Saxophonist, clarinettist and composer Rob Hall has forged a highly individual path in contemporary music consistently producing engaging, expressive and exploratory work that straddles genres.
Born into a musical family, his mother was a professional recorder soloist and his father an organist and choral director with professional singing experience, he was raised in Kent where he took up recorder, piano and clarinet, and later in Essex where he added classical guitar. After a four year period playing clarinet with the Essex Youth Orchestra he went on to study classical music and performance at Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music. It was here that Rob's interests in contemporary & improvised music and in composition began to flourish and he continued his studies for one year as a scholarship student at Berklee College of Music in the USA.
Tours, performances, recordings and broadcasts both radio and television, have taken him across the UK from Shetland to Penzance, and to Europe and America. Rob has appeared on recordings and performances with Kenny Wheeler, Mike Stern, Dan Gottlieb, Matthew Herbert, Phil Cunningham, Aidan O'Rourke, Simon Thoumire, Anne Martin, Roddy Woomble, Chick Lyall, Philipp van Endert, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, Paragon Ensemble Scotland and many others. Festival appearances include Edinburgh International and Jazz festivals, Bath, Cheltenham, Celtic Connections, Prague International, BBC Proms as well as being a featured artist at Liverpool Jazz festival, the Highland festival, and Glastonbury Jazz Stage.
Rob's own CD releases are on the FMR contemporary music label. His debut CD Open Up, which features guitarist Jim Mullen, attracted much attention and excellent reviews. A 2nd CD with his regular touring quartet Heading North enjoyed similar success. In 2001 Rob was commissioned as both composer and performer by the Highland Festival to collaborate on a performance piece A Highland Canvas with visual artists John McGeogh (video) and James Hawkins (artist). Rob’s 3rd FMR recording Free-world Music with his innovative and experimental quartet Freewheelers was released in July 2002. 2005 saw the release of The Beaten Path with pianist/composer Chick Lyall with a second CD Rhyme or Reason released in 2009 funded by Creative Scotland. 2010 saw the premiere of Borderland a large scale commission for big band. In 2011 Scottish Jazz Expo promoted Rob Hall & Chick Lyall internationally at jazz festivals in Italy and Edinburgh where they released their 3rd CD together Blithe Spirit. The Vine & the Fig Tree commissioned by the Devon based choral group eXe Singers premiered on Remembrance Day in Nov 2011.
Broadcasts, both recorded and live, have included BBC Radio2, BBC Radio3, JazzFM, BBC Scotland.
Rob is also at the forefront of the UK gospel music scene, regularly performing and recording in major venues. He has appeared with Praise Gathering, New Scottish Arts, Keith & Christine Getty, Dave Pope, Ian White, Gamu Nenghu, Beverley Trotman and many others.
An active composer, he has written music and undertaken commissions for large and small ensembles and solo works both in classical and jazz genres with many performances and recordings. These include works for choirs, chamber orchestra, jazz orchestra, and numerous compositions for small jazz ensembles. His music has been performed in such venues as London's Royal Festival Hall and Barbican Hall , Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and RNCM Concert Hall Manchester.
As an educator Rob has extensive teaching and facilitating experience with all sectors from Primary level through to Higher and Adult education. His tireless commitment to jazz education for more than 18 years has benefitted hundreds of aspiring and professional musicians. He is the founder of the national company Jazz Course UK and manages his own education venue The Music Workshop in south Scotland. Rob works for the ABRSM as a Dual Examiner (Classical and Jazz) and as a Course Presenter. He also teaches Saxophone & Improvisation at one of Scotland’s top independent schools Dollar Academy. Positions he has held have included Learning Assistant Tutor at Berklee College of Music USA, Jazz Improvisation Lecturer at the Royal Scottish Conservatoire and Artist in Residence with WEA Scotland.
Rob is musical director of the Glasgow City Big Band and is in demand as an ensemble coach.
Rob currently plays Sopranino, Soprano, Alto, Tenor saxophones, Bb, A, Eb, Bass clarinets.
He lives in south Scotland near the Borders with his wife Abi and their three children.