BJFCE 2020



Born and raised in Poland in a musical family, Maja went on to study violin and composition with a scholarship at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, graduating with first-class honours in 2018.
A keen improviser, contemporary music performer and chamber musician, she is a member of 2019/20 BCMG NEXT cohort and regularly performs with Birmingham-based Infinite Opera company, which focuses on promoting science through music and reaching new audiences.

She also teaches violin and piano and delivers musical workshops, working with primary school children in Birmingham.
Outside music Maja loves learning languages, currently working on improving her Spanish, and contemporary dance.

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Winner of the 2018 BBC Young Jazz Musician of the year, Xhosa Cole is an embodiment of the success of numerous community arts programmes in Birmingham.
Having grown up in Handsworth and first played the Tenor at Andy Hamilton’s Ladywood Community Music School, he’s now among a long legacy of Birmingham Saxophonists including Soweto Kinch and Shabaka Hutchings.
Over the course of the past 12 Months Xhosa has performed twice at the BBC Proms,
Composed music for the Ripieno Players, a Birmingham Based String Orchestra, recorded saxophone for Mahalia’s debut album ‘Love and Compromise’, completed a 22 date UK tour, all along side his studies as a scholar at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.

Xhosa Also received the Parliamentary Jazz Award for ‘Best Newcomer’ in 2019.

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Reuben Reynolds has developed a reputation as a highly skilled, reliable and sought-after freelance musician & guitar tutor from the midlands music scene. Through his work as a music director, collaborations with numerous songwriters/producers and his experience working with a number of acclaimed artists, Reuben is known for his tireless enthusiasm and high standards.

After achieving a First Class BA Honours Degree in Music Performance & Professional Practice, he began teaching in schools across the country, as-well-as providing mentoring for the professional and artistic development of young artists/musicians.


Nathan England Jones is a musician based in Birmingham. He is a graduate from the Birmingham Conservatoire Jazz course, where he studied with Andrew Bain, Clark Tracey and Jeff Williams and was awarded the Tony Levin Drum Prize in 2015. He has performed a diverse range of music; from playing on Radio 3 late night proms, to touring with electronic producer Ghost Culture, to featuring as a soloist in Birtwhistle’s ‘Panic’ performed by Thallein Orchestra.

He has played at such venues as Ronnie Scot’s, Pizza Express Jazz Club and Corsica Studios, as well as Les Inrocks festival and Cheltenham Jazz festival.

He also performs regularly with bands Odsmansbox and Zyggurat.


Tom Tyrrell AKA Ridlaa is a rapper and beat maker basedin Birmingham, producing content with moving image.

Drawing inspiration from struggles with an AVM in the brain and managing a hidden condition, Ridlaa tells stories using creative writing and visuals. His tracks are extracts from his life, employing metaphors and self-deprecating satire to aid his artistic vision and expression.
Ridlaa is also a filmmaker and illustrator, creating his own visual presence and appeal.


I have previously excelled in leading and organising the Afrobeat band The Sea Slugs, where several musicians were of different levels of skills, talents and age (in-particular younger than myself).

I was successful in this role, showing my ability to work with varying musicians, encouraging original ideas, executing professional shows and record-ing original albums. In this role, I balanced the line between art and socio-commentary, and immersing myself in understanding music of African origin, in-particular West-Africa, which was supported and developed by yourselves and Dele Sosimi.

Furthermore, managing a large group with differing personalities and skill sets while keeping the breadth of talent connected and expressive, very much works towards the Creative Ensemble as I see it. I’m a skilled musician, and empathetic both through music and peer-to-peer support, whether that be talking, listening or advising. This is highlighted in my current work running music sessions for the last two years in both a Young Offenders Prison YOI/HMP Brinsford and Adult Cat C HMP Featherstone with the charity Changing Tunes.

While adept at playing instruments and arranging large ensembles, I have also been sharpening my use of, and expression in, music production – be it Rap, beats, etc. Also, as a man of the African Diaspora who has been encouraged in and engaged with Yoruba arts and culture, through Afrobeat, but also the wider musical traditions of griots and history of West African, I feel that I will be a great fit for this role.