Ian Darrington was Director of Jazz Performance for Wigan Council from 1977 until his early retirement in March 2011. Whilst working for Wigan he had special responsibility for jazz education, having joined their instrumental teaching staff in September 1977. Ian was educated at Dudley College of Education, Huddersfield Polytechnic, Bretton Hall College of Education and the University of Liverpool.
He is co-founder and director of the Wigan International Jazz Festival, now in its 33rd year and co-founder of the Wigan Jazz Club now in its 35th year. He was also musical director of the Wigan Youth Jazz Orchestra, a post he held for well over thirty years. Through his work with WYJO he toured France, USA, Hong Kong, British Columbia, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Czechoslovakia, South Africa, the Faroe Islands, Hungary, Israel, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Australia and Romania as well as extensively through the UK.
Artists that Ian & WYJO worked with include Maynard Ferguson, Bobby Shew, Salena Jones, Georgie Fame, James Morrison, Buddy Childers, Conte Candoli, Bill Perkins, Eddie Bert, Bill Watrous, Elaine Delmar, Marion Montgomery, Jiggs Whigham, Don Rader, Don Lusher, Kenny Baker, Eric Delaney, Phil Woods and many more.
Ian has performed big band workshops throughout Europe, South Africa and the USA. He served as a clinician for the Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Competition working in schools and colleges throughout the United Kingdom. He was adviser and guest musical director to the Cork School of Music Big Band between 1992 and 1996. In 2005, as guest musical director for Warrington based ‘High Brass’ Ian directed a studio album featuring the music of Stan Kenton, Pat Metheny, Hank Levy and Bob Curnow. The album is titled ‘Time for a Change’
From 2011 and 2014 Ian worked as manager to singer / songwriter AJ Brown involving him in visits to Louisville, Atlanta, New York, Nova Scotia, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Grahamstown.
At the 2000 International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in New Orleans Ian Darrington was awarded the Humanitarian Award for Jazz Education the first non – USA musician to receive the award. In October 2001, for his services to music, Ian was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Other awards he has received include Vocational Services Award in recognition of services to the community from the Rotary Club of Great Britain in September 2001 and the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Local Education from the National Union of Teachers in 2012.
In summer 2002 Ian was appointed to the board of the International Association for Jazz Education, serving as the European representative, a post he held for six years.
He now works as a freelance Festival director, company director, music adjudicator and big band clinician.