Brass & Percussion Department Staff
French Horn / Concert Band
BMus (Hons) / LGSMD
James Topp was born in the Orkney Islands and educated in north-east Scotland. His musical training took place at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he studied horn with Hugh Seenan and Jeff Bryant, and conducting with Alan Hazeldine. Since leaving the GSMD he has developed a highly varied
freelance career including work with several major UK orchestras, West End shows, corporate team-building projects and even an ABBA tribute band! He has been ESO’s Principal Horn since 2004 and has worked as a soloist and chamber musician with groups such as Fine Arts Brass and the Allegri Quartet.
He is heavily involved with ESO’s education programme, in particular as part of the directors and tutors’ team running the ESO Beginners’ and Intermediate Orchestras. He has also coached the brass section of the English Schools Orchestra, held horn classes at Dartington and at Instrumenta Oaxaca in Mexico, and is Visiting Teacher of Horn at Malvern College and University College School in London.
BMus, DipABRSM (Performing), CME
Chris graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire in 2014 after being fortunate enough to be able to study as a mature student. His main instrument is Trombone and he has wide experience in the brass band movement, playing at the highest levels. He has also played with local orchestras and has played many stage shows.
His time at the Conservatoire gave him the opportunity to learn from some top brass tutors and this has given him the skills and knowledge to be able to teach brass to a high level. In addition to his work with the Elgar School of music Chris teaches privately through the West Midlands Brass Academy.
Chris is musical director of Worcester Concert Brass and Malvern Hills District Brass Bands as well as composing and arranging music for ensembles including brass bands.
Edward studied Trumpet performance at Birmingham Conservatoire gaining an honours degree in 1997. During his studies he began freelancing, including playing Soprano Cornet for several of the leading
Championship section brass bands of the time. Alongside brass instrumental teaching, Edward was Principal Trumpet for Mid Wales Opera for 7 years, 3 of these also as Orchestra Manager. In 2002 he was successful in auditioning as an extra for the CBSO and the English National Ballet orchestra. As a soloist he has performed in the UK, America, France and Holland. Edward is currently a busy freelance musician, musical director and teacher. He is also Director & Orchestra Manager for The Film Orchestra project.
Drums / Percussion
Percussion / Raglejazz