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Interview and personal profile: Andrew King – British Open Solo Champion 2000 and 2001

Being regarded as the best at something is a pretty good achievement when you are 37 years of age, let alone 17, so when we asked Andrew King what it felt like to crowned as the best soloist in the UK at the age where it’s still illegal to buy a celebratory pint of lager, we thought he may a little over excited by the fact. Not a bit of it.

When we talked to him, this very modest young man just thanked us for our congratulations and said he felt fortunate to have been able to win. No wild celebrations then?

“Not really. I was pleased to have been able to win the title again, especially as it gives me the chance to represent Great Britain in Australia in February next year, but I know I’ve still got a lot to learn before I can consider myself a really top class player. There were some great players there on the day who also played well enough to take the title, so I feel I was fortunate.”

Nice to know that someone at 17 still feels they have a lot to learn, especially as most 17 year olds we come across in life seem to know absolutely bleeding everything. It seems the young chap has a very serious and thoughtful head upon his shoulders, and this was borne out when we asked him about his choice of solo for his defence – “Bluebells of Scotland” by the legendary Arthur Pryor.

“It made sense to me as it’s a great piece that means you can really show off your technique without bursting your lip in the process. My band also wanted me a play a solo at the forthcoming Brass in Concert Contest at Spennymoor, so it made even better sense to be able to be well prepared for that as well.”

See what we mean? There are not too many soloists out there we know of would put band before self glory, so we think this earmarks Andrew King out as just a little bit special and very focused in what he wants to achieve. He sees the whole picture.

Andrew started his playing at the Dobcross Youth Band – a real hot bed of talent before moving to the Marple band. Just over a year ago he joined Leyland on solo trombone, whilst he has also been a member of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (winning the Harry Mortimer Trophy two years in a row) and getting to the semi final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2000. Remember – we are talking about someone who is just 17 here.

Still, banding is only part of a very busy life and he enjoys other things as well – especially Liverpool FC! The focus for him however is very much on a professional musical career.

“I want to be able to become a trombone soloist in my own right, be that with an orchestra or within the banding world, but I know I’ll have to do more than just play solos. There’s so much more to becoming a great player, and I’ve only just started really.”

With this in mind he’s still studying for his A levels in history and music and hopes he will be able to obtain the academic qualifications necessary for him to study at a Conservatoire. In the mean time though he’s continuing to make a reputation for himself within the banding world as Principal trombone at the Leyland Band – a position he really enjoys.

“I love it at Leyland. The band is now playing really well and the people are great and give me plenty of support and opportunities to do some solo work. Hopefully we can win Spennymoor and get closer to winning either the Open or Nationals next year. That would be a real thrill for me.”

The win at the British Open Solo Championships means a trip to Australia in February to compete in the Ern Keller International Soloist of the Year Contest in Sydney. In addition he has just come back from the first of what we believe will be many solo jobs in Norway when he performed as a guest soloist and his phone is starting to ring more often with offers to perform in the UK as a solo artist. The 350 first prize has already gone into his bank account (“It needed it!” he says), so things can’t be better can they.

“The only problem is for me that the Sydney contest takes place the day after my 18th birthday, so I won’t be able to celebrate the night before!”

Judging by the way he plays, 4BarsRest thinks that the 24 hour break will most probably coincide with a delayed 18th birthday and celebratory beer or two with the International Ern Keller title stuck under his arm for good measure. We wish him well.

Andrew King – In Short

Born: 15th February 1984

First Band: Dobcross Youth

Subsequent Bands: Marple and Leyland

Current Band: Principal Trombone of the Leyland Band since 2000

Greatest Influences: My father and family, plus listening to people like Jo Alessi and Ian Bousefield.

Best Moment: Winning the British Open Solo Championships this year and watching Liverpool beat Manchester United any time.

Worse Moment: The usual trombone nightmare – slide stuck. Anyone beating Liverpool.

Motto: “You only get out what you put in” - borrowed off someone I know!

Achievements as a player: British Open Solo Champion 2000 and 2001. Semi Finalist BCC Young Musician of the Year 2000. Harry Mortimer Trophy Winner 1999 and 2000.

Instrument: Conn Christian Lindberg 88H. Vincent Bach 5G mouthpiece.

Who would you like to be marooned on a desert island with? Jennifer Lopez (In my dreams!)

Coronation Street or Eastenders? Coronation Street of course!

Football Team: Liverpool FC.

Most Difficult Solo: Simon Willis Trombone Concerto – “Absolutely rock hard!”

Most Difficult Test Piece: “Albion” – “Stamina …. Need I say more?”

Ambitions: “To become a professional top class trombone player.”

Heroes: “Jo Alessi and Michael Owen

Advice to young players: “Hard work and keep practicing”

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