Onyx Brass is one of the rare breed of chamber ensembles whose musical and technical virtuosity is matched by the accessibility and vitality of their presentation. Their mission is to have their extraordinary abilities at the disposal of the music at all times, and to play music of the requisite quality to reflect the status of the brass quintet as a serious medium for chamber music. The richness and warmth of their sound is remarked upon by all who hear them.
Niall Keatley, trumpet
Niall began his musical studies at the City of Belfast School of Music at the age of nine. While at the C.B.S.M he was a member of the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra and also played with a number of Brass Bands in the Northern Ireland area. In addition Niall was principal trumpet with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain performing in some of Europe’s finest concert halls. Niall was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music where his teachers included, Ian Balmain, James Watson and John Wallace. During this time Niall was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and also spent a short time with the Black Dyke Mills Brass Band. As a free-lance trumpet player Niall has performed with various orchestras including, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In 2002 Niall performed Haydn’s trumpet concerto on BBC television with the Ulster Orchestra as part of the BBC Last night of the Proms, Proms in the Park series. As well as being a member of Onyx brass, Niall has performed with a number of chamber ensembles including, London Brass, LSO Brass, London Winds and the Wallace Collection.
Alan Thomas, trumpet
Alongside his work with Onyx brass, Alan is also the Principal Trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, probably most famous for its performances in the BBC proms season and most notably the Last night of the Proms. Previous to this appointment he was Joint-Principal Trumpet of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra 2004-13.
Alan studied at the Birmingham Conservatoire between 1996 and 2000 where he gained a first class honours degree. During this time he won the Shell/LSO prize, playing the Hummel trumpet concerto with the LSO in the Barbican, and won the Brass prize in the Royal Overseas League. He was also a winner of the Musicians Benevolent Fund’s Charles Leggett Award.
Alan moved to London to study at the Royal College of Music under the guidance of Malcolm Smith, Andy Crowley and Paul Archibald. Whilst there, he gained experience freelancing with London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, Royal Opera House, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, London Brass and Ensemble Modern. He returned to the Birmingham Conservatoire in 2004 as a trumpet tutor and was awarded Honorary Membership in 2006 and a Fellowship in 2012. He is also a Professor of Trumpet at the Royal College of Music.
Andrew Sutton, horn
Andrew began by playing the tenor horn at his local brass band in Bristol aged 8 but shortly swapped to the french horn, studying at the Royal Academy of Music with Derek Taylor and Richard Watkins. Like the other members of the quintet, while at music college he was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra.
On leaving the RAM, Andrew has led a varied career in music. As well as being a member of the Orchestra of the English National Opera and the English Chamber Orchestra, he plays regularly with the Philharmonia, BBC, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Opera House, and London Symphony orchestras. With these groups he has worked with some of the worlds finest musicians and toured extensively around the globe. In addition to Onyx, he performs with other chamber ensembles such as London Winds, the Haffner ensemble, the Wallace collection, and the Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt.
Andrew also teaches horn at Eton College. He is a member of the group Campaign For Real Ale.
Amos Miller, trombone
Amos studied at Oxford University and the Royal Academy of Music, learning with John Berry, Eric Crees, Denis Wick and Ian Bousfield, and playing principal trombone for the National and European Youth Orchestras. Having gained the Dip.RAM, the Academy’s highest award for performance, he completed the Jazz Course at the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada, under artists such as Jim Hall and Kenny Wheeler. On leaving the RAM he was awarded the coveted Meaker fellowship.
He now combines the post of principal trombone with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia (to which he was appointed in 2003) with a busy freelance career in which he has worked as guest principal trombone with all the major London orchestras, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, as well as the English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin’s, the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He has also appeared on more than thirty film soundtracks, including ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Terminator Salvation’, and ‘Inception’. Abroad, he has worked with Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt and is guest principal with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada in Spain. He is also a member of the City of London Sinfonia.
He is the co-author of “Time Pieces for Trombone” for the Associated Board, and is the author of “A New Tune a Day for Trombone”, published by the Boston Music Company. He is a trustee of the Clarence Myerscough and Christopher Horn charitable trusts and is an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.
David Gordon-Shute, tuba
David trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Cambridge University and the Royal Academy of Music. Through the fantastic experiences of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and the European Union Youth Orchestra came a passion for music: both playing and teaching.
David regularly freelances with the major London orchestras including the LSO, RPO, LPO, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the BBC Orchestras and has enjoyed playing on various soundtracks including The Two Towers and Zero Dark Thirty. David has been the tuba teacher at Eton College since 2001, receiving a promotion in 2009 to Head of Brass. In addition, he has coached the tuba section of the NYO, the brass section of the Herts County Youth Orchestra and given masterclasses all over the world with Onyx Brass including the Juilliard School in New York.
David currently holds the posts of Founder/Member Onyx Brass, Principal Tuba in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, the Orchestra for Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Head of Brass at Eton College.