Jamie Savan has performed with many of the world’s leading period-instrument ensembles, including Concerto Palatino, Oltremontano, La Fenice, the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, and Concerto Italiano to name but a few, and continues to be in great demand as a freelance player of the cornett, mute cornett, and the oft-neglected ‘lizard’ or tenor cornett. He joined HMSC in 2003, and has since been responsible for researching and directing a number of innovative new programmes for the group. Jamie’s main passion is in discovering previously unknown music in old manuscripts and original printed part-books, and in bringing it to life though the process of transcribing, editing, performing and recording – both with HMSC, and with The Gonzaga Band, of which he is founder and director.
Since graduating from Oxford University with a first class degree in Music in 1997, he has maintained an interest in academic research and scholarship, whilst developing an international performing career. In 2005, he completed a doctorate in historical performance practice at Birmingham University. He held part-time lecturing positions at Birmingham and Hull and was a visiting professor of cornett at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff and the Guildhall in London before taking up his current position as Lecturer in Music and Head of Performance at Newcastle University in 2010.
Jamie began his musical life as a trumpet player: as an undergraduate he studied with Michael Laird (the renowned pioneer of both the natural trumpet and cornett), and passed the ARCM diploma in trumpet performance with honours. He went on to specialise on the cornett as a postgraduate student of Jeremy West at the Royal College of Music in London, funded by a Leverhulme studentship, and with Bruce Dickey at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, funded by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust and the Musicians’ Benevolent Fund.
His playing has received considerable critical acclaim: a BBC Radio 3 presenter recently described his sound as 'the most beautifully toned cornetto playing I've heard'. A reviewer for the BBC Music Magazine had ‘rarely heard mellifluous swing to match cornettist Jamie Savan’s’, while the Telegraph, in an echo of Mersenne, described his ‘superb technique and truly singing tone’ as a ‘glorious ray of musical sunshine’.