category finals and semi-final of the competition alongside Miloš Karadaglić.[5]

She performed a new work for trumpet by Qigang Chen (Joie éternelle) at the 2014 BBC Proms.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Balsom has a keen interest in yachting.[7] From 2009 to early 2011 she was the domestic partner of British conductor Edward Gardner; in early 2010 they had a baby boy named Charlie.[7][8][9][10][11][12]


  • Alison Balsom: Music for Trumpet and Organ (EMI Classics Debut, 2002)
  • Alison Balsom & Crispian Steele-Perkins: The Fam'd Italian Masters (Hyperion, 2003)
  • Alison Balsom: Bach works for Trumpet (EMI Classics, 2005)
  • Alison Balsom: Caprice (EMI Classics, 2006)
  • Alison Balsom: Haydn and Hummel Trumpet Concertos (EMI Classics, 2008)
  • Alison Balsom: Italian Concertos (EMI Classics, 2010)
  • BBC Music Magazine, December 2010: Haydn & Hummel concertos (not the 2008 EMI recordings); Albinoni's Oboe Concerto Op. 9 No. 2, transcribed for trumpet; and Vivaldi's Violin Concerto Op. 3 No. 9, arranged for trumpet and instrumental trio.
  • Alison Balsom: Seraph: Trumpet Concertos by Arutiunian, MacMillan, and Zimmerman (EMI Classics, 2012)
  • Alison Balsom: Alison Balsom (EMI Classics, 2012)
  • Alison Balsom: Sound the Trumpet: Royal Music of Purcell and Handel, also marketed as; Kings & Queens (EMI Classics, 2012), and Sound the Trumpet-Gabriel Edition (Warner Classics, 2013)
  • Alison Balsom: Paris (Warner Classics, 2014)



  1. ^ "New Generation Artists – Former Artists". BBC Radio 3 website. 
  2. ^ Halliburton, Rachel (22 July 2013). "Gabriel". Time Out. Retrieved 17 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Jeal, Erica (7 October 2010). "Alison Balsom: The top brass". The Guardian (London). 
  4. ^ "Department of Wind, Brass and Percussion". Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Alison Balsom and Miloš Karadaglić to present BBC Young Musician category finals and semi-final". BBC Media Centre. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "BBC – Proms – Prom 2 Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky & Liszt 2014". 2014. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Alison Hoyle (16 May 2009). "The triumph of the trumpet majorette who became a Classical Brit". The Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 17 July 2009. 
  8. ^ Whelan, Andy; Hall, Allan (17 April 2011). "The music dies for 'trumpet crumpet' Alison Balsom and her Proms conductor". Daily Mail (London). 
  9. ^ Alan Franks (11 September 2009). "Alison Balsom: 'don't compare me to Katherine Jenkins'—She’s blonde and in classical music, but that’s where the comparisons with Katherine Jenkins end". The Times (London). Retrieved 14 September 2009. 
  10. ^ Kay, Richard (19 October 2009). "Wills and Kate's incognito evening". Daily Mail (London). 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ Custom byline text:  Michael Tumelty (28 April 2010). "Raising the bar". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "Classical Brit for UK trumpeter". BBC News. 15 May 2009. Archived from the original on 17 May 2009. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  14. ^ "Alison Balsom wins Female Artist". 11 September 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 

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