Vicky Tilson – a biography

Formerly a classically-trained pianist (Grade 7) and oboist (Grade 6), I took up classical double bass at 14 for one school year only, gaining ABRSM grades 1, 3 and 5 in just three terms.  Shortly after, a long spell in hospital with a severe form of OCD dashed my hopes of a place at music college and forced me onto an unorthodox pathway.  Whilst in hospital, I took up the bass guitar and rock music in an attempt to do some modern music (there was no jazz in my school).  In 1998 I moved to London to study Film & Communication Studies at Middlesex University, with a view to having a media career, whilst hoping the band I was in would get signed! After graduating with a 2:1 and performing with various original rock/indie bands, recording demo CDs and airplay on radio I succumbed to the calling of jazz in August 2003 and attended Jazz Academy under the guidance of Michael Garrick.  It changed my life. Evening and weekend classes at the City Literary Institute in central London followed, taking in jazz piano, harmony & ear training and woodshedding.  Four years later, I gained a place on the Guildhall School of Music MMus Jazz course and graduated in 2008.


I have previously performed with Tony Kofi, Henry Lowther, Quentin Collins, Kate Williams, Nick Smalley, Kevin Davy and Chris Allard amongst others and at venues including The Vortex, Pizza Express-Dean Street, Charlie Wright's, The Spice of Life, Oliver's and the Manchester Jazz Festival.  I gained an RSL Level 3 Diploma with distinction as a Music Educator from Rock School and QTS as a secondary school music teacher with the Kent Graduate Teacher Programme.  I am now honoured to be a tutor at Jazz Academy three times each year, which set the ball rolling for me in jazz originally.  I have studied double bass with Paul Moylan, Jeff Clyne, Steve Watts and Michael Janisch. I write for my own quartet, the VTQ, who were broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in December 2010, and have received plaudits from established musicians for our first two albums.  A third album is on its way this year, with a stunning new line up.  Acclaimed saxophonist Tony Kofi has said:

So keep your eyes and ears open and welcome Vicky Tilson to the world jazz stage.



(Photo Hannah Sutherland)


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