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Inspiring music in Inspiring buildings

Acoustic Triangle's 2005 summer UK tour was a major celebration of real acoustic music in inspiring buildings - from small chapels to vast Cathedrals.

Members of the group composed new music especially for these extraordinary spaces. These were performed alongside the trio's unusual arrangements of music by Maurice Ravel, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Stan Tracey and others. As always, no amplification was used at the concerts, so audiences were able to enjoy the beautiful ambience of the buildings themselves.

Acoustic Triangle performed 28 concerts in carefully selected sacred venues in England and Wales. A broad mix of denominations was chosen - Church of England, Methodist, United Reform, High Anglican as well as a variety of Abbeys and chapels. Some were sacred buildings in which music and arts programming already occurs, some were linked to festivals, but a significant number were venues which don't usually promote such events. We are extremely grateful to the following organisations for their generous help with the 2005 tour:

Arts Council England
PRS Foundation
Yamaha Music
Jazz Services Ltd



Because of their size, and the materials with which they are built, sacred buildings very often possess extraordinarily beautiful 'live' acoustics as well as awe-inspiring visual characteristics and ambience. For audiences, they are wonderful places in which to gain a memorable listening experience. Acoustic Triangle is probably the only genuinely acoustic jazz-based ensemble in Britain. Performing entirely without any amplification, the trio sounds at its best in these buildings.


England and Wales contain the largest and finest collection of ancient and architecturally important sacred buildings in the world. These wonderful structures are situated in the very heart of every community in the country, and yet many are under-used. Many are indeed threatened with closure, conversion into flats and offices, or even demolition.

For centuries our great sacred buildings represented not only the religious but also the cultural focus-point in each community. People would go to the local church for numerous activities including teaching and learning, performing, even eating and sheltering from the weather. Now, sadly, many millions of people travel past them each day without ever going inside.

The members of Acoustic Triangle share an interest in sacred buildings - for their architectural as well as their acoustic qualities - and feel that they have an important place in the architectural heritage and cultural life of the country. This project was designed to help more people to become aware of them, to appreciate them, and perhaps to have a reason to go inside them - thereby contributing to their preservation.


Sacred buildings are usually found right in the centre of communities - in which, all too often, there is a dearth of creative art. There is undoubtedly a shortage of established venues in which Britain's numerous world-class musicians and artists can perform or display their work. The potential for Britain's beautiful sacred buildings to be enjoyed as 'arts venues', in addition to their primary role as religious centres, is enormous. And they are already there - built and waiting to be enjoyed.

In previous years, Acoustic Triangle had some notable successes playing in sacred buildings which were already 'geared-up' for musical performances, such as the Royal Naval Chapel in Greenwich, St. George's Bristol (where the trio's first and second albums were recorded), St. John's Church in Buxton and Pinner Parish Church. Audience response in these venues had been overwhelmingly favourable.

So the trio decided to bring its work into a greater number of sacred buildings - including ones which don't generally promote music - and to encourage further artistic activity within them in the future. Hence the 2005 tour and the ongoing project.


Acoustic Triangle is keen to introduce its music to new listeners - outside of the established 'scene'. The trio is bringing its music to parts of the country where performances of this kind are not generally heard. There are many people who don't ever go to jazz clubs to hear jazz or to concert halls to hear classical concerts. Bringing this music to buildings on their own doorstep offers them an opportunity to hear and enjoy something new without having to travel a long way. Those who enjoy the experience will surely seek more in the future. As part of the publicity for the 2005 tour, schools, community organisations and other groups were contacted in each area in order to encourage local people to attend the performances.


The project was an exciting opportunity to create genuinely new music. The sacred buildings themselves are hugely inspiring for composers as well as for performers. Original music was created especially for these spaces. The buildings themselves had a profoundly important role in the creative process throughout.

"The building is the fourth member of our trio." Tim Garland

New works by Tim Garland and Gwilym Simcock were commissioned especially for performance in the chosen buildings. Additionally, all three members of the group contributed arrangements of musical themes taken from secular and sacred sources from a wide variety of places around the world. The programme was a celebration of diverse and contrasting music in beautiful spaces.


