Jules Buckley, conductor, composer, and arranger

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music and who or what have been the most important influences on your musical life and career?

Back in the late 1980s we had a booming county music service that happened after school. I had two fantastic music teachers, Nick Care and Kathy Gifford, and they introduced me to the trumpet, to Miles Davis, and the wonders of the musical worlds of classical, jazz, pop and others. Throughout my teens they encouraged me to explore and develop my skills, knowledge and appreciation of music.

For me the most important influences were my teachers and mentors, without their careful guidance, wisdom and knowledge I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now and I think that’s key for anybody who’s looking to have a career int he arts it’s about finding your mentor.

What have been the greatest challenges of your career so far?

For me one of the greatest challenges have been to understand my limits and know what I can and cannot do and make the decisions so that when I’m making music,  I’m making it to the best of my ability.

For me another greatest challenge has been learning to not take on too much and dedicate all my energy to one thing and do it as well as I can possibly do it.

Which performances/recordings are you most proud of? 

Live  – The Quincy Jones Prom in 2016 with the Metropole Orkest and in 2020 putting a Prom together with Anoushka Shankar and Gold Panda during the Covid pandemic with the Britten Sinfonia.

Anoushka Shankar and Gold Panda

Recording – Snarky Puppy & Metropole Orkest making a live recording of Sylva which went on to win a Grammy and The Breaks with The Heritage Orchestra and Ghost-Note which is coming out September 3rd

The Breaks Prom

Apache on Spotify

What do you do off stage that provides inspiration on stage?

Listening to music both live and on vinyl, appreciating credible music and musicianship and trying to take the highs of that into my own work

How do you make your repertoire choices from season to season?

I try to keep my finger on the pulse and find collaborations or themes that I feel both push and lift the ensemble, soloists and audience.

Do you have a favourite concert venue to perform in and why?

The Royal Albert Hall

What do you feel needs to be done to grow classical music audiences/listeners?

Provide more funding and opportunities for young kids to pick up instruments and learn classical instruments in schools and to make sure music is a core part of the curriculum.

What is your most memorable concert experience?

Stage diving with Pete Tong in 2018

As a musician, what is your definition of success?

Leaving no stone unturned in your preparation and trying to take yourself to the point that when you’re on stage you’re no longer thinking about what you’re doing…. you’re just doing it.

What do you consider to be the most important ideas and concepts to impart to aspiring musicians?

Never feel restricted by the rules and trust your first idea.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Re-installing music as a core part of music education in the UK and making sure kids from all background have the possibility to pick up an instrument and learn it should they wish.

Jules Buckley’s new single, his version of the Manzel classic ‘Space Funk’, is released now, taken from his upcoming album ‘The Breaks’, a collaboration with Chris Wheeler and the Heritage Orchestra and Ghost-Note, to be released on September 3rd via Decca Records.

On August 21st, Jules Buckley will present his 17th BBC Prom: Moses Sumney Meets Jules Buckley and the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. Blending soul, jazz, art-pop and spoken word, singer-songwriter Moses Sumney will perform songs from his albums ‘Aromanticism’ and ‘græ’ in orchestral form, with new arrangements courtesy of Buckley.

Conductor, arranger, curator and composer, Jules Buckley is a unique and rare breed of artist. He has collaborated with some of the most important musicians on the planet, trailblazing his way through a staggering discography of almost 70 albums – more than most artists achieve in a lifetime. He is a Grammy winner with two No.1 albums and the go-to orchestrator for some of the world’s leading names in music. Through his mastery of non-classical orchestral music, he has pushed the boundaries of almost all musical genres by placing them in an orchestral context, earning himself a reputation as a pioneering genre alchemist.

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