Alex Paxton


Alex (1990), ”highly innovative...of exceptional creative imagination and musical energy, packed with life force unlike anything else” (BBC Magazine/Ivor Novello British Composer Awards.) is an award-winning composer & jazz-trombonist. His scores are published by Ricordi (Berlin)

He has been described as “A Magician of Sound...hyperkinetic & freedom” (Financial Times), “the most joyous sound I’ve heard in ages!” (New York Times),  "A riotous overabundance of love and extraordinary experience” (The Wire),”a system-crasher of genre...unmistakable style...highly complex, sophisticated and extremely entertaining, virtuoso ad absurdum" (Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik), and “a super nova...a brazen sensorial mash up...riot and a rainbow...brimmingly heartfelt multi sensorial, genuinely energising fizzer of a new work...super charged joy...forces us all to sit up and loosen up and buck up” (Kate Mollison BBC New Music Show.)

His music has been awarded: an Ivor Novello, Paul Hindemith Prize: a Brit who defies every conceivable genre boundary…an extremely modern and future-oriented style” Ernst von Siemens Composer Prize: “Unbridled joy…sophisticated, passionate music full of pulsating energy and stylistic diversity”, Elb Philharmonie’s Claussen Simon Composition Prize, RPS Royal Philharmonic Society Prize, Dankworth Jazz Prize, Leverhume Art Scholarship with the London Philharmonic Orchestra , the Harriet Cohen Memorial Music Award. He was a London Symphony Orchestra Panufnik Composer and has represented the UK in the Orchestral section of the International Society of Contemporary Music (ISCM).

“Some of the most genuinely extraordinary orchestral music you’ll ever have the good fortune to experience...staggeringly happy...unstoppable, continue-at-all-costs need to sing. Melody is literally’s undeniably a superabundance, yet it’s also an unbelievable, glorious treat” 5 against 4.

Alex has released three critically acclaimed albums MUSIC for BOSCH PEOPLE (Birmingham Record Company/ NMC label), iLOLLI-POP (non-classical) and HAPPY MUSIC for ORCHESTRA (Delphian) as well as many smaller releases. Each has been widely reviewed and featured in Uk, USA and Europe in broad sheets (NYT, Guardian, Times, Financial Times etc) and Music magazines (The Wire. Quitus, Bandcamp, Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik, Crescendo,Positionen, Point of Departure etc.) He is a commissioned contributor to John Zorns Arcana X 2021. “This is what an orchestra can be like in the 21st century: an ensemble that speaks with one voice yet also gives voice to each of its members” The Times

His music is frequently performed internationally by many of the worlds leading orchestras, ensembles and festivals: London Symphony Orchestra (LSO), WDR Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elb Philharmonie, Ensemble Modern, Klang Forum Wien, London Sinfonietta, AskSchöenberg, Riot Ensemble, Explore Ensemble, Ensemble Klang, London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), National Youth Orchestra GB, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Nouvel Ensemble Contemporain,, BBC proms, Bang on a Can Long Play, MearzMusik, Guadeamus, ECLAT, impulse Graz, Now essen, Klangspuren swartz, Wigmore hall, Klammer Klang,, Making Music (UK), Hyper Duo, National Youth Jazz Orchestra (UK) NYJO, Listen-Pony, Aldeburgh Festival. “Alex Paxton's fascinating score impressed me from the very first moment...the notes literally jumped out at me from the score; it was clear that this was a unique compositional voice, combining a complex, almost chaotic sensibility with a charming grounding in folk tradition.” conductor Alan Gilbert

He has written six operas hosted by English National Opera and Helios Collective, Tête à Tête opera festivalSecond Movement Opera. “Operatic Game Boy music played by a virtuosic motley crew that’s inexplicably been hired to provide live jingles for a primetime TV show sometime in the recent past that never quite was” Point of departure

As a jazz trombone soloist “Paxton is a monster improviser” (Bandcamp) Alex has performed concerto-like pieces of his own with WDR Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, Asko:Schoenberg,  Riot Ensemble, Ensemble Klang, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), & ensemble x.y. 

He is founder of Dreammusics ensemble and performs regularly with pioneering improvisers (eg: Charlotte Keeffe, Steve Noble). “meticulously scored…seems to change with every bar, enfolding bite-size pieces of classic minimalism, brass brand tradition, electronic noise, & video game plasticity..intensely virtuosic and giddily joyful. electronically slathered trombone…connects his garrulous attack to the most extroverted playing of George Lewis & Roswell Rudd..." Bandcamp Daily Best Contemporary Classical.

Alex has written extensively for musicians in community settings including, innovative ways of writing for young instrumentalists & singers in a post-Roald Dahl world of new-music.  eg: NOGGIN and the WHALE (Massed forces including 500 young instrumentalists and singes), Fly Like a KitchenMuffin, Pudding Tummy and The smelling test.

He is professorial composition staff at Trinity Laban Conservatoire and has worked as lead-composition tutor (and workshop leader) on the National Youth Orchestra GB, he has taught/ lectured at composition and improvisation at conservatories including, RAM, GSMD, RCM, The Royal Conservatoire (NL) (and multiple universities). 

Alex studied as a scholar at Royal Academy of Music & the Royal College of Music.

Alex is an endorsed solo artist with Micheal Rath Trombones.

“not only was extraordinary musically, but brought diverse communities together in ways that exemplified a new, creolized identity for classical music. Alex’s vision of new music could help to transform classical music into a true world music.” George Lewis laudatory Speech quotation 2023

Composer Website