Biography

“A very active, change-making jazz composer and educator, with lots of high-profile commissions under her belt and influential activities across the board”  BBC Radio 4’s Women in Music Power List 2018

Issie Barratt is an internationally active composer, arranger, conductor, baritone playerrecord producer and educator.  Ranked at number 38 in BBC Radio 4’s Women in Music Power List 2018 (comprising the top 40 most influential women in the music industry) Issie has performed at a majority of leading concert halls, jazz clubs and festivals in Britain, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, south east India, central America and the east coast of Canada.

Issie has been awarded commissions by the Philharmonia OrchestraDelta Sax Quartet, 4th Dimension String Quartet, Voice of the North Jazz OrchestraOrchestra of the Age of EnlightenmentScottish National Jazz OrchestraBohuslän Big Band (Sweden)North Cheshire Wind Orchestra, Norwegian Wind Ensemble,, Swiss Gemeinderat and Burgerkanzlei of Unterägeri (Canton Zug), Women of the World Orchestra, Vortex Foundation Big Band, Conservatoires UK Big Band,  National Youth Jazz Collective, National Youth Choir of Great Britain, Royal Academy of Music’s Big Band, Royal Northern College of Music’s String ensemble, TrinityLaban and Leeds Colleges’ Contemporary Jazz Ensembles, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, JCFI-Association (Norway), South West Music School, with her music have featured international acclaimed soloists such as Anders BergcrantzGary BurtonTim GarlandSuranjana GhoshJulian Joseph, Laura Jurd, Mark LockheartJoe Locke, Anna Sofie von Otter, Carl RüttiRowland SutherlandMaggi OlinMike OutramSteve Waterman and Annie Whitehead, frequently sharing the billing with fellow record label composers, Mike Gibbs and John Warren

Many of her commissions have received funding from Arts Council England, PRS-Foundation & Youth Music

Issie’s also a very proactive board director of the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (where she’s also the chair of the Jazz Committee) and a Trustee of Jazz Heritage Wales

AWARDS & NOMINATIONS

2011 shortlisted for the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Awards for Artists

2014 Winner Parliamentary Jazz Award for Jazz Education

2017 Winner Music Teachers Award for Excellence: Best New Initiative

 

 

Issie Barratt's Jazz Orchestra @ Vortex Jazz Club 2007

ISSIE CURRENTLY DIRECTS THREE OF HER OWN PROJECTS                  

Issie’s large ensemble comprising 21 of Europe’s leading jazz artists, with whom she recorded her highly acclaimed debut album  Astral Pleasures  (produced by Mike Gibbs and released in August 2008 by Issie’s own record label, Fuzzy Moon Records)

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 Asral Pleasures CD cover“If you read the notes and listen carefully, you really can picture scenes or follow a storyline.”  Dave Gelly, The Observer.

 

Dave Gelly

 

PERSONNEL:

Flutes: Rowland Sutherland
Saxes and clarinets: Pete WhymanMark LockheartJames AllsoppMick Foster and Rob Townsend
Trumpets + Flugels: Sid GauldSteve WatermanAnders Bergcrantz and Mark Armstrong
French Horn: Jim Rattigan
Trombone and Euphonium: Jeremy Price
Trombone: Mark Bassey

Bass Trombone: Pete North
Piano: Liam Noble
Guitar: Mike Outram
Electric and Acoustic Bass: Dudley Phillips
Drums: Simon Pearson
Vibes: Rob Millett
Harp: Fiona Clifton-Welker
Percussion: Chris Wells

 

“A very special band playing very special music –  often taking us from familiar jazz styles and asking us to explore different musical language with much beautiful programmatic orchestration” Anders Bergcrantz

Anders Bergcrantz

With each track comes a new story: From a day in the life of a super heroine, to an exquisite Chagallian summer’s eve, or a memorable afternoon’s walk through a momentous “Dublin Soundscape.”

Dublin Soundscape

Meinrad Iten QuartetIssie also performs with, and writes for, her  Meinrad Iten Quartet with Rowland Sutherland on flutes, Mick Foster  on clarinets, Mark Donlon on piano and Issie on Baritone Sax with guest appearances from Carl Rütti in June 2007 and Kuljit Bhamra in August 2010.

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Meinrad - 6th Movement of Issie Barratt's Meinrad Iten Suite FUZ006

