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Asha Parkinson – Breakthrough Artist online:

Accomplished saxophonist and arranger, Asha Parkinson, is devising an extended piece for large ensemble integrating contemporary jazz and Arabic musical cultures.

While completing sixth-form studies at the Purcell School of Music, Asha switched to joint principal study jazz saxophone and composition, developing her craft through writing works for ensembles ranging from symphony orchestra to piano trio alongside her jazz studies.

Asha’s piece ‘Gulistan’ for alto flute, celeste and string orchestra was shortlisted for the 2016 BBC Young Composers’ Inspire Competition. Meanwhile, she set up the ‘Voices Beyond Divisions’ initiative, bringing together children from Islamic, Christian and Jewish school to sing for peace in the Middle-East and resulting in a registered charity, Beyond Divisions Education Trust to continue work of this kind.

Asha founded Kalpadruma whilst studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, combining her interests as a performer and composer. The group regularly play as both a jazz quintet (saxophone, guitar, piano, bass, cajon) and, for larger venues, as a do-dectet (string quartet, flute, bass clarinet, trumpet, saxophone, piano, guitar, bass, percussion). Kalpadruma holds a monthly residency Upstairs at the Ritzy Picturehouse, Brixton. Each month, a guest artist joins the group to play a mixture of their own material plus the band’s material.

While keeping a busy performance schedule with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (in which she holds a tenor sax chair) and the Kalpadruma quintet, Asha has been completing an album with the larger-scale format of her collective. The first half of the album has been completed (recorded at GSMD), with extensive rehearsal and recording and was due to be released in Autumn 2020 at the Vortex. The Coronavirus outbreak has put this project on hold. The second part has been recorded in Autumn 2020, with its official release postponed to 2021.

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