Tony studied the double bass from the age of 11 with Ronald Large in his native Staffordshire. He played with Staffordshire Youth Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In NYOGB, the double basses were tutored by Keith Marjoram and Rodney Slatford. It was world class music making and a place to make lifelong friendships.
He continued his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with the double bass virtuoso Thomas Martin. During this time he was a member of the European Youth Orchestra playing for Claudio Abbado. Touring Mahler 9 with Abbado around prestigious European venues is a career highlight.
Tony is Section Leader Double Bass of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra – CBSO (2016 to present). His parents took him to listen to CBSO concerts as a boy. So in a way CBSO feels like coming home.
Being Principal Double bass of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London (2008-10 and 2012-16) fulfilled a lifetime ambition. Tony worked with world class conductors such as Daniele Gatti, Charles Dutoit and Leonard Slatkin and inspiring soloists such as Martha Argerich, Pinchas Zukerman and Yujia Wang. Tony was Section leader with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (2010-2012). His years as Section leader with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (1997-2008) enabled him to work with distinguished Music Directors Osmo Vanska, Ilan Volkov and Donald Runnicles. There were many appearances at the Edinburgh Festival and the Proms.
As Co Principal with the Hallé (1989-1997), Tony gained invaluable symphonic repertoire experience with Music Directors Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and Kent Nagano. A highlight was a performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in the Musikverein Vienna with conductor James Judd, marking the 50th anniversary of the beginning of World War Two.
Extensive touring has covered many different countries, cultures and has encouraged interests in people, languages, art and architecture and of course culinary experiences!
As a Guest Principal he has led all the London symphony orchestras- London Symphony, London Philharmonic, Philharmonia and BBC Symphony and also takes part in commercial film sessions.
His solo career has included recordings of concerti for BBC Radio 3 and Radio Scotland including works by Bottesini,van- Hal, Edward McGuire and Gareth Glynn and a special recording to mark the Koussevitsky 125th anniversary of his birth for Radio 3 ( Concerto in F sharp minor with Ilan Volkov, conductor with the BBC Scottish Symphony and salon pieces “Valse miniature” and “Chanson Triste” with Lynda Cochrane, piano). Tony is undertaking a series of solo recordings focusing on works of living composers written for him and popular pieces from the repertoire.
In recital, Tony’s performance and master class were highly commended in “The Strad” magazine and “The Double Bassist” during the “Partial to Paganini” festival at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD ) in March 2006.
He plays English basses by John Lott senior(c.1840) and William Howarth (1899) and his solo bass is by Pietro Tononi, Bologna Italy (1730). The Lott bass is a very significant instrument made in John Lott senior’s late period around 1840.
It is beautifully photographed and described in “The English Double bass” by George and Thomas Martin with Martin Lawrence (published by Arpeggio publishing).
As a teacher, he has held positions at Chethams (Manchester), RSAMD (junior & senior) and as a guest at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal College of Music. His students enjoy professional playing and teaching positions, including City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and Raidió Telefís Éireann. He is enjoying teaching and performance coaching at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in collaboration with Thomas Martin.
Tony has recently trained as a life coach with the Co-Active Training Institute(Cti), which is deeply rewarding supporting clients to enrich their experience.
He is a keen singer and enjoys learning the Alexander technique with Kevin Edwards. Tony also enjoys writing poetry and songs.
Tony is a proud father of four children and is a very young grandfather.