"What a joy it was to hear this unusual pairing of instruments...the sax was beautifully controlled and the harp rich in sound, resulting in a beautiful colour to the music.
With their musicality and engaging stage presence they are already well accomplished. They are destined to be rising stars of the future."
-Peter Ruddock, Ribfest
The Polaris Duo are delighted to have released their debut album 'illuminate'!
The album features works by Manchester based composers Andy Scott, Melissa Douglas and Rob Buckland as well as arrangements and original works by Gustav Bumcke, C.P.E. Bach, Camille Saint-Saens and Paul Mitchell-Davidson.
Gillian Blair (saxophone) and Elinor Nicholson (harp) formed the Polaris Duo in 2011 whilst studying at the Royal Northern College of Music. They have since been exploring an eclectic range of repertoire and possibilities for this unusual instrumentation.
The duo perform regularly around the UK and in 2018 made their international debut in Croatia at the World Saxophone Congress. They have performed at UK venues including the Bridgewater Hall, Buxton Opera House, Warwick University and Leeds International Concert Season as well as regularly performing for music societies. They are BBC Introducing Artists, were 2nd prize winners in the British Harp Chamber Music Competition and have been featured in the Lake District Summer Music ‘New Generation Artists’ Concert Series.
The Polaris Duo is dedicated to presenting new music and expanding the repertoire for this uncommon pairing of instruments. The duo enjoy arranging existing works and commissioning new music from composers which has led to them giving UK, European and World premieres of numerous works. Their most recent commissions include compositions by Melissa Douglas, Esther Swift and Paul Mitchell-Davidson. In Summer 2019 they collaborated with composer Gavin Wayte on an Arts Council England funded project working with pupils from a local sixth form college to create music around the theme of borders. This project also saw the duo give the premiere of Gavin’s work ‘Crossing’ for Soprano Saxophone, Harp and Electronics at the Uppermill Summer Music Festival. The duo have continued to work with Gavin on a further expansion of the piece, ‘Crossing 2’, which was premiered by the duo and the RNCM New Ensemble at the 2019 ‘New Music Manchester’ Festival.
They released their debut album; ‘illuminate’ in April 2018. The music featured includes original works by Manchester based composers Andy Scott, Rob Buckland and Melissa Douglas alongside arrangements of works by well known composers including C.P.E. Bach and Camille Saint-Saëns.
In addition to their work as performers, the Polaris Duo is passionate about education and outreach and has delivered workshops for the ‘Classical Kids’ Concert Series and Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra’s Outreach Programme. They are proud to be artists for Yehudi Menuhin’s ‘Live Music Now’ Scheme where they perform to people who may not normally have the opportunity to experience live music.