Ellie Mayze

Ellie Mayze

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your life. Not necessarily music-related!

I’ve worked as a freelance double bassist since my teenage years, and took a break recently to start a family.  I played with Ricciotti Ensemble for their Scottish Fling tour of the Netherlands and Scotland last Summer, and it was an excellent introduction to street orchestras! I’ve just recently returned from Street Orchestra Live’s tour of the North-East of England.  Away from music, I love Frisbee, gardening, reading and campaigning for worthy causes.

How did you first get into music?

I started out having piano lessons at the age of 5, but didn’t find the double bass until I started High School at 11.  It was love at first play!  5 months later I successfully auditioned for what is now known as the City of Edinburgh Music School.  My 2nd study was piano, and composition was my 3rd study.  By the age of 14 I was playing with various semi-pro and pro music theatre productions.  From the age of 15 I was playing with various University orchestras and ensembles in their concerts and tours, when they were short of a bass player.  From 16 onwards I was freelancing, playing all genres.

What made you decide that music would be an important part of your life?

My love of playing the double bass meant that I was always happy spending hours and hours a day practising or performing.  My dream of becoming a professional kazoo player has sadly suffered as a result.

What has been your musical highlight so far?

During the Summer of 1993, when I was 16, I took part in two incredible tours. The Edinburgh Youth Orchestra’s European tour, with Alexander Myrat conducting, which lasted for 3 weeks and covered 10 cities in 6 countries.  The EYO won trophies for Best Orchestra and Best Radio Recording at the 22nd Vienna International Youth & Music Festival.  After 4 days at home I set off to the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland’s Summer Course and tour around the UK which culminated in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall’s Youth Proms which was broadcast live on Radio 3.  Playing The Planets by Holst on that stage is a cherished memory.  More recently, in 2010, I did a run of shows of ‘Hamlet! The Musical’ which comprised of a tight group of 10 musicians and 6 actors.  We won the MTM Audience Award for ‘Best Musical’ that year at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  That year I was also concurrently playing in a run of shows called ‘Soho Stories’ with a London Youth Theatre company, and had less than 20 minutes each day for a month to run from one stage after finishing the first show to get to the other!

Who are your favourite composers/artists/musicians?

When not playing I’m quite partial to chillhop, bangra, rap, ska, jazz and fusion.

What do you anticipate for the Nevis Ensemble?

I’ve already seen how Ricciotti and SOL have and develop their own group magic, based on the music chosen and the people playing in it, so I’m really looking forward to finding out what we’ll create in the Nevis Ensemble.  It’s fun watching people step out of the confines of typical classical recital into something more theatrical and entertaining!