Rename Colston Hall
Press release June 2020
Following the passing of Keith Tippett at hospital on Sunday June 14th we are campaigning to ask Colston Hall to consider changing its name to The Keith Tippett Hall.
Initiated by Luke Lockyer, a former pupil and student of Keith Tippett, the campaign is gathering wide support for what seems to be a befitting and appropriate name change to Bristol's most respected and ethical musician of this lifetime.
Keith was born in Southmead to a working class family and found his affinity with music at his local church, firstly in the choir and then on cornet and latterly on organ. Keith ventured to London in his late teens and whilst initially a lonely and difficult time for him he soon became an in demand player on the London scene where he also found his true love, wife and life-long spiritual partner Julie Tippetts (Ne Driscoll). Keith was soon catching the eye and collaborating with high profile bands such as King Crimson and Soft Machine yet his earthier style and uncompromising musical nature led him to follow only his heart soon forming an octet and then very swiftly afterwards the 50 piece ensemble Centipede (signed to RCA).
Keith was a purveyor of inventive arts and in particular equality and was instrumental in supporting South African musicians such as:
Dudu Pukwana, Mongezi Feza, Harry Miller, Jonny Dyani, Louis Moholo-Moholo and Chris MacGregor during the apartheid. Keith and other jazz musicians of the late 60s had these musicians play on their recordings and take part in concerts.
It seems coincidental therefore that the week the Colston statue came down and the Colston Hall venue lost its name for good that our beloved maestro passed from this earth. Could Bristol embrace change enough to go from calling the music venue after a slave exploiter to a real man of the people? A man who not only is leaving a legacy of five decades of music for posterity but who influenced and inspired hundreds, if not thousands of musicians. Indeed Keith was respected and known in all musical circles having taught (and was an honorary fellow) for many years at The Royal welsh College of Music and Drama and also at Dartingon Summer School. In addition Keith was in demand all over the word for his workshops, for concerts and collaborations, for recordings and for composing commissions from the classical world; the BBC Singers, the Kreutzer Quartet and Ensemble Bash to name a few. Keith pioneered and curated the Rare Music Club in Bristol over many years bringing together three musical genres of contemporary, indigenous and jazz/improvised and became a musician's musician when he first set up the Seedbed Orchestra where many Bristol musicians could benefit from his guidance.
Bristol may not know another composer like Keith in this lifetime. Someone who spanned the musical genres, countries, cultures and demographics. Accepted in all walks of life, from dingy back room clubs to world class concert halls. He belonged everywhere. A Bristol boy through and through, it seems more than appropriate that Keith is remembered in this way. That his music and name resonate for years to come and that he be rightfully honoured for his musical achievements and contribution to musical education.
"Keith Tippett is one of three musicians of my generation who continues to influence and guide my musical thinking. Keith’s music speaks for itself. Perhaps less well-known is Keith’s stature as an ethical musician, a good man. Fly well, Brother Keith! My gratitude to you."'' - Robert Fripp
To read John Fordham's Guardian Obituary please see here
For Duncan Heining's All About Jazz Obituary please see here
To read The Wire's obituary please see here
For further information please contact
Janinka Diverio M. 07818 426060
Luke Lockyer M. 07976071399 email@example.com
Update 23rd June:
We have been informed that a non-person specific name is likely to be chosen for the Hall however we believe and request that in light of Keith's passing that Colston Hall revisit this concept.
Please write to Louise Mitchell - Chair of Bristol Music Trust in support of this campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition it may be worthwhile writing to Councillor Helen Godwin, the country Councillor for Southmead, Bristol where Keith was from. Her email address is email@example.com