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Billy Marrows

  • Billy Marrows
  • composer
  • guitar
  • guitarist

Billy Marrows

Photo: Jess Bullen

NYJC Summer School year(s): 2011 and 2012

Winner of 2019 Eddie Harvey Jazz Arranger of the Year Award  

Won the small ensemble category Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition in 2016

Won the big band category Dankworth Prize for Jazz Composition in 2018 

Billy Marrows is a London-based guitarist and award-winning composer. Billy leads a variety of ensembles and is a member of a number of projects led by rising stars of the London jazz scene. He has toured the UK with the Tom Barford Group and saxophonist Tom Ridout and has performed at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, the Vortex, Jazz Nursery, the 606, Total Refreshment Centre and UK jazz festivals. He plays in Patchwork Jazz Orchestra, a big band which has premiered new music by Billy in the 2018 and 2019 London Jazz Festivals and at Giardini La Mortella, Italy. Appearing on several albums, Billy was singled out as ‘one to watch’ in the Jazzwise review of Tom Barford’s album ‘Bloomer’, released on Edition records in 2018. 

Billy frequently writes music for his own projects and various large ensembles. Most recently his composition ‘Genmaicha’  was released by Patchwork Jazz Orchestra on their record ‘The Light That Shines‘, recorded remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic. He wrote a suite for his octet inspired by gamelan for the 2016 Lancaster Youth Jazz Commission and his music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In October 2018, Billy studied with Vince Mendoza at the Metropole Orkest Arrangers Workshop in Holland. His arrangement of Man in the Mirror was performed at the Lantaren Venster Rotterdam by the Metropole Orkest and New York based singer-songwriter Becca Stevens. 

An alumnus of the Royal Academy of Music in London, Billy graduated with a first-class degree in jazz guitar performance in 2017. Billy is also involved in a range of music education work.

NYJC had a huge impact on me as a young musician. I was very into both playing and composing jazz by the age of 15/16 and met Issie Barratt on the 2010 Sound and Music Summer School. She was very encouraging and asked me to compose a piece for an NYJC Dectet. Issie gave me helpful advice for how to present my piece on the page, which I still follow to this day and it was super inspiring to hear my piece played by such incredible young musicians. This led me to apply for the NYJC summer school, which I attended in 2011 and 2012. This was undoubtedly a life changing experience, without which I doubt I would have ended up studying at the Royal Academy of Music. The opportunity to study with Mike Walker changed the way I thought about playing, particularly in regards to playing what you hear in your head and playing in service of the music. Having grown up in a small village, meeting the other young musicians was incredibly exciting and many of them I still play with now.