Ian Bousfield has been at the top of the profession for over one quarter of a century, excelling in perhaps more facets of the music business than any other trombonist to date. His career has included playing in two of the acknowledged top-four orchestras in the world, one of which is recognized as perhaps the greatest opera orchestra, performing as a soloist to the highest possible level with orchestras, brass bands and on period instruments, recording as a soloist on top labels, playing theme tracks to Hollywood blockbusters and teaching at the Royal Academy in London.
Born in York in 1964, Ian is a product of the famous brass band tradition in the north of England. His earliest teaching came from his father and from Dudley Bright, who in a strange twist, was later to replace Ian in the London Symphony Orchestra. The main spell that Ian enjoyed in the brass band movement was with the Yorkshire Imperial Band between the ages of 14 and 18, during which time he was fortunate to win the the National Championships (1978), the British Open (1981) and the Yorkshire Championships on two occasions (1980, 1981) with the band.
In 1979, at the age of 15, Ian won the Shell London Symphony Orchestra scholarship, at which point his career began to move undeniably in the direction of orchestras. He joined the European Youth Orchestra aged 16 under Claudio Abbado and made a brief stop at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before becoming Principal Trombone in the Halle Orchestra in 1983. During his time in Manchester he performed the UK premiere of Eine Kleine Posaunenmusik by Gunther Schuller, with the composer conducting. After five years with the Halle, Ian replaced one of his life-long mentors, Denis Wick, as Principal Trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra in 1988, where he enjoyed a 12 year career, was featured as a soloist with the orchestra on several occasions and recorded the soundtracks to many films, including Star Wars: Episode I and Braveheart. In 2000, following a successful audition in Vienna, Ian became Principal Trombone of the Vienna Philharmonic/Vienna State Opera – the first, and to date, only British member in the orchestra’s history. This appointment was followed shortly afterwards by his membership of the Vienna Hofkapelle Orchestra.
As a soloist, Ian has, amongst others, performed with the Vienna Philharmonic, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra, Sapporo Symphony, Austin Symphony. He has worked with the following conductors: Riccardo Muti, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Neville Marriner, Kent Nagano, Ion Marin and Matthias Bamert, and EMI, Camerata, Chandos and Doyen are amongst the labels for whom Ian has made several solo recordings over the years. Probably the two highlights of Ian’s solo career to date have been performing the Nina Rota Concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic and Riccardo Muti (2008) three times in Vienna, as well as in The Lucerne Festival and in Tokyo, and giving the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Stargazer, written for and dedicated to Ian, with the London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas (2007). He has performed with all of the world’s major brass bands, recording with many of them. He has appeared as a soloist pretty much everywhere in the world, and as a clinician, it’s probably easier to mention the conservatories and festivals at which he has not appeared!
Ian was appointed Professor of Trombone at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1992, a position which he holds to today, although now in a reduced, advisorial capacity due to orchestra and solo commitments. He has also since then been awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music. His list of former students includes some of our current most successful players in orchestras around the world.