Jazz Electives 2019 Composers Announced

The Jazz Electives project is one of Town Hall Symphony Hall's flagship Learning and Participation projects and each year introduces hundreds of school children to a world of jazz. 

The project brings them together to perform live on stage at Symphony Hall in the Generation Ladywood Showcase, in partnership with Services for Education Music Service. Jazz Electives brings together Ladywood schools and exceptional jazz musicians who work with 11 primary schools and 3 secondary schools from the Ladywood constituency.

Following a national recruitment, recognised jazz musicians are commissioned to develop new compositions and co-compositions. THSH is delighted to announce the names of the two Jazz Electives 2019 composers with you.


Chris Sharkey 3

Guitarist and composer Chris Sharkey has written a brilliant piece of music for the 280-strong Key Stage Two Primary Jazz Electives Ensemble. 

In 2008, after successfully completing, national music producer Serious’ renowned artistic development scheme Take 5, Chris began to take a profound interest in large-scale learning and participation projects. Over the course of the last 10 years Chris has established a track record of delivering inclusive, collaborative, event-based education projects such as The Regatta Sessions (for Tall Ships Blyth 2016), Make It / Break It (for EFG London Jazz Festival) and Get In The Band (for the Great Exhibition of the North). 

Described by The Guardian as 'Powerfully Independent', Chris' music champions the role of the cutting-edge in driving art and culture forward while maintaining a crucial accessibility. Chris’ piece has been taught to the Services for Education Music Service tutors to be taught to pupils in their weekly instrumental lessons, before then coming together for two massed rehearsals alongside a rhythm section made up of Jazzlines support musicians.


N68 A6753 Greg Sideways Nice

Our second guitarist and composer is Greg Sanders who will lead on the Key Stage Three Jazz Electives project, alongside a team of Jazzlines support musicians. They will work with three secondary schools over a series of workshops to co-compose a piece with the pupils. 

Greg has been involved in a number of different musical projects with wide spanning genres and influences as a performer, arranger, composer, and musical director. This has included his original large-scale soul / jazz / world project Teotima, hip-hop, Cuban fusion and post-punk  (FUR, Wara, Ruby & the Vines), a community samba band (Rhythms Of The City), and performing with musicians with roots in Senegal, Uganda and Zambia (Kadialy Kouyate, Byron, Namvula).



These pieces will be premiered as part of the FREE 2019 Generation Ladywood Showcase which will also feature a pop up performance from New Orleans style brass band Bostin Brass and a Big Sing for all to get involved with Themba Mvula.

Get a taste of what expect and take a look at some of our 2018 Jazz Electives highlights with the video above. 

Generation Ladywood is kindly supported by Alan Woodfield Charitable Trust, Baron Davenport’s Charity, BHSF, Capita, Dumbreck Charity, Eveson Charitable Trust, G J W Turner Trust, George Fentham Birmingham Charity, Grimmitt Trust, Heathcock Charitable Trust, Leverhulme Trust, The Patrick Trust, Peter and Jane How, Pinsent Masons LLP, R V J Cadbury Charitable Trust and Services for Education, Music Service.

Town Hall & Symphony Hall would also like to thank all of our generous individual supporters who have made a donation towards this project.