Alison Balsom

Latest Release

Artist Playlists


About Alison Balsom

Playing fast and loud, in turn penetrating the high-note stratosphere, was the traditional measure of trumpeting before Alison Balsom launched her solo career in the early 2000s. While she can pass such technical tests with ease, her multifaceted musicianship has introduced countless listeners to the lyrical trumpet, an instrument blessed with infinite tonal shades, subtle varieties of articulation, and the potential to shape long, singing melodies. Those qualities, prized by past generations of trumpet and cornet players, had been diminished during the second half of the 20th century by the rise of powerful instruments made to cut through the weight of a full symphony orchestra. Balsom reversed the trend by restoring nuance to the trumpet-playing equation. Born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1978, Balsom has arguably done more than any other player to transform the trumpet’s macho image and bring it to a mainstream audience. Gabriel, her 2013 project at London’s Globe Theatre, placed her onstage as one of the actors in Samuel Adamson’s dramatic celebration of the life of Henry Purcell and reinforced her reputation as an innovator. Balsom, whose early musical experiences included playing in her hometown’s brass band, gained insights into the panoply of trumpet techniques as a student at London’s Guildhall School of Music and the Paris Conservatoire. She set a marker with her debut recording in 2002, a shrewdly curated album of music for trumpet and organ comprising works by Sweelinck, Purcell, Messiaen, and J.S. Bach, and has since pushed repertory boundaries with her recordings of trumpet concertos by James MacMillan and Bernd Alois Zimmermann, transcriptions of music by Satie, Piazzolla, and Django Reinhardt, and performances of tunes by Handel and Purcell on period instruments.

Hertfordshire, England
October 7, 1978

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada