Ben Comeau, Jennifer Bliss and Toby Comeau
St. Peter’s Church – April 15 – 7.30pm
Ben Comeau is a talented young musician who is making a living in London as a professional performer playing both piano and organ. Upon leaving Truro School, Ben went to Cambridge where he graduated in music with first-class honours as the best student of the year.
At the age of 18 Ben won the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition performing his own transcription of ‘the Firebird Suite’. A recording of his winning performance was later broadcast by the BBC. He has composed and performed two piano concertos which have received performances at the Birmingham Symphony Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields. He has also performed concertos by Bach, Mozart, Poulenc and Gershwin on the piano, organ and harpsichord, and he regularly gives recitals in the UK and France and has recorded performances for the BBC. His compositions have included commissions from the Britten Sinfonia, St. John’s College, Cambridge and Truro Cathedral, the Kings Lynn Festival, Choir and Organ magazine, the Cornwall Film Festival, and in 2015 he wrote a percussion concerto for Cornwall Youth Orchestra.
In the first half of the programme, Ben will play from the classical repertoire.
In the second half, he will be joined by Jennifer Bliss (a multi-instrumentalist on violin, viola, cello, viola d’amore, bass viol, recorder, flute and virginals) and his brother Toby Comeau (a very accomplished jazz pianist). Together, they hope offer us a pot-pourri including jazz idioms and other improvisations.
Jenni started her musical journey at 6 years old when she taught herself to play recorder, read music and write songs about butterflies. She started violin lessons with a friend at 8 years old and then taught herself lute, double bass, piano and the list of instruments kept growing. A most ecstatic moment as a teenager was playing Mozart symphonies under Roger Norrington at Windsor castle and then she knew that she wanted to specialise in early music. She later remembered being given a CD of Baroque music on period instruments at the age of eleven and how she had copied it by ear note for note, beguiled by the pure sounds and gut strings. This led to studying baroque violin at the Guildhall School of Music, and the Den Haag Royal Conservatoire in Holland.
She has had a varied career, playing lute with the Medieval Baebes, improvising Mozart with the eyboardist David Gordon, baroque jazz fusion with sax superstar Gilad Atzmon, playing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Gabrieli Consort, Academy of Ancient Music and her ownearly music ensemble the Amphion Consort. She lives in Glastonbury where she writes her own songs about how things feel and has a free improvisation band called Moogambo. She regularly visits Iceland and collaborates with the South Icelandic Choir.
Jenni likes to perform her own compositions, often exploring mystical texts.
Born in 1997 into a musical family, Toby learnt piano, cello and music theory from a young age. He became a Truro Cathedral chorister in 2004, and in 2010 he went on to win Music and Art scholarships at Truro School, achieving a distinction at grade 8 piano aged 14. As an early teenager he became interested in a wide variety of musical genres, helped by the influence of his older brother, Ben. He gradually made jazz piano his chief musical study and formed and led his own band who played at professional function gigs, and frequently composed and arranged music for it.
Aged 16, he went on to Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, where his principal study was jazz piano. Toby is currently studying jazz piano at London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama and in his spare time plays keys for the acclaimed Jam Experiment, a quintet based in London, with gigs throughout the country.