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2020 RNCM Festival of Brass
World class music making in the heart of Manchester

RNCM Brass Band Festival Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh previews the attractions to look forward to at the showcase event.

rncm
World class attractions in the heart of Manchester

RNCM Brass Band Festival Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh outlines his plans for the 2020 event (Friday 24th to Sunday 26th January), which includes world class soloists, major composer birthdays and a ground breaking workshop for female conductors.

International platform

“In the Autumn of 1989, the Controller of BBC Radio 3, John Drummond, invited me to come up with a new concept to replace the weekly ‘Bandstand’ series with a shorter series of high profile programmes: The ‘BBC Festival of Brass’ was born.

It ran for eight years before the RNCM took it on, thanks to the foresight of the then principal, Edward Gregson.

It has since blossomed into a unique international platform for new writing and fresh ideas, with the best bands now joined by some of the finest brass soloists in the world.

It has since blossomed into a unique international platform for new writing and fresh ideas, with the best bands now joined by some of the finest brass soloists in the world.

Paul Hindmarsh
Festival Director: Paul Hindmarsh

Very special

In 2020 the soloist line-up is very special.

It’s been a long-held ambition to invite Philip Cobb as a guest artist in a major concerto performance.

He’ll be joining Tredegar Band for an unmissable concert with Ernest Tomlinson’s ground-breaking ‘Concerto’ written in 1974 for Maurice Murphy, as the centre-piece. 

 Cobb
Star attraction: Philip Cobb

Brighouse & Rastrick will be joined by tuba virtuoso Les Neish, who is going to launch a new scoring for brass band of a substantial concerto which John Golland composed with orchestra in the late 1970s. 

Golland had just written his only ‘Symphony’ (still unperformed) and was about to compose his best known band piece, ‘Sounds’.

The concerto has rarely been performed since its premiere in 1997 at a Hallé Prom, but is much admired and played in a version with piano by tuba students all over the world. 

Twin concertos

Black Dyke’s Saturday evening concert includes concertos featuring two of their star soloists. 

Katrina Marzella will perform Peter Graham’s ‘Turbulence, Tide and Torque’ for baritone – first featured on her critically acclaimed second solo CD release.

Principal trombone Brett Baker’s capacity for exploring new repertoire continues with ‘Scene Change’, originally composed with chamber orchestra by Oliver Waespi and receiving its first performance with a brass band. 

Katrina Marzella will perform Peter Graham’s ‘Turbulence, Tide and Torque’ for baritone – first featured on her critically acclaimed second solo CD release.

Katrina
Katrina Marzella will be featured in a concerto performance with Black Dyke

Personal work

Swiss cornet star and RNCM alumnus Kathleen Gaspoz has commissioned a concerto from French composer Thierry Deleruyelle. 

‘Crossing Worlds’ is a very personal work for the soloist, with a surprise element in the second movement. It will be premiered with the RNCM Brass Band. 

As part of a celebration marking the 70th birthday of renowned composer Philip Wilby, Cory’s solo horn Ailsa Russell will be making her concerto debut at the festival with a performance of his ‘Fantasia Concertante’.

Gregson
Prof Edward Gregson's 75th birthday will be marked

Landmark birthdays

A number of landmark birthdays or anniversaries will also be celebrated at the festival - including Edward Gregson (75 in July) and Philip Wilby (70 last year). 

Works originally conceived for the concert hall rather than contest stage will be featured. 

Gregson’s ‘Symphony in Two Movements’, commissioned by the National Youth Bands of Great Britain and Wales, as well as Wilby’s exuberant ‘A Lowry Sketchbook’ (1992) and ‘Paganini Variations’ (1990), both commissioned as concert works for Britannia (Foden’s) and Grimethorpe Colliery Bands respectively, will be featured.

Black Dyke includes Gregson’s suite ‘An Age of Kings’, which also involves harp, piano and soprano soloist, and Wilby’s ‘A Pilgrim’s Progress’, including narrator, fanfare trumpets and organ, which the composer will play. 

