Top trombonist returns to Swanage for concert cancelled last year

It’s a special homecoming for a talented local musician, James Buckle, who became a professor at the Royal Academy of Music at just 25.

He is appearing with his quartet at St Mary’s Church in Swanage in a concert entitled The Evolution of the Trombone. The performance features two separate quartets – The Concert Trombone Quartette and James’ Studio 5. It starts at 6.30 pm


It’s part of the Purbeck Art Weeks festival and is a rescheduled concert, after the event in May 2020 had to be cancelled because of Covid restrictions.

Studio 5
Studio 5

James Buckle with his quartet Studio 5

“It may sound geeky but it’s not”

James explained:

“I have played a couple of times in the Purbeck Art Weeks festival, but this is the first time I have brought the quartet.

“It’s actually a really cool concert. It’s all about the trombone. The premise is that you are taking the audience on a journey through the history and development of the trombone.

“It may sound a bit geeky but it’s not. You don’t have to be a trombone player to enjoy it. It’s not meant to be an academic evening, it’s an evening where you can enjoy the music and learn a bit about the instrument.”

James Buckle
James Buckle

James Buckle performs in the grand final of The Royal Overseas League, becoming the first brass player in its 65-year history to win the gold medal

“Great to do some classical music in front of an audience”

James Buckle, still only 28, grew up in Swanage, where his parents still live. He attended The Old Malt House prep school in Langton Matravers, before going on to study at Wells Cathedral School.

He said:

“I’m excited because it’s so nice to come back and play in Swanage. I did my first performances in the town and it’s lovely to bring friends with me and after such an awful year it will be great to do some classical music in front of an audience. This is the first time we’ve been able to play since Covid.”

He paid tribute to Richard Brown, the festival coordinator, and his team who supported them even when the concert was called off last year.

Studio 5 at Wells School
James Buckle

The original members of Studio 5 met at Wells Cathedral School – James, with Emma Bassett and Mike Buchanan

“Most wonderful teacher”

James said:

“They paid us a significant percentage of what our fee would have been, so it’s a really nice way to repay their support.”

As well as James, Studio 5 features Mike Buchannan, Matthew Lewis and Tom Berry. Mike is unavailable on Saturday and will be replaced by Emma Bassett who was one of the original members who met as teenagers at Wells Cathedral School. They had their music lessons in a room called Studio 5, hence the name, where their trombone tutor was Alan Hutt.

James said:

“I look back on those times with love. The school was amazing and from the trombone point of view Alan was just the most wonderful teacher. It really was the making of me.”

The Concert Trombone Quartette

The Concert Trombone Quartette

Penultimate concert in series

In the performance, The Concert Trombone Quartette take the story up in the 1600s when the instrument was known as a ‘sackbut’, then they feature classical trombones from the 1700s, and romantic trombones from the 1800s onwards. Studio 5 provide the modern instruments to complete the journey.

The Evolution of the Trombone is the penultimate concert in a series of classical music events which started on Saturday 7th August at Priory Church of Lady St Mary, Wareham.

The final concert will be at Encombe House, near Kingston, on Thursday 2nd September 2021 which is a morning coffee recital with harps.

Adult tickets for Saturday’s concert are £18 and student tickets are £2. More details and tickets are available from the festival website.

James Buckle
James Buckle

James Buckle who grew up in Swanage

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