Awards for Artists
Image of Mark Lockheart
Photo: Emile Holba.

Mark Lockheart

Mark Lockheart (born 1961) holds improvisation at the heart of his compositional practice. He takes ideas that appear through the natural process of playing his primary instrument, the saxophone, and develops these into more substantial forms. He often uses existing material as inspiration, taking fragments of music, manipulating and deconstructing the harmony, melody and rhythm, then reconstructing them into new compositions.

Lockheart came to prominence with the 1980s big band Loose Tubes, before forming jazz/folk quartet Perfect Houseplants which collaborated with artists The Orlando Consort and Andrew Manze. He went on to record and perform with jazz, folk, pop and classical artists, including June Tabor, Stereolab, Prefab Sprout, Radiohead and Mark-Anthony Turnage. In 2003, Lockheart joined experimental jazz quintet Polar Bear, recording six albums, two of which received Mercury Award nominations. In 2009, he released his quintet album In Deep followed by his first big-band album Days Like These with the NDR Bigband and was named All Party Parliamentary Jazz Musician of 2010.

Ellington in Anticipation, a radical re-working of Duke Ellington melodies, was awarded MOJO magazine’s Jazz Album of 2013. Lockheart formed the trio Malija in 2014 recording two albums for saxophone, piano and bass.  His recent work Days on Earth interweaves contemporary European jazz with the shifting textures of a 30-piece orchestra and signals an increased focus on large scale composing.

Lockheart teaches at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

It’s a great honour to receive this award at a pivotal time in my life as a composer. I believe there is no set age that artists develop or realise their best work, and this is uniquely acknowledged by Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The endorsement and support this award represents will enable me to develop my ambitious concepts and ideas for large-ensemble compositions over the next few years. Thank you to the Foundation, the nominators, judges and everyone who has given me support throughout my career.
Mark Lockheart

Examples of work

Believers, 2017

Saxophones (Mark Lockheart and Alice Leggett), guitars (John Parricelli), piano (Liam Noble), bass (Tom Herbert), drums (Sebastian Rochford) and 30 piece orchestra.

9 minutes 50 seconds duration (extract 2m 13s).

From the large-scale work Days On Earth written for jazz sextet and 30-piece orchestra. Premiered at Milton Court Concert Hall in January 2019.

Party Animal, 2018

Saxophones (Mark Lockheart and Alice Leggett), guitars (John Parricelli), piano (Liam Noble), bass (Tom Herbert), drums (Sebastian Rochford) and 30-piece orchestra.

Group improvisation by Mark Lockheart, Alice Leggett (saxes), Rowland Sutherland (flute), Laura Jurd (trumpet).

9 minutes duration (extract 2m 2s).

From the large-scale work Days On Earth written for jazz sextet and 30-piece orchestra. Premiered at Milton Court Concert Hall in January 2019.

Triana, 2017

Saxophones (Mark Lockheart and Alice Leggett), guitars (John Parricelli), piano (Liam Noble), bass (Tom Herbert), drums (Sebastian Rochford) and 30-piece orchestra.

5 minutes 10 duration (extract 2m 10s).

From the large-scale work Days On Earth written for jazz sextet and 30-piece orchestra. Premiered at Milton Court Concert Hall in January 2019.

Beautiful Man, 2013

Alto and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet, violin, piano, bass and drums.

4 minutes 34 seconds duration (extract 2m 15s). The solo violin is played by Emma Smith.

From the project Ellington In Anticipation, which started as a composition workshop at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance using Duke Ellington’s music for inspiration.