Alastair Penman - Soprano Saxophone
Gillian Blair - Alto Saxophone
Victoria Puttock - Tenor Saxophone
Tom Gimson - Baritone Saxophone
“A cast-iron rule is to play every piece as if you really, really love it. The Borealis Saxophone Quartet played ball impeccably.” - The Times
The Borealis Saxophone Quartet is an award-winning chamber ensemble comprised of musicians who have studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Royal College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the University of Cambridge. Praised for their “superb technique and style” (Planet Hugill) and “great skill” (Classical Source), the quartet has performed at venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Purcell Room, Kings Place, and St John’s Smith Square. The quartet has made numerous television and radio appearances, most notably including a BBC Proms broadcast for Radio 3, and an appearance on ‘Good Morning Belgrade’ whilst on tour in Serbia. Most recently the quartet was selected as BBC Introducing Artists and gave a live performance and interview on BBC Radio 3’s ‘In Tune’ programme.
As well as giving regular recitals the quartet has enjoyed much competition success, having won the Trevor Wye Memorial Prize, Apollo Saxophone Quartet/RNCM Saxophone Ensemble Prize and June Emerson Launchpad Prize. In 2013 the quartet was named the Christopher Rowland RNCM Chamber Ensemble of the Year and in 2014 they became Park Lane Group Young Artists. The quartet has also reached the final of the Royal Overseas League Chamber Music Competition and the RNCM Concerto Competition. In 2016 the quartet was selected as artists for Yehudi Menuhin’s ‘Live Music Now’ scheme which takes concerts and workshops directly to those who may not have had the chance to experience live music before. In 2017, the quartet was selected as a ‘recommended artist’ for the Making Music Concert Promoters Group.
The Borealis Saxophone Quartet has a strong interest in contemporary music and enjoys building it’s own repertoire. The quartet has commissioned works from composers including Gary Carpenter, (“The North”, premiered at St John’s Smith Square and supported by the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain), Tom Harrold (“Gentle Skies”, premiered at Kings Place Festival), Darren Bloom, (“Borexino-Borealis”, premiered at the Purcell Room and supported by the Park Lane Group), Lucy Pankhurst (“Borealis, Into Blue”, premiered at the RNCM) and Lucy Armstrong (“Same Same But Different”, premiered at St Martin-in-the-Fields). The quartet has also collaborated with composers from the RNCM and the Northern Ballet School on a number of new works for saxophone quartet and dancers, and was selected to premiere four new works by RNCM composers as part of the RNCM Gold Medal Competition.
In 2014 the quartet released their debut album, 'The North', comprising works commissioned and arranged by the ensemble. The disc has received much praise and been described as “wonderfully varied, fullblooded and often rather edgy” producing “high energy drama” (Planet Hugill).