Andrew Allen

was born in Toronto, Canada.  He started his musical education on the piano at 7.  During his teenage years he took up the guitar inspiried by the music of Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Arlo Guthrie and John Renbourn.  At 18 he took up classical guitar.  He studied at the School of Music, University of Manitoba, with the lutenist Richard Burleson graduating in 1975 with a Bachelor of Music degree and the University Gold Medal.  In order to study the guitar within the English school of playing of John Williams and Julian Bream he moved to Manchester in 1975 where he studied with Gordon Crosskey guitar tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music.  In 1978 he graduated with a Master of Music degree from the University of Manchester where he had specialised in the 17th Century guitar.

During the 1980’s Andrew taught guitar at Cheetham’s School of Music, St Ambrose College and privately from his studio.  He formed the Alpha Duo with Steve Smith and The Tarrega Trio with violinist Margaret Duffy and cellist Basil Howitt.  In 1988 Andrew spent 9 months  in Winnipeg performing and teaching guitar.  Upon returning to Manchester in 1989 he took up the post of Lecturer in Music at North East Wales Institute in Wrexham.  He was promoted to Head of Performing Arts at Yale College Wrexham in 1995.

In 1997 Andrew took up the post of Lecturer in Music at the School of Music, Colchester Institute.  He was promoted to Head of Music and Performing Arts in 2004 and Director of Creative Arts in 2013.  He retired from this post in 2016.

During Andrew’s years in music education he has taught music, music technology, popular music and music management.  He held the post of External Examiner at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music and New College Nottingham. He was very active in the development of the popular music curriculum at degree level particularly the Foundation Degree in Popular Music.  He gave a number of papers on this at national conferences and contributed a chapter to the SEEC publication Making Foundation Degrees Work in 2004.

Andrew has been very active in the promotion and development of the arts through his membership of a number of boards including the Colchester Arts Centre, Colchester Youth Arts Partnership, Hervey Benham Trust and Essex Music Education Hub which he chaired.  As part of his responsibilities as Director of Creative Arts he managed The Minories Art Gallery and was very involved in the Creative Colchester Board.  He is a member of the Colchester Rotary club and chair of the Colchester Rotary Festival of Music and Dance.

As well as performing on guitar Andrew sings with the Lion Walk Church choir and Kelveden Singers.