Having started at the piano at 7 and then taking up the oboe 4 years later, Alice began percussion lessons aged 14 and it quickly became her passion. She left school with Grade 8 Distinction in all three, but percussion had definitely become her first instrument and after one term of her music degree at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, she took over as principal of the Oxford University Orchestra. Through this, she learnt how to lead a section, how to run rehearsals and, probably most importantly, she became very good at loading heavy instruments into a van (or, on occasion, dragging timpani uphill in the bicycle lane because orchestra funds were tight). Although her degree was heavily academic, with few performance opportunities, over the course of her three years there Alice played with most of the university ensembles and was an ISIS scholar throughout, as well as gaining her ABRSM Diploma. She was awarded a Joan Conway Scholarship in her last year, which she used to attend an NYMT course and here she came to realise that musical theatre was her calling. She returned the following year for another show with them, before playing in her first professional production - Sweeney Todd at the Twickenham Theatre (Sept-Oct 2014) - which won the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Off-West End Production that year.
Alice has since taken up a place on the postgraduate course at the Royal College of Music studying Orchestral Percussion & Timpani, supported by an Ernest Hecht Award, and hopes to build a career out of orchestral playing, theatre work and teaching. She recently accepted the position of Principal Timpani/Percussion with the West London Sinfonia, with whom she travelled to France earlier this year, and will be teaching for the Berkshire Maestros music service from September.
You can follow her on twitter @aliceangliss