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Phil Minton

When he was 15, Phil Minton started trumpet lessons in his home town and then, between 1959 and 1961 played with the Brian Waldron Quintet, the resident group at Torquay Town Hall supporting such acts as the Ted Heath Orchestra and B Bumble and the Stingers. On moving to London he played trumpet and sang with the Mike Westbrook Orchestra but in 1964 /65 undertook a residency in Los Palmas, Canary Islands, singing and playing trumpet with the English group Jonston Macphilbry. From 1966 he lived in Sweden for five years. On returning to London in 1971, Phil Minton re-joined Mike Westbrook and was involved in many of his projects up to 1990, touring extensively in Europe and playing at major festivals including Adelaide, Edinburgh, New York, Strasbourg and Berlin. In 1974 Phil Minton began working with experimental theatre groups such as Welfare State and IOU, formed the vocal group Voice with Maggie Nicols and Julie Tippetts in 1975, and from 1976 through the early 1980s he worked solo and in a number of improvising duos with Fred Frith, Roger Turner, Peter Brötzmann and with Günter Christmann's Vario project, touring extensively in Europe and to Russia, the USA and Australia. The improvising duos continued throughout the '80s with a variety of partners and this was mixed with more 'multi-media' work such as Konran Boermer's opera 'Apocalipsis cum figuris', Lindsay Cooper's 'Oh Moscow', Mike Figgis' theatre productions and Sally Potter's film 'Gold', as well as frequent guest appearances with European groups and orchestras. In 1988 Phil Minton was voted best Male Singer in Europe by International Jazz Forum.

Veryan Weston and Phil Minton began their collaboration in 1987 and were commissioned by the Le Mans Festival in 1989 to write and perform Songs from a prison diary, a composition based on the prison writings of Ho Chi Minh for 22 voices. The work was premiered in 1990 and performed at Musica '91 in Strasbourg and awarded the Cornelius Cardew Composition Prize. Further work with Veryan Weston has included Naming the animals with Adrian Mitchell [recorded on Ways past]and, in 1992, Mahkno, a piece for eight voices commissioned by the Taklos Festival, Switzerland. The two musicians regularly play as a duo, including a performance at the Victoriaville Festival in Canada in 1995, and they received a commission from the Angelica Festival in Bologna, Italy which resulted in Past.

Minton continues to work in a wide variety of situations and over the past few years these have included guest appearances with the Georg Graewe's GrubenKlangOrchester, Trio Raphiphi with Radu Malfatti and Phil Wachsmann, a trio with John Butcher and Erhard Hirt, Axon, a trio with Marcio Mattos and Martin Blume, Derek Bailey's Company, and Tony Oxley's Celebration Orchestra (including the performance to celebrate Oxley's 60th birthday in 1998. In 1993 he received an Arts Council Bursary for river run, a composition for voice, piano, percussion and reed instruments inspired by the works of James Joyce. This group, the Phil Minton Quartet or, alternatively, 'river run', has turned into a (moderately) regularly performing ensemble with Veryan Weston, Roger Turner and John Butcher. The Quartet toured Europe in 1996, appeared at the Victoriaville Festival in 1997, touring Germany the same year, undertook an Arts Council- supported tour of the UK in 1998 and appeared at the Vand'Oeurve Festival, and in 1999 played concerts in the US.

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