“Meinrad Iten (1867 – 1932 Unterägeri, Canton Zug) is my maternal great-grandfather – A prolific Swiss portrait and landscape artist who painted over 2000 paintings. In 2006 I received a box set of 4 DVDS containing photographs of Meinrad’s 2000 paintings and a commission from the Swiss Gemeinderat and Burgerkanzlei of Unterägeri to compose a suite, setting some of the pictures to music – for which I chose 11. Wilhelmine – Meinrad’s pencil portrait of Wilhermene his wife The Man With The Gun He Tangos – It’s as if the man’s doing a strange backward tango, with a gun for his dance partner! Snow Scene – ice-cold harmonies with the cool breathy sounds of wind through the snow. Das Mädchen – Reminiscent of the playful woodland dances my mother taught me as a child. Unser Vater – a friendly portrait of an Archbishop who was known to Meinrad, with a pencil drawing of Adolf Menzel (Meinrad’s most favourite artist) on the wall behind. Meinrad – A self-portrait with the austere expression we all seem to have inherited (somethings are definitely genetic!). Der Onkel – Meinrad’s maternal unclewho raised him as a child. Der Soldat – staring into the distance, as if haunted by memories. Der Weg – A processional dance with Ägeri’s woodland spirits. St Jost– the home of a catholic hermit who encouraged Meinrad’s study of art and where Meinrad and Wilhermine were later married. Der Tal: Wir Bleiben Zusammen – While Meinrad was dying he told his wife and three children to always stay together. When I walk through this part of Ägerital I feel the family’s presence (past and present) and the echoes of his wishes”

Issie’s newest project INTERCHANGE (In-to-change) started work in May 2017: An exiting & diverse new initiative, INTERCHANGE champions the music of the nation’s most innovative female jazz composers & improvisers, through an annually rotating, ever expanding, pool of performers & composers – Pushing at the boundaries & blurring all the edges!

“I’ve been wanting to work with these amazing musicians for years – avidly listening as they each forge uniquely diverse and vibrantly creative pathways across the international scene, collectively sharing a mutual keenness to be bold and adventurous with their ideas. I’m certain this hand-picked ensemble will provide the listener with a unique and exciting programme that offers a broader more diverse experience than any audience might typically hear!”

INTERCHANGE’s debut album “DONNA’S SECRET” will be released on Issie’s label Fuzzy Moon Records in Spring 2019

ALBUM PERSONNEL

Issie Barratt:                Baritone Sax

Nikki Iles:                     Piano

Laura Jurd:                   Trumpet

Jessica Radcliffe:        Voice

Helena Kay:                  Clarinet/Alto Sax

Rosie Turton:                Trombone

Shirley Smart:               Cello

Karen Street:                 Accordion

Charlie Pyne:                Bass

Katie Patterson:            Percussion 

INTERCHANGE’S NEWLY COMMISSIONED REPERTOIRE

Still Here:                                  Karen Street

An Ocean Formed of Stars:       Yazz Ahmed

Spontaneous Symmetry:           Tori Freestone

To the Power of Ten:                 Nikki Yeoh

Negomi:                                    Nikki Iles

Caliban:                                    Cassie Kinoshi

Donna’s Secret:                        Brigitte Beraha

Palmyra:                                   Shirley Smart

Samla Korna Med Kulning:        Issie Barratt

Hope:                                       Carol Jarvis

 

A compelling emotional set of top drawer contemporary jazz. Diverse in interests histories … electrifying texture…the band played their heart out”
London Jazz News

A totally engaging performance
Jazz Journal

….full of sophisticated music &improvisational skill
Bebop Spoken Here

One of the finest & most creative jazz groups I’ve heard for a long time. A wonderful group spirit .. an enormous range of rich & colourful sound… solo after solo was enhanced by the brilliant ensemble work. When their CD is out & the band fully launched on the international circuit this could be one of the sensations of the year”
Darlington & Stockton Times

One for the wish list
London Jazz News

 

A full list of Issie’s scores and parts available for purchase can be found on  Issie’s “My Music” Page
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 RECORDINGS of Issie’s compositions & arrangements include

 

CONDUCTOR

“One of the finest conductors and musical directors we have ever worked with” Anders Bergcrantz

“ Her conducting gives music a whole new meaning: a whole new lease of life.” Göran Levin, Bohuslän Big Band

Fresh writing and commanding conducting skills.” The Observer

Never afraid to visit the full breadth of the psychological spectrum, Issie’s music invariably combines the warmth of an embrace with the full zest of a lemon!
.
A great, great composer, who writes beautiful, beautiful music.” Julian Joseph: Pianist, Composer and broadcaster
A proper, grown-up jazz composer, like Maria Schneider, Gary McFarland or Mike Gibbs.” The Guardian
Well-regarded by many as being a gifted leader, composer and arranger of large ensembles.” Jazzwise
A remarkable composer, conductor, arranger and baritone sax player.” Mo-Jo Magazine
Without doubt one of the most outstanding writers in the jazz field and beyond.” Bebop Spoke Here
Such beautiful music.” Steve Swallow – Bass player and composer
The orchestration is simply breathtaking and the soloists fill out the picture beautifully.The Observer
Her amazing breadth of skills – composing, conducting, rehearsing and teaching – are JUST what the music world needs” Mike Gibbs

 

