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Anne Collis ARAM

Born in Preston, Lancashire, vicar's daughter Anne Collis, after turning down Island Record's invitation to become the drummer in an all female pop group (!) left the Royal Academy of Music to become the only London-based female percussion player of her time, playing with nearly all the major orchestras, ballet, opera companies, television and radio. Anne was a Junior Professor at the Royal Academy of Music for twelve years. She has been working with Nigel Shipway for thirty-five years.

anne - 2011Anne is also a composer. In February 1995 her first compositionb for full symphony orchestra, "HISTORIA DEL TORERO", was available on a CD called CURTAIN UP AT ABBEY ROAD (CDTES 6001). It is a short story ballet that was written for DANZA ESPANOLA, a group of senior students at the Elmhurst Ballet School who study Spanish dance. The group has been involved in a long and successful series of spectacular SPANISH FIESTA concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival and Barbican Halls in the 1980's and gave the first performance of HISTORIA in March 1994. It is dedicated to the memory of Francesca Dallaglio (sister of Laurence), who was a founder member of DANZA ESPANOLA and who died trajically at the age of 19 on the Marchioness - the Thames river boat that sank during a party in 1988.

Since then, Anne has set Laurence Binyon's 'FOR THE FALLEN' to music (first performed in St Martin-in-the-Fields and then again in Rochester Cathedral on 11th November 2001) and written a march for 899 Squadron, Sea Harriers, Fleet Air Arm. The Band of the Royal Marines first played this at the RNAS Base at Yeovilton on the occasion of Admiral's annual visit. These two pieces, plus new material dedicated to the memory of Lord Nelson and the Royal Navy have been incorporated into the cantata for Tenor, Choir and Orchestra: 'HEROES'.

She has also written incidental music for a BBC radio production of Shakespeare's JULIUS CAESER, a concerto for Andy Findon (for piccolo, flute, alto flute and contra-bass flute), a piece for solo piano, flute and small orchestra for Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and a string trio for the Veloce Trio, entitled THE RADIO TIMES SUITE - for the Channel Hopping Couch Potato With A Short Attention Span! With Justin Pearson she has written a musical based on THE TWITS by Roald Dhal, which was premiered to 'sell-out' audiences for two weeks a The Questor's Theatre in Ealing in May 1999 and the concert version of which was given to a full and enthusiastic QEH on May 3rd 2003.

Anne also conducts the NSO occasionally and still plays as No.2 to Nigel Shipway.

The link above will take you to Anne conducting a rehearsal of her accoustic version of the Liquid Spear Waltz from Donnie Darko for the famous Hyde Park Concert in the Summer of 2006. If you listen very carefully, at the very end you can hear the composer, Michael Andrews, saying 'sweet'.

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Anne Collis

The Only Girl in the Orchestra
Anne Collis

By Anne Collis.

When I left the Royal Academy of Music in 1964, there were no women on ANY instrument except the Harp in any major London orchestra, and certainly none on the Percussion! In fact when I entered the RAM in 1962, there were no students studying Timpani or Percussion at all.

There had been a couple of famous women a few years previously, Maggie Cotton (who went to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) and Pat Brady, who had held the job of Timpanist in the BBC Symphony Orchestra, but they were the only ones and non of the ‘Big Four (the LSO, RPO, LPO and Philharmonia) refused to even audition women!

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