Alison Louise Balsom (born 7 October 1978) is an English trumpet soloist. Balsom was born in Hertfordshire. She attended Tannery Drift Primary School, then the Greneway Middle School and the Meridian School, all in Royston, Hertfordshire, where she played in a brass band, the Royston Town Band. She took her A-levels at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge. She studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, the Conservatoire de Paris, and also with Håkan Hardenberger. Balsom has been a professional classical trumpeter since 2001. She is a former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and she released her debut album with EMI Classics in 2002. In 2005, she released her second disc, Bach Works for Trumpet as part of a contract with EMI Classics. In 2006, Balsom won 'Young British Classical Performer' at the 2006 Classical BRIT Awards and was awarded the 'Classic FM Listeners' Choice Award' at the Classic FM Gramophone Awards. She won 'Female Artist of the Year' at the 2009 and 2011 Classical BRIT Awards. Her third album (the second disc in the EMI contract), Caprice was released in September 2006 and was awarded 'Solo CD of the Year 2006' by Brass Band World magazine. Balsom was a soloist at the 2009 Last Night of the Proms, performing, among other pieces, Haydn's Trumpet Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a jazzy arrangement of George Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away from Me" with mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly. In collaboration with playwright Samuel Adamson Balsom devised Gabriel, a play using the music of The Fairy-Queen and other pieces by Henry Purcell, which she performed with actors and The English Concert as part of the 2013 summer season at Shakespeare's Globe. Balsom was the principal trumpet of the London Chamber Orchestra. Her main trumpet is a Malone-converted Bach C Trumpet. She is a Visiting Professor of Trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. In 2014, she returned to BBC Young Musician of the Year as a presenter of the category finals and semi-final of the competition alongside Miloš Karadaglić. She performed a new work for trumpet by Qigang Chen (Joie éternelle) at the 2014 BBC Proms. Balsom has a keen interest in yachting. From 2009 to early 2011 she was the domestic partner of British conductor Edward Gardner; in early 2010 they had a baby boy named Charlie.