"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 RNCM and have since been exploring an eclectic range of repertoire and possibilities for this unusual instrumentation.
The duo perform regularly around the UK and recently 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 the International Anthony Burgess Foundation 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 Esther Swift, Paul Mitchell-Davidson and Melissa Douglas.
A highlight in 2019 was a collaboration with composer Gavin Wayte. This Arts Council England funded project, working alongside pupils from a local high school, created a new composition for saxophone, harp and electronics, which premiered at Uppermill Summer Music Festival. This project was developed and expanded later that year, to include vocalists, three ensemble harps and percussion, which was performed alongside RNCM students.
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.