COMPOSER / ARRANGER
Highly original writing, not lending itself to helpful comparisons.” Jazz Uk
“ Barratt has complete mastery of the orchestra, and hits all her targets.” The Guardian
“You might find the odd echo of Gibbs, the large-scale arrangements of Bob Moses or Jaco Pastorius, hints of the later Gil Evans and Mingus, but these compositions are like nothing else.” Jazz Uk
“Her formidable reputation as a jazz writer.Mo-Jo Magazine
“A hand-picked ensemble”  The Observer
… stuffed with strong soloists.” Jazz UK
The distinctiveness of Barratt as a composer… the empathy of this ensemble for her work.” All about jazz
It’s contemporary big band jazz that refuses to lie still and behave itself and that’s to be encouraged.Jazzwise Magazine
It richly rewards repeated exposure.” Vortex website
Its GREAT music” Mark Lockheart: UK saxophonist and composer
Distinctive and memorableLeicester Mercury
I LOVE her writing”  Joe Locke US Vibes player and composer
“ It’s powerful stuff.The Independent

In recent years Issie’s emergence has been a most rewarding and innovative arrival – exciting, vitalizing and so noticeably effective. Her contributions have been on so many fronts“ Mike Gibbs

 

“A highly skilled and very sophisticated composer, whose music is appreciated and respected among musicians, composers and listeners alike. She has certainly found her own personal voice – which is beautifully unique and highly developed”  Anders Bergcrantz

“An important UK Jazz composer, arranger and orchestrator who has that rare ability of writing large scale music that successfully bridges the gap between jazz and classical composition. Her writing is unique in many respects, not

Issie Barratt and Mark Lockheart least for the sound world she creates by combining 20th century composition and orchestration with jazz and improvisation: Something that hardly anyone else is doing!”  Mark Lockheart

She has the most amazing ears of anyone I’ve ever met“  Mark Mondesir

“An original and talented composer whose work spans jazz and contemporary classical music effortlessly” John Warren

An extremely dedicated and prolific composer, whose originality comes from a fluent working knowledge of jazz together with contemporary classical styles.  Her points of reference are broad and varied, her music disciplined and pays a great deal of attention to technique, whilst being broadly programmatic and always “tells a story”. Issie’s voice is an important one within the context of composition, both in terms of jazz and contemporary approaches” Mick Foster

Issie has a very colourful and distinctive style. Her ability to combine both contemporary jazz and classical forms seems effortless and impressive, while her story telling through her music is vivid, inventive and highly expressive. Her “Meinrad Iten Suite” is like a set of miniature tone poems, often reminiscent of the music for wind by Weber, Richard Strauss and works by Dvorak while her  compositions for big band are on a par with many of the major British symphonic composers of the twenty-first century” Rowland Sutherland

Issie is an extremely passionate and dedicated educator , setting up the highly successful Jazz Faculty at TrinityLaban in 1999, which she headed until 2004, when she became a Jazz Fellow, allowing her more time for her compositional and performance activities. A much sought after composition teacher, Issie continues to teach composition to undergraduate and post graduate conservatoire students, with her students regularly wining awards and prizes, such as the Dankworth Award in 2009, 2010 and 2011, BASCA’s new British Composer Award for jazz composition in 2010, All Party Parliamentary Jazz Awards and JazzFM awards with one being nominated for a Mercury Award in 2016

Issie also founded and co-directed the Conservatoires UK Big Band with Mark Donlon working together as part of the International Leeds Jazz Conference 2003 – 2007 and at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in Toronto 2008.

In 2006 Issie became the Founding Artistic Director of the National Youth Jazz Collective, building a faculty that now boasts 70 of the nations most inspirational teaching artists, – including president Dave Holland and 6 vice presidents Sir Karl Jenkins, Julian Joseph OBE, Norma Winstone MBEHelen MayhewJohn Fordham and Bob Blizzard MP

Issie is also one of the five key tutors for the Sound and Music Summer School for Young Composers and a an annual adjudicator for Music for Youth’s National Festival 

Before NYJC grew to include regional as well as national projects (demanding more of Issie’s time) she also adjudicated for Yamaha’s Jazz ExperienceWatermill Jazz Young Composers Award and the Barbican/Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington as well as being an advisor on the Educational Advisory Panel of the now defunct Jazz Services

 

RESEARCH PAPERS

2013

Perceptions of Leadership Progression Pathways & Nurturing Aspiring Female Jazz Leaders  with co-writers Dr Andrea Creech from the Institute of Education. Commissioned by the National Youth Jazz Collective Funded by Youth Music

 

2007

“The history of women Jazz Musicians in the UK” with co-writers Dr Catherine Parsonage and Dr Kathy Dyson commissioned by the Fondazione Adkins Chiti: Donne in Musica.

2006

“The talented and gifted young Jazz Musicians of the C21st: Identifying their needs, assessing their access to national and regional opportunities and recognising the deficits on a regional and national scale”. Youth Music Feb 2006

2005

“Researching group assessment: Jazz in the conservatoire”: British Journal of Music in Education 2005 Cambridge University Press.

On going research project – “Gender in Jazz” Led by Issie Barratt and the National Youth Jazz Collective in collaboration with Youth Music and the Institute of Education (2010 onwards)