Eric Crees was born in London and studied at Wandsworth School, where, in the famous boys’ choir, he worked with many distinguished professional orchestras and conductors. Of particular importance was the school’s long association with Benjamin Britten, who wrote a solo part for him in the Children’s Crusade.
While still at school he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and as a student undertook an extensive period of work with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble. Having won the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society’s ‘Joyce Dixey Award’ for composition, he graduated from the University of Surrey with first class honours and joined the London Symphony Orchestra, where he spent twenty-seven years, twenty as Co-Principal Trombone. In September 2000 he was appointed Principal Trombone at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
As director of London Symphony Orchestra Brass for many years he regularly conducted them at the Barbican Centre and internationally. He has made five CDs with the ensemble: two originally for Collins Classics, American Brass and Cathedral Brass, featuring many of his arrangements, which are now being released on LSO Live and three of a world première recording by Naxos Records of the complete instrumental ensemble sonatas and canzonas of Giovanni Gabrieli for which he made a new performing edition.
Since joining Covent Garden, he has directed the Royal Opera House Brass Soloists in concert at the Floral Hall to great critical success and has released live CDs - ‘On The Town’ and ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, with a third due for release.
He has also written acclaimed arrangements for The London Trombone Sound and The London Horn Sound, for Cala Records, and has worked for many of the world’s most distinguished ensembles and brass bands in concerts, recordings, television and radio broadcasts. His symphonic version of Bernstein’s Suite from West Side Story has been commercially recorded five times.
Recent original compositions include Silk Street Stomp written for the Guildhall School of Music Big Band and played at a festival of youth big bands at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Two Antiphonal Fanfares performed at the Lord Mayor’s banquet at the Mansion House, Frighteners’ Gallop for 8 horns commissioned by the British Horn Society, Orage for 16 trombones written for Bone Lab and premiered at the Dartington Summer School, The Birth of Conchobar again for symphonic brass and percussion commissioned by the Ulster Youth Orchestra, Three Sketches from Rackham for flute and harp, Flourish for solo trombone and Carillons for six harps for the Royal Academy of Music Harp Ensemble.
In order to provide a vehicle for the larger ensemble repertoire that Eric had developed, he formed The Symphonic Brass of London, which he now runs with fellow trombonist, composer and arranger Nick Lloyd.
Eric is also an internationally renowned teacher and is Professor of Trombone, B.Mus. course tutor, Conductor of Wind, Brass and Percussion, and arranging and composing lecturer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where he was made a Fellow in 1991. He is a frequent coach at music colleges and specialist schools both in the UK and abroad as well as the National Youth Orchestras of Great Britain, Belgium, Spain, France the Ulster Youth Orchestra and the Pacific Youth Orchestra in Japan. Many of his students now hold important orchestral and teaching positions throughout the world.
He is also in great demand as a juror for international competitions such as the Donatella Flick and the Leonard Bernstein Conducting Competitions, the Narbonne International Brass Quintet and the Slokar Trombone Competitions, as well as the National, European and the All England Masters Brass Band Championships.
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