What we do
Creative collaborative music for adult musicians of all backgrounds
Dovetail workshops are all about building creativity, confidence and community.
Whether you're a seasoned professional or a budding amateur, our workshops are about exploring your creative musicanship and identity together with others.
We work across all styles and musical backgrounds to create a piece of music that gives everybody in the room a voice.
No experience of improvisation is necessary.
Just an open mind.
Who we are
Dr. Jonathan James
Founder and Workshop Leader
Chair, Dovetail Orchestra
I've been running music workshops now for almost thirty years, from when I started doing educational projects with an orchestra I was conducting. I love the buzz of creating a new piece out of nothing and surprising people with what they can make together in a short amount of time.
I've worked for many orchestras as a workshop leader and presenter, and for major concert venues across the UK. The ones I have a more regular contact with these days are the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
After a career as a conductor and teacher, I specialised in running creative workshops. I now lead workshops in conservatoires (Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music), universities and organisations such as the National Children's Orchestra and Pro Corda (a national chamber music course).
My community work has been wide-ranging, and I'm comfortable working with all sorts of musicians. I love directing the Bristol Recovery Orchestra -- a community ensemble for people recovering from addiction -- and founded the Bristol Pre-Conservatoire in 2012, where creative musicianship is an important focus.
My PhD was in collaborative musical creativity for advanced musicians: how it can work across different styles and how it's taught.
As a classically trained flute player, music has been part of my life since a young age. It allows me to breathe. I've always believed music has a transformative power and ability to connect people as a positive force for good, no matter what life experiences we have encountered along the way.
I've been fortunate to study and perform music to a high level, graduating from Birmingham University, and as principal flute for various ensembles and projects in the Bristol area during my leisure time.
After a number of years working in arts management for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Proms, and a subsequent period of travel, I moved into the world of academic research, initially developing international partnerships for the Arts and Humanities Research Council and more recently as the Chief Operating Officer for the NIHR ARC West.
Dovetail is a really exciting new project for musicians from diverse backgrounds. I am looking forward to connecting as a community; to sharing music and space with new friends.
I was born in Istanbul and I grew up there. I learned baglama and guitar by myself after a short course. I have been in the UK since 2019 but I came to Bristol on a visit in 2010 and really loved it here.
Since 2019, I have played in Bristol at some charity events in a voluntary capacity. I have also played live music for Acta Community Theatre, performing three times in the Tobacco Factory Theatre.
I also sing while accompanying myself on the baglama, drawing on my homeland's rich tradition.
Whatever I know, I am keen to share with people, and I'm excited to be part of this orchestra.