Malcolm Creese, Tim Garland and Gwilym Simcock are keen to contribute to the breaking-down of some rather ingrained 'barriers' between jazz, folk and classical disciplines. Their music reflects their diverse backgrounds and influences from various different parts of the musical spectrum.


Workshops, pre-concert talks or master-classes took place in a number of sacred venues during the 2005 tour. Local schools, colleges and music societies provided participants. People of all levels of ability were welcomed. Advanced students experienced new and exciting ways of blending extended 'classical' writing, jazz harmony, folk melodies and improvisation. Those with little or no musical experience were able to gain a fascinating insight into some rich and varied sounds from different cultures, and Acoustic Triangle's unique treatment of them. There was a particular focus on the sacred buildings, their history, architecture and sonic qualities.

"Thank you all for ... the immensely stimulating workshops ...followed by the inspirational lunchtime concert in the Cathedral. It was fascinating to observe your handling of, and reaction to, the bolder acoustics of that wonderful building. You have given us valuable food for thought and some uplifting music-making into the bargain: thank you all again." Graham Griggs - Director of Music at the King's School, Ely.


Acoustic Triangle's 2005 tour was designed to be the first stage in a broader scheme, in which members of the public gain from more music and art on their doorstep, musicians and artists gain new inspiration and more places to perform and display their work, and Britain's sacred buildings gain from a greater throughput of people, and the consequential benefits to their preservation. Long-term aims include:

  • creating a large nationwide network of sacred buildings which promote music and the arts
  • building a comprehensive database of these buildings
  • encouraging and enabling other musicians and artists to have access to religious buildings
  • helping those who work in sacred buildings to gain the information and skills required for promoting arts events
  • bringing art and culture to more communities
  • encouraging arts education work in sacred places
  • encouraging cross-cultural and cross-religious understanding and appreciation
  • bringing together music and musicians from different genres to create new and exciting forms
  • building audiences for new and creative music
  • encouraging appreciation and preservation of our architectural heritage

Acoustic Triangle
Intro | 2005 Tour of Sacred Places | Concert Schedule | Recordings | Bios | History | Pictures | Reviews | Feedback | Press Kit

Acoustic Triangle in the Studio


Click on these links for full concert and venue details:

Tue, May 31
ST. DAVID'S Cathedral

Wed, Jun 1
LONDON - St. James's Piccadilly

Fri, Jun 10
COLDHARBOUR, Surrey - Christchurch

Sat, Jun 11
HASLEMERE, Surrey - St. Bartholomew's

Sat, Jun 18
SEVENOAKS St. Luke's Church, Kent

Sun, Jun 19
CORSHAM, Wiltshire - St. Bartholomew's

Fri, Jun 24
NORTHAMPTON - St. Sepulchre's

Sat, Jul 2
BRIGHTON - St. Bartholomew's

Fri, Jul 15
ROMSEY Abbey, Hampshire

Sat, Jul 16
AUST Church, Gloucestershire

Mon, Jul 18
CHESTER - St. Mary's

Fri, Jul 22
STAPLEFORD, Hertfordshire - St. Mary's

Sun, Jul 24
PETWORTH, Sussex - St. Mary's

Fri, Aug 5
STOCKTON-ON-TEES - Parish Church of St. Thomas

Fri, Aug 12
LINCOLN Cathedral

Sun, Aug 14
BRECON Cathedral

Wed, Aug 24
MACHYNLLETH, Powys - The Tabernacle

Thu, Sep 8
GREENWICH - Royal Naval Chapel

Mon, Sep 12
DORCHESTER Abbey, Oxfordshire

Wed, Sep 14

Thu, Sep 15
LANCASTER - St. John's Church

Fri, Sep 16
HOLYHEAD, Anglesey - Canolfan Ucheldre Centre

Sun, Sep 18
HEXHAM Abbey, Northumberland

Thu, Sep 22
ELY Cathedral, Cambridgeshire

Sat, Oct 22
BANBURY, St Mary's Church

Fri, Nov 18

Sat, Nov 19
TEIGNMOUTH, Devon - United Reform Church

Wed, Dec 7
LONDON - St. Cyprian's Marylebone

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