Dovetail Orchestra


What we do

We’re here to give everybody in the room a voice in the music we make, to provide a warm and welcoming community, and to learn new skills together.

Every week we co-create pieces that bring together musical ideas, memories and sounds from the different homelands in the room.
Supported by a professional band, our aim is to produce a musically impressive programme that can be performed in a variety of venues.
We are open to all, regardless of musical experience. 


Dr Jonathan James portait

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, Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music), universities and organisations such as the National Children’s Orchestra, Pro Corda (a national chamber music course) and Aldeburgh Young Musicians’. 

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.

Fran Simmons

I’m Fran (violin), a Welsh performer, composer & collaborator based in Bristol.  After training in Manchester & London, I moved into making multi-disciplinary work & collaborating within different genres & mediums – from theatre to visual arts to experimental. My ‘favourite music’ can change from week to week! But it definitely hovers around traditional music from all over the world, & the amazing depth of sounds & cultures that can be found here.

Being part of Dovetail is an incredible experience because of the exchange of knowledge, music & energy that happens each week. I love being able to support but also learn myself.  

Pippa Craggs
Music has been a lifelong passion. I started playing the flute at a young age and after years of immersion in Somerset’s youth music scene, I went on to study music at Birmingham University. 

My career has taken me down a different path – into the world of academia, most recently as Chief Operating Officer for a large research infrastructure in the NHS – but music remains my home. I perform as much as possible and play principal flute for various ensembles and projects in the Bristol area. I also enjoy teaching meditation and mindfulness when time allows.

Dovetail is very close to my heart. Music has a transformative power and an ability to connect people, no matter what life experiences we have encountered along the way. Dovetail embodies this. It is a joy to be part of such a special community of musicians from all over the world.

Charlie Groves
My name is Charlie. I grew up in London but have lived in Bristol for the past 20 years. I am a community musician and songwriter/composer with many years experience of teaching and playing music in churches, schools and concert halls. I trained on classical piano and violin from the age of 6 but was won over by the guitar in my teenage years. As well as Dovetail Orchestra I work with Bristol Ensemble Preludes Project (in primary schools) and Evolve Music (particularly on projects with Dads and with neurodiverse young people) When not making music I most enjoy riding my bike and cooking..although not at the same time! I am married and have three grown-up children. ( I have 2 albums of instrumental, reflective music on all streaming platforms: ‘Spoke’ and ‘The C Train’)
Hi! I’m Alex, a Drummer, Bandleader and Composer based in the South West.
Since graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in 2019, I have become a regular of the UK Jazz scene, working with artists including John Law, Simon Spillett, Iain Ballamy, Sam Crockatt, Alex Merritt, Steve Fishwick, Greg Abate, Jake McMurchie, Denny Ilett, Alan Barnes, Huw Warren, George Cooper, Rebecca Nash, Libor Smoldas, Nick Malcolm, and Henrik Jensen.
My current projects include:
• John Law’s “Re-Creations” Quartet.
• “Yetii”, a Classical-Jazz fused project co-led by Alex Veitch and Ashley John Long.
• “Energizer” Trio, co-led by Alex Merritt on sax and Ashley John Long on bass.
• “Bluprint”, a funk trio led by Daniel Newberry.
It’s an absolute pleasure to be working weekly with the Dovetail family, coaching the percussion section and wider ensemble, whilst also learning all about the group’s different musical and cultural influences!
Bel Ehresmann

Biog coming soon!

Özcan Ates playing the guitar at the dovetail orchestra concert

Dovetail is about learning from each other, sharing cultures at a deep level through our music.
Rather than just do covers, we re-invent and create new fusions.


If you want to join in, fill out the contact form below, or you can ask any questions on:

Our rehearsals are 2.30pm-4pm every Tuesday followed by refreshments in the Beehive Centre opposite.

We can contribute towards your bus tickets.  

Buses from centre: 
  • 6 or 7 to Gordon Road
  • 42, 43, 44 or 45 to Blackswarth Road
Or local train to Lawrence Hill Station and walk 10 minutes up Whitehall Road.

There is wheelchair access via the main entrance of the church and accessible toilets available in the Beehive Centre. Do please get in touch with us with any further needs you may have.


Just fill out this form!

Full Dovetail Orchestra Concert

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