John A Sampson is an Edinburgh-based professional musician, composer and actor. A well known and loved performer on the UK music scene for over forty years and a respected actor for almost as long, he has also appeared extensively on the continent, particularly in Germany where his accomplished brand of musical comedy and cabaret is held in great affection, and his classical and jazz performance skills are highly regarded.
He is also well-known for his collaborations with poets – particularly a wonderfully successful 15-year association with poet-laureate Carol Ann Duffy during which their interplay of words and music has received rave reviews all over the UK.
John is a member of The Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain.
John plays a bewildering array of recorders, crumhorns, shepherds pipes, and whistles, in sizes ranging from tiny to enormous, and does so in a virtuoso manner than leaves audiences entranced – particularly when he performs his trademark pieces such as the Paganini Variations or the Faerie Dance. His now famous piece Schizophrenia – in which he plays two recorders and hums at the same time – always elicits gasps of surprise.
Classically trained, he is an expert on early music and has played with a number of orchestras which specialise in this area.
His ability to play with and absorb the influences of a wide range of musicians means that he has also found an equal capability in the folk scene and for many years was part of the immensely popular Fourth Estaite which included Robin Harper who is now better known as the Green Party’s first Member of the Scottish Parliament! John has also worked with such stars as Johnny and Phil Cunningham, and Anne Lorne Gillies.
Frances Scott trained as a pianist with Colin Horsley and Derrick Wyndham at the Royal Northern College of Music, winning the Royal Overseas League Prize for Accompaniment. After graduating, she joined the Music Staff at Scottish Ballet. This led to working for over ten years on the Music Staff of the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, before returning to her native Scotland where she became the Youth Music Initiative Coordinator for City of Edinburgh Council. Throughout her career as a professional pianist, she has accompanied singers and played in chamber groups, often on the harpsichord. She was a member of the Beaumont Ensemble, Kist o’ Music, and the Vivaldi Concertante, and an original member of Live Music Now! At the moment, in addition to working with John Sampson, she plays with Bruntsfield Baroque, and Snappy Operas, the educational offshoot of Mahogany Opera, which performed at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.