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His Story

Ever since Darren started playing in his school trad jazz band, he realised there was more to music than playing dots on a page.


There was something about having to memorise jazz tunes and improvising on them that made a huge difference to him as a musician. He struggled to balance his slightly awkward and shy personality with being the front man in a jazz band, but every so often he forgot himself and just enjoyed the music. He noticed these were the performances that left audiences wildest, and coincidentally him and the other band members too. Luckily because this music required him to play without reading too carefully, he could easily get into that zone. Since discovering this, Darren's goal has always been to try and make the music sound like it wasn't written down.


Years later Darren is still enjoying the challenge and he is convinced that this concept overlaps (and even benefits) the many musical styles, eras, and instruments that he plays. It might seem strange but he finds his teenage jazzing experience most useful when he is having to ornament and improvise in baroque and renaissance music. Darren always remembers talking with one particular cornetto colleague who told him that William Byrd must have been like the Dizzy Gillespie of his day.


As a coping mechanism for nerves on stage, Darren sometimes finds it helpful to think of the composer humming their melodies to themselves. Then he'll try and play that melody as he hears the composer singing it. In particular, music like Mahler where there are so many directions on the music, can feel quite claustrophobic to read. So Darren always makes sure he listens to the Mahler Plays Mahler CD where players of the Vienna Philharmonic and NY Philharmonic talk about "Herr Mahler" as an nervously energetic man walking with an unsteady gait.

After studying with Tom Rainer, Darren went to the Guildhall School to do his BMus in trumpet performance (2008-12), and then a Masters degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London (2012-14) where he was awarded a DipRAM for the quality of his final recital. He also took advantage of the ERASMUS Scheme by studying in The Hague, and recently gained a second Masters Degree in cornetto and historical performance with Lambert Colson at the Royal Brussels Conservatoire.

Darren is a big fan of Wynton Marsalis' work, not just as a player  but also for using music and influence as a social force for good. Darren is very aware (almost embarassed) of the opportunities afforded to him growing up, and realises that not everybody gets the same chances he did. He is very conscious that music has the possibility to help everybody, and finds it heart-breaking when elitism is reinforced in the industry. This is why he is so rpoud to be a part fo the MultiStory Orchestra who use music as a force for positive social change.

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