Black Dyke includes Gregson’s suite ‘An Age of Kings’, which also involves harp, piano and soprano soloist, and Wilby’s ‘A Pilgrim’s Progress’, including narrator, fanfare trumpets and organ, which the composer will play.

Once again we are able to showcase the work of a crop of imaginative young composers who are now making their mark on the brass band movement.

Youthful talent

Jonathan Bates has recently completed a ‘Cornet Concerto’ for the talented Thomas Nielsen, winner of the final BBC Young Brass Soloist Award. 

He will be launching it with piano accompaniment as part of a ‘Young Soloists Spotlight’, for which he will be joined by horn player Siobhan Bates, the inaugural recipient of the BrassPass.tv ‘Young Brass Soloist Award’. 

Siobhan includes the first performance of ‘Sea-song and Hornpipe’ by Black Dyke Young Composer in Association, Andy Wareham. His new work, ‘God from the Machine’ opens the band’s Saturday evening concert. 

Harper
Philip Harper will lead the world's number 1 ranked band Cory to round off the festival

Substantial

Cory Band will perform a substantial 12-minute work commissioned for the Bratton Band, entitled ‘The Lost Village of Imber’, from its resident young composer Christopher Bond, whilst Tredegar Band will be give the UK premiere of Daniel Hall’s gritty European Composer Competition winning work, ‘A Dialogue of Transmogrifying Souls’.

At my invitation Paul McGhee has made a full band version of ‘From Koris by’, a short atmospheric ensemble work commissioned by Salaputia Brass, inspired by stories from his home town of Corby. 

At my invitation Paul McGhee has made a full band version of ‘From Koris by’, a short atmospheric ensemble work commissioned by Salaputia Brass, inspired by stories from his home town of Corby. 

Fenland fragment

The history of one of East Anglia’s few remaining fragments of fenland, ‘Wicken Fen’ near Cambridge, provides the inspiration for a first brass band piece by the multi-award winning composer Christopher Gunning (of ITV’s ‘Poirot’ fame).  

Both works receive version premieres by Brighouse & Rastrick under guest conductor Russell Gray.

At the 2019 festival, composer and organist Jay Richardson won the fourth John Golland Award.

As part of his prize he was invited to write a second work. ‘Free Speed’ will be included in a short concert by the RNCM Brass Band that opens the final day.

Halldis
Leading conductor Halldis Rønning

New initiative

Immediately following, the RNCM Band will be moving to the RNCM Theatre to take part in a new Brass Band Festival initiative - a workshop for aspiring female conductors. 

The RNCM conducting department, led by Mark Heron and supported by Brass Bands England, is providing a unique opportunity to be guided by one of Norway’s leading conductors Halldis Rønning.

She has served as assistant conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic and regularly appears with Norway’s leading orchestras.

The RNCM conducting department, led by Mark Heron and supported by Brass Bands England, is providing a unique opportunity to be guided by one of Norway’s leading conductors Halldis Rønning.

Stalwart memory

Last year the brass band community lost one of its stalwart enablers, Stan Kitchen.  

Through his publishing and recording company, Studio Music, he provided a platform for the music of three generations of composers who he believed in.

Supported by the Worshipful Company of Musicians, in which he was an influential presence, Fairey Band will perform a quartet of works from the composers most closely associated with him; Goff Richards, Philip Sparke, Martin Ellerby and Gilbert Vinter. 

With the youthful energy of the Greater Manchester Youth and Junior RNCM bands, panel discussions devoted to repertoire development and gender balance, and a trader exhibition, the 2020 RNCM Brass Band Festival offers a wide-range of quality music, world-class performance and, I hope, talking points aplenty. 

