Photo credit: Brian Homer
Peter Bacon writes:
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, has announced two new appointments to the full-time staff of its Jazz Department. They are John O’Gallagher and Percy Pursglove.
O’Gallagher, an alto saxophonist originally from Anaheim in California, but who has spent recent years as a prominent musician on the Brooklyn/New York scenes, initially came to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to work on a doctorate. His presence in the city has had a galvanizing impact not just on the students on the jazz course but for fans in the city’s jazz clubs and pubs.
He said: “I am very excited to be joining the jazz faculty at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and I am looking forward to working with students to help cultivate their artistic potential and individual voices.”
Trumpeter Pursglove is a son of the Midlands and alumnus of this Conservatoire, and has been a vital presence on the scene since before he graduated, not only in Birmingham but spreading out throughout the UK and Europe.
He said: “’I’m thrilled and delighted to join the jazz faculty at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. It’s a world-class team of creative practitioners, educators and thinkers positioned amongst a vibrant student community. It’s an honour to be a part of a continually developing jazz programme here at the Conservatoire, and a thriving Midlands jazz scene.”
Photo credit: Graham Hardy
Head of Jazz at RBC, Jeremy Price, commented: “At long last we can go public with the news that we have recruited these two fantastic jazz musicians to full time posts at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Saxophonist John O’Gallagher and trumpet player Percy Pursglove – both well-known on the international scene as virtuosi improvisers – have accepted academic posts that include and embrace their research output, and provide a further platform for their great playing careers.
“They join myself and drummer Andrew Bain as the main contact for the students on our undergraduate and postgraduate jazz programmes, and are already making inspiring contributions to how we develop the curriculum and programme our concerts and masterclasses. This is truly an exciting team to be leading and is brimming with new ideas and passion for the music.”
John O’Gallagher joins the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as Senior Lecturer, with Percy Pursglove now employed as an undergraduate lecturer in the Jazz Department at the music college.
The expansion in the full-time teaching staff comes shortly after the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s move into its new £57 million purpose-built facilities complete with jazz club.
Not far from the RBC and Eastside Jazz Club, resides Birmingham City’s Jazz Research cluster. Led by Professors Nicholas Gebhardt and Tony Whyton, the cluster boasts 29 members, including 12 jazz researchers from across the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Birmingham School of Media, as well as nine doctoral students and leaders of the regional jazz community, and additional academic partners at Middlesex University, University of Warwick, University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and University of Aveiro (Portugal).
The new appointments show a further strengthening of Birmingham’s position as a major international centre for jazz’s teaching, performance and research.