As Director of Florilegium much of Ashley’s time is spent working and performing with Florilegium, the ensemble he co-founded in 1991. They have a busy touring schedule and each year perform at major international festivals and concert series throughout Europe as well as the Americas. Florilegium have been recording with Channel Classics since 1993 and have to date made over 20 recordings on this Dutch label.
Ashley won a recorder and flute scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London where he was awarded first class honours. He went on to complete his post-graduate studies there in 1991 and that year he won first prize in the Moeck International Recorder Competition, resulting in a solo debut recital at London’s Wigmore Hall.
He has performed as a soloist throughout Europe, the Americas, the Far East and Australia, in prestigious venues including the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), The Frick Collection (New York), Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires) and the Sydney Opera House. He frequently records programmes for radio and television and as well as his many recordings with Florilegium for Channel Classics, he has been recording as a solo artist for the same label since 1998. His solo discography on Channel Classics includes the complete Bach Flute Sonatas (2 volumes) as well as a recording of music for period harp and flute with works by Mozart, Rossini, Gluck, Nadermann, Bochsa and Tulou. Volume 1 of the Bach Sonatas was described by Gramophone magazine as “exceptional…prepare to be uplifted” and it went on to be selected as one of the magazines favourite CDs for 2001. From 1997-2000 Ashley was a frequent guest principal flautist with the Sydney based Australian Chamber Orchestra when they performed on period instruments. This position involved several national tours each year as well as recordings for CD and national radio.
In 2007 he directed 3 Bolivian national tours with Arakaendar Bolivia Choir, the choir he formed in that country in January 2006 to perform and record Bolivian Baroque music with Florilegium. Their first CD, released to critical acclaim in 2007, won a number of awards and was nominated for a 2008 BBC Music Magazine award. In February 2008 he directed a European tour with the Choir and Florilegium, including a concert tour in The Netherlands, a concert at the Royal College of Music and a live BBC Radio 3 broadcast. Their second CD was released in early 2010 and was selected as Disc of the Month by BBC Music Magazine for April 2010.
Ashley was awarded the 2008 Hans Roth Prize. The first European to receive this prestigious Bolivian award, it was given to him in recognition of his tireless efforts and the assistance he has given to the Bolivian native Indians, their presence on the international stage and the promotion and preservation of this music.
Much in demand as a teacher he has given masterclasses and lectures in Australia, The Americas, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Portugal, Norway and the UK. In 1998 he was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and this was followed in 2000 with Honorary Membership of the Royal College of Music, where he has been Professor since 1994. In 2006 he was appointed to the new position of Head of Historical Performance at the Royal College of Music. He is heavily involved in coaching chamber ensembles, and regularly takes classes for singers and instrumentalists on repertoire covering baroque and early classical periods. Since 2006 he has been directing the RCM baroque orchestra.