Olivia and Myke Wilson had talked about collaborating for a long time, but The Owl Ensemble eventually came together in 2008. Combining influences of tango and Flamenco music, with free improvisation the band sounded quite unlike anything else when they premiered at the Royal Northern College of Music during the Manchester Jazz Festival. The project was hailed by Jazzwise magazine as ‘inventive.’
The juxtaposition of the classical string quartet with the jazz trio makes for an unlikely but distinctive and rich sound palette. At times the ensemble creates an intricate network of melodies, and at other times they build up layers of more groove-based rhythmic patterns; the resultant fusion is a powerful yet intimate experience.
John Ellis is one of the most distinguished and in-demand performers in the UK. His relaxed, supportive and flexible approach has seen him work with Cinematic Orchestra, Lily Allen, Corinne Bailey Rae and DJ Vadim.
Sylvan Richardson has a deep and grounding musicality and has 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 Iain Brown and Cleopatra.
Myke Wilson is an energetic and exciting drummer who’s playing straddles pop and jazz. He has toured and recorded with Mike Walker, The Dust Junkies, Lamb, 808 State, Texas, Swing Out Sister.
Clare Smith has played with the Lindsay Quartet and various Manchester orchestras.
Fiona Peterson is currently a full-time viola player with the BBC Philharmonic and works freelance for many other UK orchestras.
Danny Norbury is a sought-after cellist on the folk scene and as a multi-instrumentalist has written and recorded two EPs, ‘Dusk’ and ‘Jean Cockar’, on which he also plays dulcitone, melodica and musical saw.