Alasdair Tait is a British cellist and a distinguished teacher.
As a freelance artist, he partners many distinguished musicians and is a founding member of the Ulysses Ensemble. He has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls and is also much sought after as a chamber music coach and teacher. Alasdair studied at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester under Emma Ferrand and Ralph Kirshbaum and at the Musik Akademie in Basel, Switzerland, with Thomas Demenga.
On returning to the UK in 1998, Alasdair joined the Belcea Quartet and was its cellist until 2006. During this time he has performed around the world with tours to Australia and New Zealand, the Far East, North and South America as well as throughout Europe and at some of the world’s most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Köln Philharmonie, Concertgebouw, Chatelet, Cité de la Musique, Frankfurt Alte Oper and the Casals Hall in Tokyo. For five years the quartet was Resident Quartet at Wigmore Hall, a position which also included regular education work. As a member of the Belcea Quartet Alasdair has recorded for EMI CD’s of Schubert, Brahms, Britten, Mozart, Fauré and Barber and collaborated with Ian Bostridge, Thomas Ades, Thomas Kakushka and Jonathan Lemalu. Their disc of Debussy, Ravel and Duttilleux quartets won a Gramaphone Award and an earlier recording of Janacek was awarded a Diapason d’Or in France. As well as being one of the first groups to participate in the BBC New Generation Artists Scheme, the quartet were also twice recipients of the prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Awards for Chamber Music Ensemble.
Alasdair has participated in many of the world’s important festivals including Edinburgh, Salzburg, Schubertiade, Risør, Delft, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham and Bath, performing alongside artists including Piotr Andrezewski, Kathryn Stott, Imogen Cooper, Aleksandar Madzar, Isabelle van Keulen, Alexander Janicek, Valentin Erben, Borodin Quartet, Heinz Holliger, Michael Collins, Simon Keenlyside, Dame Anne Murray and Lisa Milne.
In 2004 he formed the Ulysses Ensemble, a group of international chamber musicians dedicated to exploring the various musical styles and genres of the 20th and 21st centuries. They have formed a close relationship with the Aldeburgh Festival, participating in two residencies culminating in their inaugural concert at the 2005 festival. Future plans include their Wigmore debut with Christine Schäfer in Pierrot Lunaire, as well as directing masterclasses for mixed ensembles at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, and a project in collaboration with Streetwise Opera. The group initially met at the International Musicians’ Seminar, Prussia Cove, where they are all regular participants at Open Chamber Music.
At present Alasdair is Director of Chamber Music at the RNCM, working with groups of all ages and experience and has recently been appointed as Professor of Chamber Music at the International Chamber Music Institute of the Escuela Superior de Reina Sofia, Madrid. He is also a regular professor on the Britten-Pears Summer International Quartet Academy and mentor during the winter quartet residencies. He has given chamber music masterclasses around the world, as far afield as Australia and Japan.
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