Friday, October 02, 2009


Composer multi-instrumentalist and band leader Django Bates was born on October 2, 1960 in Beckenham, London, United Kingdom .He plays the piano, keyboards and the tenor horn.

Django Bates rose to prominence in Loose Tubes, a jazz orchestra which was considered one of the UK's most exciting and inspirational groups of the 1980s. He founded his small group Human Chain in 1979. In 1991, he started his own 19-piece jazz orchestra Delightful Precipice. He also put together the Powder Room Collapse Orchestra, which recorded Music for the Third Policeman, and created Circus Umbilicus, a musical circus show.

In recent years, Bates has concentrated on writing large scale compositions on commission (see list below). These include Dream Kitchen for percussionist Evelyn Glennie, Fine Frenzy for the Shobhana Jeyasingh Dance Company, and a piano concerto for Joanna MacGregor and the Royal Phiharmonic Orchestra entitled What It's Like to be Alive. He also wrote the first ever concerto for electric keyboard entitled 2000 Years Beyond UNDO, which was performed at the millennium Barbican Festival.

He has worked closely with director Lucy Bailey on several theatre projects, including Gobbledegook for The Gogmagogs, Baby Doll, (Birmingham Rep, National Theatre, Albery Theatre), Stairs to the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Postman Always Rings Twice (Wesr Yorkshire Playhouse, Albery Theatre) and Titus Andronicus(The Globe Theater). They also worked on a short film You Can Run. Other theatre work includes Greg Doran 's production of As You Like It (RSC), and Campbell Graham's Out There!.

Django was the inaugural Artistic Director of FuseLeeds in 2004. He used this opportunity to initiate the first orchestral commission for Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead). Django also John Zorn commissioned sixty composers including Laurie Anderson, Gavin Bryars, Sir Patrick Moore and John Zorn, to write one bar each. He then quilted these bars into the piece Premature Celebration which was performed by Evan Parker and the London Sinfonietta to celebrate Evan’s 60th Birthday.

The Wire voted Django Best UK Jazz Composer in 1987 and 1990. In 1997, he won the Jazzpar Prize, the world's only international award for jazz.

In addition to his work as a leader, Bates has been prominently featured as a sideman as a member of Dudu Pukwana's Zila, Tim Whitehead's Borderline, Ken Stubbs'' First House, Bill Buford's Earthworks, Sidsel Endresen and in the bands of George Russell and George Gruntz. He has performed alongsideMichael Brecker,Tim Berne,Christian Jarvi,Vince Mendoza, davis Sanborn,Kate Rusby and Don Alias.

In 2008, he was nominated for the PRS New Music Award

Django Bates attended Sedgehill Secondary School. Whilst at this school, he also attended the Centre for Young Musicians in London (1971–77) where he learned trumpet, piano, and violin. In 1977-78 he studied at Morley College. He then went to the Royal College of Music but left after only two weeks. There were notices on the pianos reading “Not to be used for the playing of Jazz music.”

He was awarded a fellowship by the Leeds College of Music in 1995.
In 2002, he was a tutor at the renowned Banff Centre jazz programme alongside Jim Black and Dave Douglas.

In July 2005 Django Bates was appointed Professor of Rhythmic Music at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory (RMC) in Copenhagen. The new professor's role is to raise the international profile of the RMC, cultivate excellence within it, whilst further developing their own work in ways that inspire and energise.

Reference - Wikipédia

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