Member Full Biography

Niall Keatley – Trumpet

© Thomas Bowles

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, the Big Band 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. In 1997 Niall was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music where his teachers included, John Wallace, James Watson and Ian Balmain. During this time Niall was a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and also the Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. 

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. In 2017, After 6 years in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Niall joined the London Symphony Orchestra as Third trumpet where he stayed for 5 years. In 2022 Niall then followed in the footsteps of Alan and became Co-Principal Trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He is also Professor of Trumpet at the Royal College of Music.

Alan Thomas – Trumpet

© Thomas Bowles

Alongside his work with Onyx brass, Alan has recently taken up the post of Principal Trumpet in The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, and of the London Mozart Players. Before this he has had two stints as Joint-Principal Trumpet of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and in between held the position of Principal Trumpet with the BBC Symphony Orchestra which is probably most famous for its performances in the BBC proms season and the “Last Night of the Proms”.

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 Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2004 as a trumpet tutor, was awarded Honorary Membership in 2006 and a Fellowship in 2012, and now holds the position of Associate Head of Brass. He is also a Professor of Trumpet at the Royal College of Music.

Andrew Sutton – Horn

© Thomas Bowles

Andrew was born in Bristol and spent his early musical life playing the tenor horn for the local Bendix Kingswood Brass Band. While a member he was part of its rise from third to championship section in three consecutive years, himself becoming Solo E flat horn at the age of fourteen.

One year later, he took up the French Horn, first studying with Nicola Daw, then Roberta Amos and going on to gain a place in 1990 to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Derek Taylor, Richard Watkins and Michael Thompson. Some of his many highlights while a student were taking part in masterclasses with Radovan Vlatkovic, Fergus McWilliam and John Pigneguy, being soloist on BBC Radio 3 in Schumann’s Konzertstuck for Four Horns and a Sinfonia Orchestra tour to South Korea. While in only his second year he gained a place in the European Community Youth Orchestra and toured extensive around Europe and a newly open Russia, working with eminent musicians such as Bernhard Haitink, Mstislav Rostropovich, Emmanuel Ax, Maria Joao Pires and Kurt Sanderling.

Graduating from the RAM after 4 years, Andrew immediately joined the busy London freelance circuit, something which he still combines with his other positions today. Over the years he has worked with orchestras including the London Symphony, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Concert Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, City of Birmingham Symphony, The Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony and Lucerne Festival Orchestra. As well as Onyx which he joined in 1995, he has also collaborated with many other chamber groups that include the Nash Ensemble, London Winds, Haffner Wind Ensemble, Britten Sinfonia and Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt.

In 1996 Andrew become a member of the English Chamber Orchestra, (a position he still holds today) and playing alongside some of the finest instrumentalists in the country he has toured the globe and collaborated with some of the greatest musicians in the world. These include Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Ihtzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukermann, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sarah Chang, Sir Colin Davies, Maxim Vengerov, Jessye Norman, Murray Perahia, Misha Misky, Sir Yeuhdi Menuhin and Andras Schiff.

At the turn of the new Millennium, Andrew then was able to combine his position with the ECO by joining the Orchestra of the English National Opera. Again this is a position he still holds today some 20 years later. In that time his has played all the centrepieces of the operatic repertoire and special highlights include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome by Richard Strauss, Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Julius Caesar by Handel, Grande Macabre by Ligeti, and more recently, Sir Harrison Birtwhistle’s The Mask of Orpheus. Also playing for the opening of the Millennium Dome live on worldwide television and performing Act Three of Valkyrie on the main stage at the Glastonbury Festival.

Alongside his busy performance schedule, Andrew teaches horn at Eton College and before that at Ardingly College. Along with the education work he delivers with the quintet, he has taken masterclasses at various music schools and colleges including the Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity Laban, Royal Scottish Academy, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Away from music, in his precious spare time, Andrew enjoys cycling, walking Phoebe, the family Black Labrador and is a member of the Institute of Brewers and Distillers where he is currently studying for professional qualifications in brewing.

Amos Miller – Trombone

© Thomas Bowles

Amos studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University and trombone at the Royal Academy of Music, learning with John Berry, Eric Crees, Denis Wick and Ian Bousfield, and played principal trombone for the National and European Youth Orchestras. Having gained the Dip.RAM, the RAM’s highest award for performance, he completed the Jazz Course at the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada, under artists including Jim Hall and Kenny Wheeler.  

He is a founder member of internationally acclaimed brass quintet Onyx Brass, and has combined the post of principal trombone with the Royal Ballet Sinfonia with a busy freelance career in which he has worked as guest principal trombone with the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, BBC Symphony, BBC Concert, Royal Philharmonic, English National Opera, and Royal Opera House Orchestras, as well as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin’s, the London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, with esteemed conductors and soloists such as Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Kurt Masur, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Colin Davis, Marin Alsop, Yuri Temirkanov, Sir Simon Rattle, Sakari Oramo, Pierre Boulez, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jessye Norman, Bryn Terfel, Leonidas Kavakos, Joshua Bell, Placido Domingo, Martha Argerich, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Montserrat Caballe, Andras Schiff, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and Angela Gheorghiu. Away from the UK he has worked with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Ensemble Modern, Orquesta Ciudad de Granada and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also a member of the City of London Sinfonia.

He is also in demand in the studio: he has played for hundreds of film soundtracks, including ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Terminator Salvation’, ‘Inception’, ‘Paddington’, ‘Mission Impossible’, ‘Superman’, ‘Wonderwoman’, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, ‘Vice’ and ‘Godzilla, King of the Monsters’ and has collaborated with an eclectic range of light music stars including Kylie Minogue, Chaka Khan, Rufus Wainwright, Lulu, Sharleen Spiteri, Barry Manilow, Marianne Faithfull, Gary Barlow, James Blunt and Jarvis Cocker.

Amos is the co-author of “Time Pieces for Trombone” (ABRSM), the author of “A New Tune a Day for Trombone”, (Boston Music Company), and was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 1998. He was one of the trombone professors at the Royal College of Music from 2012-2018, and after being Head of Brass at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire from 2018-2023, he has recently taken over the position of Head of Brass at the Royal College of Music. As a teacher with over 25 years experience, he is especially interested in the relationship between mental well-being, posture and breathing, and their effects on performance. He was thrilled to have been awarded “Teacher of the Year 2019” by the British Trombone Society.

Away from the musical world, he is a keen photographer, cook, outdoors lover, and sofa-based sports fan.

David Gordon Shute – Tuba

© Thomas Bowles

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.

Since 2009 David has been branching out as a conductor. He is currently musical director of Hertfordshire County Youth Wind Sinfonia, the Ealing Wind Orchestra and Conductor of the Eton College Symphonic Wind Band, as well as occasional guest conductor with other groups including the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Wind Band. He combines this work with his teaching, performing as principal tuba of Birmingham Royal Ballet and, more recently, as a humanist funeral celebrant.