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About Top Hat Productions

Top Hat Productions was set up in 1995 in order to promote Klezmer Swingers and the Wally Fields Jazz Orchestra performances at the prestigious South Bank Centre London, and at other major venues throughout the UK.

The work of Top Hat Productions expanded to include annual performances at the South Bank of Klezmer Kabaret, Russian Jewish Day, and the Wally Fields Jazz Orchestra - and all of which received recognition as major events in the Royal Festival Hall itinerary.

An integral and very important part of our policy is to assist top class artists who have not previously had the opportunity of promotion in a major hall, and help develop their talents by promoting them at the South Bank.

To date we are pleased also to have presented renowned concert pianist James Pearson and Elliott Goldie (tenor, by permission of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden). Other prominent artists include Abigail Gorton (mezzo soprano and actress), Bob Holloway, Paul Smith, Jenny Howe, Don Hunt, and Mazaika to excited and appreciative audiences. In addition we joined forces with AAC Opera For All in the presentation of Fields' exciting Klezmer folk opera 'Kinneret' in December 2000.

As a consequence Top Hat Productions has built up a very large and loyal following, and currently has a mailing list of over 2000 names.

About Wallace Fields

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WALLACE FIELDS originates from Liverpool where he commenced piano at the age of eight and went on to study jazz harmony and improvisation under Bertram Hayes. At fourteen, he was a regular accompanist on the thriving Cabaret scene in Liverpool. He later set up the West Coast Skiffle Group at the famous Cavern; played jazz whilst at London University; wrote film music; and made guest appearances, with the top rated Cy Laurie trad band in Soho.

Subsequently, he held piano residencies on the posh West End hotel circuit, including long spells at the Intercontinental, The Meridian, The Berners and The Braganza, and wrote compositions for Big Band.

Motivated by his enduring love of Jewish culture in all its forms, and moving easily between the worlds of jazz, Klezmer and composition, he has written a series of Folk Operettas, including Kinneret, which was performed at the London Mayfair Theatre; Yehudah Maccabee; Theodore (The Life of Theodore Herzl); and the music for Children Of The Ghetto (book by Israel Zangwil, libretto by Ken Hammond). He has also enjoyed setting Hebrew poetry to his own jazz compositions. Director of the Ram Theatre Company, and Founder of the 1983 Redbridge Festival of Jewish Music & Drama, he initiated the Jewish cultural renaissance, now so well established in the UK.

He founded the Klezmer Swingers in May 1994, to immediate acclaim from the UK jazz establishment, including wide publicity by the respected Time Out and Radio 4 jazz broadcasts.

The genesis of Jewish music and its evolutionary influence on American jazz, was recognized by his inclusion into the American Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Sell-out performance at the prestigious London South Bank Centre followed, and he repeated this success in the debut of the Wally Fields Jazz Orchestra in January 2002, at the famed Queen Elizabeth Hall. In 2003, his concert in honour of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, featured the first performance of his composition, the Partizan Rhapsody, which was supported by the Polish Embassy and the London Polish Cultural Institute.

The Orchestra performed a tribute to George Gershwin at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in January 2005, including the original Paul Whiteman jazz scores of Rhapsody in Blue, American in Paris and Concerto in F. The concert also included the Concerto in Jazz written by Bandleader Fields, as a special tribute to Bandleader Paul Whiteman. The piece traces the evolution of Big Band Jazz from the Yiddish influences of Alexander Olshanetsky; the roaring twenties music of the Paul Whiteman Orchestra; the mellow sounds of the Ted Heath Band; and the avant-garde influences of Stan Kenton.