Malcolm Edmonstone

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Malcolm Edmonstone (born 1980, Perth, Scotland) is a British jazz pianist, arranger and educator. In 1998 he moved to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he is now Head of Jazz.[1] In addition, Malcolm is Artistic Director of Jazz for the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland.[2] He has forged a career as a modern jazz musician, working as a pianist, educator, arranger and musical director in many high profile situations. In 2016 he made his BBC Proms debut, arranging and conducting for Iain Ballamy and Liane Carroll.

Early professional life[edit]

Whilst studying at GSMD, he was called on by Laurie Holloway to cover the piano chair on an international tour with his wife, the late jazz legend Marion Montgomery. Since then Malcolm has continued to work with Laurie on various projects, including the first three series of the BBC1 show Strictly Come Dancing, where he played piano and arranged a significant portion of the music. During this time Malcolm was writing prolifically and having his arrangements performed live on television to audiences upwards of 10 million.

Dankworth family[edit]

At 21, he met Jacqui Dankworth and soon became her Musical Director. Together they have toured the world and been involved in numerous recording projects, including albums Detour Ahead [3] and Back to you.[4] In 2009, Malcolm had the honour of working alongside the late Sir John Dankworth on Jacqui's 2011 album It Happens Quietly.[5] They worked together on the arrangements on what proved to be the last of many occasions in which Sir John mentored Malcolm’s development as a writer.[6]

Jazz musician[edit]

Malcolm works with some of the most original musicians in the UK. Since 2011 Malcolm has worked closely with Liane Carroll, one of the leading lights of jazz. Together they have produced concerts with choir and jazz orchestra and most recently Malcolm is featured as pianist and arranger on her 2015 Linn Records release Seaside.[7] He is a member of Mike Walker (jazz guitarist)’s Madhouse band, and has played with many of the UK’s leading jazz musicians, including Mark Lockheart, Stan Sulzmann and Iain Dixon. At the 19th meeting of the International Association of Schools of Jazz, Dave Liebman invited Malcolm to play in his only appearance during that conference. In 2011 he appeared at the Royal Opera House in a Masterclass with legendary jazz drummer Peter Erskine and later the same year at the Royal College of Music, as part of their Festival of Percussion.

Recording musician[edit]

In 2011 Malcolm appeared on live TV with Liza Minnelli. His extensive work ranges from recording for BBC Radio 3 with conductor Lorin Maazel to playing on live television with Tony Bennett. He has recorded extensively as a sideman in the jazz and commercial music worlds. As a session musician he has performed with Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, Michael Bolton, Cliff Richard, Robin Gibb, David McAlmont, David Arnold, Donny Osmond, Bruce Forsyth, Madeline Bell, Vernon Kaye, Denise Van Outen, Tony Christie and Kenny Lynch.


Education has always been a large part of Malcolm’s life – as well permanent positions at the National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland (NYJOS) and as the Guildhall School's Head of Jazz, he has held many visiting teaching positions, including stints at the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music, Middlesex University and Birmingham Conservatoire. He is often employed by ABRSM to work with classical peripatetic teachers exploring jazz music.

Guildhall School of Music and Drama[edit]

Malcolm is Head of Jazz at the school, which is regarded as one of Europe's leading conservatoires[8] and has a jazz department of considerable repute. As well as teaching piano and ensembles, Malcolm delivers the department's Harmony curriculum, an in depth course broken down into three parts - functional, modal and beyond - a book on the subject is due for publication in 2016.

National Youth Orchestras of Scotland[edit]

Since 2006 Malcolm has developed the jazz provision of this long standing organisation. With fellow NYJOS alum Andrew Bain (drummer) the offering has progressed from a 5-day summer school with a small tour to five distinct yet integrated strands - the NYOS Jazz Summer School, open to young improvisers from 12-21; NYJOS Access, a training ensemble for improvisation; NYJOS itself, a flagship jazz orchestra who in recent years have toured with Jacqui Dankworth, Mark Lockheart, Mike Walker, Chris Batchelor and Iain Dixon; and NYJOS Collective, a smaller, advanced and flexible ensemble which is open to conservatoire and university aged alumni of the program. In 2010 the Collective toured with Julian Arguelles. The fifth strand is a series of ongoing workshops in schools across Scotland, led by the directors and other prominent Scottish jazz musicians to encourage improvisation at grass-roots level, both as a support to students and teachers.


“truly an astonishing musician” The Daily Telegraph [9]

“combines a mathematical Bach-like precision with a sensuous touch" The Guardian [10]

"masterful skill as [an] accompanist" Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz [11]

'the Malcolm Edmonstone trio is so effortlessly good" Robert Sutton, All About Jazz [12]

"Edmonstone again excellent throughout" Ian Mann, The Jazzmann [13]



with Liza Minnelli

  • Loose Women - MD, piano, arranger - ITV (2011)

with Laurie Holloway

  • Strictly Come Dancing - piano, synths, arranger - Series 1, 2 & 3 - BBC TV (2004-6)

with Jacqui Dankworth

  • RTÉ New Year Concert, with orchestra - piano, arranger - RTÉ (2011)
  • Jazz Line-up - Cleo Laine and Friends - MD, piano, arranger - BBC Radio 3 (2011)
  • The Paul O'Grady Show - MD, piano, arranger - ITV (2009)

with Michael Bolton

  • The Dame Edna Treatment - arranger - ITV (2007)


with Jacqui Dankworth

  • Detour Ahead - MD, piano, fender rhodes, arranger - Candid Records (2004)
  • Back to You - MD, piano, synth, hammond, arranger - Audacious Records (2009)
  • It Happens Quietly - piano - Proper Records (2011)

with Laurie Holloway

  • Strictly Come Dancing - piano - Sony Music / BBC TV (2005)

with Frank Holder[14]

  • I Love being here with you - piano - Mainstem Records (2007)
  • Ballads, Blues and Bop - MD, arranger, piano - Mainstem Records (2009)

with Tom Rust

  • Saints and Singers - MD, piano, arranger - Feelerhead Records (2004)
  • Are we there yet? - MD, piano, arranger - Feelerhead Records (2010)

with Kate Dimbleby

  • Things as they are - MD, piano, arranger (2007)

TV themes[edit]

with Laurie Holloway

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "The National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland". Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  3. ^ Dave Gelly (2004-05-30). "Jazz CD of the week: Jacqui Dankworth, Detour Ahead | Music | The Observer". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  4. ^ John Fordham (12 June 2009). "Review: Jacqui Dankworth: Back to You | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  5. ^ John Fordham (25 August 2011). "Jacqui Dankworth: It Happens Quietly – review | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  6. ^ Scotney, Sebastian (8 February 2010). "sir John Dankworth - an appreciation". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "University guide 2014: Guildhall School of Music & Drama | Education". London: 10 May 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  9. ^ "Jacqui Dankworth at the Pizza Express Jazz Club, review". London: Telegraph. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  10. ^ James Griffiths (2003-09-20). "Russell Vandenburg, Non-political Club, Sheffield | Music". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  11. ^ "Jacqui Dankworth: It Happens Quietly". Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  12. ^ [2] Archived 22 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Jacqui Dankworth - It Happens Quietly | Review". The Jazz Mann. 2011-08-25. Retrieved 2013-10-22. 
  14. ^ "iTunes - Music - Frank Holder". Retrieved 2013-10-22. 

External links[edit]