Formed by clarinettist Chris Swann (biography) in 1980 this energetic woodwind quintet is comprised of renowned and experienced musicians drawn from Britain's leading orchestras. Often working as a sextet with piano and occasionally bringing in friends and colleagues from other sections of the orchestra, the ensemble embraces opportunities to perform in a variety of instrumental combinations.
In addition to formal chamber music recitals Zephyr offers schools' concerts and workshops.
Zephyr's repertoire is varied and extensive, ranging from Mozart to the present day, enabling the creation of diverse, interesting and exciting programmes. Concerts are introduced from the stage with warmth, insight and humour in an atmosphere which creates maximum enjoyment for players and listeners alike.
- “The third concert of the Skipton Music series ranked among the best I have heard since coming to Skipton in 1978. The programme planning was imaginative. The players tackled this demanding repertoire with skill, sensitivity and great musicianship. There was rubato, harmonic awareness, delicacy without dryness, attention to melodic line and structural significance. Beautiful wind colouring.” Adrienne Fox, The Craven Herald.
- “There was a real buzz of excitement among the audience, congratulations on a first-rate concert.” John McCabe, Sittingbourne Music Society.
- “Zephyr .... played unfamiliar but delightful music in various permutations. They are highly accomplished musicians in their own right and together their perfect unison and balance made their performance enchanting. Vitality of attack and their style and taste interpreted the music wonderfully well.” The Daily Telegraph.
- “Zephyr .... gave a stunning recital. Patently these players performed chamber music not only for the enjoyment of the audience but also for themselves.” Shropshire Star.
- “Their playing was faultless and perfectly demonstrated the unique timbre of each instrument.” Chorley Guardian.
- “Led by clarinettist Chris Swann (who provided lively and informative introductions to each item) the ensemble showed its professionalism in every department, and each member was able to lead or follow with equal ease and eloquence.” Dolgellau Music Club.
- The Mozart Serenade (for 12 winds and double bass) “received a deeply satisfying performance - -replete with refined tone, beautiful phrasing and sustained lyricism that confirmed the extraordinary artistry of ...oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, basset horn and double bass.” Louis Carus, Malvern Gazette and Ledbury Reporter.
- “With a varied programme full of different colours and sound worlds there was something for everyone. All of the pieces were played exceptionally well, the most memorable being Ligeti's Six Bagatelles ... these were played with fantastic commitment from the players ...” Also “special praise to Ian Buckle (pianist) for superb clear phrasing and wonderful dynamic control.” Hull Daily Mail reporting a concert for Hull chamber Music Club at Hull University.
- “The playing of the ensemble was really tight ... your professionalism in all areas was appreciated and I do not remember a wind ... concert that I have enjoyed so much ... the Poulenc (Sextet) came across superbly.. your introductions were a model of how to do it! Concise, informative and amusing they added to the evening greatly.” Jim Page, Secretary Bromsgrove Concerts.
- “Blown away by skill of players. Dvorak's Wind Serenade never fails to please and its sunny atmosphere and engaging rhythms inspired the players to a vibrant performance. ...the second movement was deliciously realised... Mozart's Serenade for Twelve Wind Instrument and Double Bass ... the first movement had an orchestra power and virtuosity and the delightful lyricism of the third movement was beautifully captured by the oboe and clarinet. The cohesion and sense of musical purpose of the players was an outstanding feature.” East Anglian Daily Times.