The Owl Ensemble is a seven-piece comprising a string quartet with a jazz trio, blending layers of rhythmic patterns and soaring melodies, described as inventive and subverting classical traditions.
The Owl Ensemble was originally formed when Olivia and the drummer Myke Wilson found new inspiration in each others approach. This led to their collaboration and a mutual interest in writing for the string quartet. They formed the Owl Ensemble in 2008 and they held their premier at Manchester Jazz Festival that year when it was hailed as “inventive” by JazzWise magazine. In 2009, they performed in several venues including the Spin Off in Leeds and Zefferelli’s in Ambleside. This year they are booked for a show at the Contact Theatre, Manchester, Marsden Jazz Festival and the string quartet play in Paul Heaton’s ‘The 8th’ at Manchester International Festival.
The lineage of the string quartet goes back almost 300 years. The format is the cornerstone of classical chamber music and with good reason. The Owl Ensemble now succeeds in continuing its development through brilliant adaptation and absorption of influences from Indian, Flamenco, classical and much more, topped by startling improvisations. But it never loses the qualities that made this musical format stand the test of time.—
Olivia Moore – Violin
Clare Smith — Violin
Katherine Barnecutt – Viola
Semay Wu – Cello
David Muñoz – Piano
Sylvan Richardson – Bass
Myke Wilson – Drums
Clare Smith is frequently in demand to play in backing groups to touring artists and recently supported Joan Baez on her tour of the UK.
Katherine Barnecutt enjoys a lively career in music. She’s played the viola in ensembles and orchestras throughout the UK. Katherine currently lives in Dublin and is a member of The RTE concert orchestra.
Semay Wu, is the cellist and one half of duo Mayming: Semay’s music spans from classical to club – she has recorded and performed with artists including Jean Toussaint; bands including Toolshed, NinjaTunes and Homelife, and theatre companies including Forkbeard Fantasy.
David Muñoz is a great ensemble player and has brought his singing tone and fiery playing to many diverse projects and collaborations UK wide from Salsa to contemporary dance, short films, art installations and support for international artists with various bands including Tito Puente, Eliades Ochoa and Omar Puente.
Sylvan Richardson has a deep grounded musicality. He’s played with Simply Red, Joe Lovano, Tommy Smith, Gary Boyle and Andy Sheppard. He is also an experienced MD and producer in his own right in the pop industry, having worked with Ian Brown and Cleopatra.
Myke Wilson is a legendary, energetic and exciting drummer who plays a mixture of groove based Jazz and hip-hop. He has toured and recorded with Mike Walker, The Dust Junkies, Lamb, 808 State, Texas and Swing Out Sister.