Since its formation in 1993, Onyx Brass has been dominating the international brass chamber music world. Dubbed ‘easily the classiest brass ensemble in Britain’ by BBC Music Magazine, Onyx was conceived as a uniquely approachable yet serious brass chamber ensemble and has since performed at festivals all over Europe and the USA to huge critical acclaim, as well as performing regularly on BBC Radios 2 and 3.
Individual members of the group hold permanent, principal positions in The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of English National Opera, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.
As part of a wide ranging repertoire, the commissioning of new music is of particular importance to Onyx and, to this end, they have performed and recorded world premieres of music by Jonathan Dove, Bob Chilcott, John Tavener, John McCabe, Judith Bingham, Joe Duddell and Michael Nyman.
Work with choirs forms a vital part of Onyx’s work, and in recent times the group has worked with the BBC Singers, the Brighton Festival Chorus, the Choir of St Brides, Fleet Street as well as superb amateur choirs including the choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge. The John Armitage Memorial trust forms the backbone of this work and, also, provides a platform for composers to submit works for inclusion in to each year’s series of concerts.
The group are also highly active in the field of music education, having conducted a great number of workshops and master classes, including educational days at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In the USA they have carried out masterclasses at the Juilliard School in New York and the Boston Conservatory. Onyx have several times toured around Britain with Bob Chilcott’s educational work A Sporting Chance for brass quintet, school choir, actors and dancers. The group is also ensemble-in-residence at both Westminster Abbey Choir School and Imperial College, University of London.
Onyx have recorded several discs, including Fugue a recording of fugues by Bach and Shostakovich (Chandos Records) and two titles for Meridian Records - Pavans Fantasias Variations and Time to Time.