Alton College is an inclusive environment for musicians of all backgrounds, with a diverse patchwork of music-making activities. The college currently run a specialised Jazz course facilitated by Laura Jurd, a renowned international jazz artist, who also teaches at Trinity Laban, and Matt Findlay who is a professional jazz session musician in London.
Alton College is well known for jazz and has been very successful in producing musicians who have gone on to study at various music conservatoires across the country and forge successful careers in performing.
Past projects involved guest ensembles such as the experimental jazz band Polar Bear, the virtuoso saxophonist Jim Snidero, as well as the internationally-acclaimed jazz pianist Julian Joseph. This year, the college jazz ensembles performed at Swanage Jazz Festival in Dorset and the Ealing Jazz Festival in London.
Jazz Band Leader: Pande Shahov
Pande studied composition and piano at Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. As a Chevening scholar, he completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Composition at the Royal College of Music, where he studied with Julian Anderson. In 2013, he completed his doctorate at the Royal Holloway University of London, under Philip Cashian’s supervision. Latest premieres of his music include Meier Settings (New London Chamber Choir), Knot for percussion ensemble (Freiburg Percussion Ensemble, Germany), Tebe poyem (Pro Ars Choir, Macedonia) and Estampes for guitar (Nejc Kuhar, Slovenia).
Pande works as a Professor of Academic Studies the Royal College of Music in London, where he also holds the post of Junior RCM Head of Aural and Musicianship. He also teaches at Alton College, where he conducts the Contemporary Music Ensemble. Pande teaches composition for Hampshire Music Service and many of his students have been awarded national and international prizes (BBC Young Composer of the Year), as well as prestigious residency engagements (National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain) and scholarships. Pande runs composition and contemporary music workshops for young musicians of all ages; past events include joint projects with professional ensembles such as the Smith Quartet and Kokoro Ensemble. As a truly enthusiastic and energetic promotor of new music, Pande believes that everyone can enjoy music-making,
Jazz Band Leader: Matt Findlay
Matt graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2013. Since graduating, Matt has gone on to play with some of the UK's top musicians: Anita Wardell, Dave O'Higgins, Duncan Eagles, Terrence Collins, Phil Meadows, Matt Chandler and Sara Dowling to name a few. He is currently involved with the Funk/Afrobeat group Mr. Little's Noisy Band. As well as working as a sideman, Matt also composes for his group 'Kontraband'.