For booking details see: http://www.rncm.ac.uk


Friday 24th January:

6.15pm: Festival Prelude

Paul Hindmarsh previews the weekend with music from the RNCM student ensemble All Saints Brass

Folwes

7.30pm: Foden’s Band
Conductors: Michael Fowles (above) and Russell Gray*

Dances and Arias (Edward Gregson)
Prometheus Unbound (Granville Bantock)
Eden (John Pickard)*

The Raid (Oliver Waespi)
Ubi Caritus (Paul Mealor)
Paganini Variations (Philip Wilby)

Saturday 25th January:

10.30am: Greater Manchester Youth Brass Band
Conductor: Mark Peacock

Made in Manchester

March County Palatine (Maurice Johnstone)
Salford Sinfonietta (Darrol Barry)
Buzz! (Andrea Price)
Manchester (Richard Wainwright (arr. Cooke)
Peterloo Overture (Malcolm Arnold arr. Duncan)

Cutt

11.30am: Fairey Band
Conductor: Garry Cutt (avove)

The Musicians’ Company Concert, in tribute to the work of Stan Kitchen
Given in association with The Worshipful Company of Musicians            

Cross Patonce (Goff Richards)
Tallis Variations (Philip Sparke)
Requiescat Aberfan (Martin Ellerby)
Entertainments (Gilbert Vinter)

1.45pm: recital (to be confirmed)

3.00pm: Brighouse & Rastrick Band
Conductor: Russell Gray
Les Neish (tuba)

Concert supported by The John Golland Trust        

Wicken Fen (Christopher Gunning)
Tuba Concerto, Op. 46 (John Golland arr. Hindmarsh)* version premiere
From Koris By (Paul McGhee) version premiere
A Lowry Sketchbook (Philip Wilby) 

Neish

4.45pm: Junior RNCM Brass Band
Conductors: Les Neish (above) and Jon Malaxetxebarria

Programme to include
Blenheim Flourishes (James Curnow)
Nightingale Dances (Matthew Hall)
Fantasy on London Nursery Rhymes (Dan Price)

6.15pm: Meet the Composers

Festival guests including Edward Gregson and Oliver Waespi join Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh to discuss the roles of the composer for brass bands on the contest and concert stage.

7.30pm:  Black Dyke Band
Conductor: Nicholas Childs (conductor)
Katrina Marzella (baritone)*
Brett Baker  (trombone)*
Philip Wilby (organ)
Matthew Routley (narrator)

God from the Machine (Andy Wareham) world 
Turbulence, Tide and Torque (Peter Graham)*
Symphony in Two Movements (Edward Gregson)
A Pilgrim's Progress (Philip Wilby)
Scene Change (Oliver Waespi)* version premiere
An Age of Kings (Edward Gregson) 

Sunday 26th January:

Gaspoz

10.00am: RNCM Brass Band
Conductor: Dr David Thornton
Kathleen Gaspoz (cornet)* (above)

Freespeed (Jay Richardson) world premiere
Crossing World (Thierry Deleruyelle)* world premiere
Epitaph for Hillsborough (Peter Meechan)
Masque (Kenneth Hesketh)

11.30am: Conducting Workshop with Halldis Rønning and Mark Heron

Bates

11.45am: Young Artist Spotlight

The Festival welcomes Siobhan Bates (tenor horn -above), winner of the inaugural Brass Pass.tv and Young Brass Soloist and Thomas Nielsen* (cornet), recipient of the final BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist award.                     

Concert Concerto (Jonathan Bates)* world premiere
On the Delectable Mountains (Pilgrim’s Song) (Wilfred Heaton)
Allegro (Robert Schumann)
Peace (John Golland)
Sea Song and Hornpipe (Andy Wareham)*

2.00pm: Conducting Workshop Showcase

3.15pm: Tredegar Town Band
Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Philip Cobb (cornet)*

Solemn Processional (Richard Strauss)
A Dialogue of Transmogrified Souls (Daniel Hall) UK premiere
Cornet Concerto (Ernest Tomlinson)*
Rococo Variations (Edward Gregson)

5.00pm: Women in Brass Bands: Insights and experience

Panel discussion chaired by BBE’s Education & Development Co-ordinator Sarah Baumann, focusing on real life experiences of women operating in a range of roles within brass banding, and aspirations for the future of women in brass bands.

6.30pm: Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper
Ailsa Russell (tenor horn - above)*

The Lost Village of Imber (Christopher Bond) world premiere
Of Men and Mountains (Edward Gregson)
Fantasia Concertante (Philip Wilby)*
Explorers on the Moon (Paul Raphael) 

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