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European Championships 2002:
The judges and composer's finals

Date Posted: 30.04.02

The Judges:

One of the most welcome initiatives that has been brought in by these Championships is that the names of the judges for all the sections is released in advance.

For too many years there has been an almost Masonic secrecy (especially in the UK) about the process, with contest organisers threatened with death by a thousand cuts if they happen to let the bands know who’s going to be in the box. Thankfully the Europeans have led the way and the idiotic veil of secrecy has been lifted once and for all. The Brits have also got in on the act recently as well, and hopefully from now on, knowing who’s going to pronounce judgement on your efforts will be open and clear.

The one thing to bear I mind with this contest however, is that there are no written remarks sheets produced by the judges to be made available to the bands (or the public afterwards). Brought in a couple of years ago at Birmingham, it has been a little controversial.

So who has been given the task this year to find the best band in Europe?

As the contest itself is split into two distinct sections (set test and own choice), two distinct separate sets of judges are used. The morning set work will be adjudicated by three experienced musicians in the form of Messers Gourlay, Illi and Mallaerts, who will also be in charge of adjudicating the whole of the First Section on the Friday.

The afternoon “Own Choice” section will be adjudicated by Messers, Moeller, Sparke and Van der Roost.

Getting information about the judges is a little difficult, but we have tried our best.

James GourlayJames Gourlay is one of the most easily recognised figures in the brass band world. As a tuba player of international class he has performed with many of the top orchestras in Europe.

He is best known perhaps as a conductor in the brass band world, and he has fronted many of the best bands in Europe, including Brass Band Berner Oberland, Williams Fairey, CWS Glasgow and Grimethorpe Colliery.

Yves IllieYves Illi hails from Switzerland and for many years has been the headmaster at the Musikschule der Stadt Zug, a school with over 1800 pupils. He was conductor of Brass Band Bugermusik Luzern for over 12 years, with whom he won the Swiss National Championships on two occasions and took them to 5th place at the European Championships in Bergen in 1989.

He has adjudicated at the contest before and was on the panel at both London 1997 and at Montreux in 2001.

The third adjudicator within this group is Mr Mallearts of Belgium. (At present we could not find any additional information on him)

The “Own Choice” section sees another three experienced men in the box.

Phillip SparkePhilip Sparke is very well known to bandspersons all over Europe for an extensive series of major works for bands at all levels.

He has also adjudicated at many of the major contests both in the UK and in Europe.

His works have been used as the set work in the championships on four occasions.

Jan van der RoostJan van der Roost is also well known to bandsmen both in the UK and Europe as the composer who brought us the very fine “Albion” which has been extensively used throughout Europe as a top section set work throughout 2001.

He also wrote “Stonehenge” and “Excalibur”, which is being used as the set work in this year’s First Section. He also adjudicated at the National Finals in the UK last year.

Herbert MoellerHerbert Moeller is founding fathers of the brass band movement in Denmark and has for many years been at the forefront of the development of the European Brass Band Championships.

He has also adjudicated at the Championships and as far back as 1979 he was judging at the National Finals in London – albeit in the Lower Sections. He remains one of the driving forces behind modernisation of the banding culture in Europe.

Composers Final

The second European Composers Final takes place at the Palais des Beaux Arts on Friday May 3rd when four works by the chosen finalists will be performed by Brass Band Buizingen, conducted by Luc Vertommen.

The four finalists were chosen by a panel that comprised the eminent composers, Philip Wilby, Rob Goorhuis (who composed the 1998 Finals set work – “Burlesque for Brass Band”), and Carl Rutti (who composed last years set work – “Montreux Wind Dances”).

The four finalists are:

Simon Dobson (England)
Pascal Gendre (Switzerland)
Iain Rayner (England)
Idar Torkangerpoll (Norway)

Simon Dobson hails from Cornwall and is aged just 21. He played for many years with the Bodmin Town Band and comes from a musical family – his father is a very respected musician and conductor of the Saltash Town Band. He has won the Cornish Young Composers Competition in 1999 and he is currently in his first year at the Royal School of Music in London. He is currently working on a commission for the British Brass Band Federation.

Pascal Gendre, aged 25, hails from Switzerland and was born in the town of Fribourg. He studied trumpet, theory and conducting for many years at the Fribourg Conservatoire and extended these studies under the Swiss composer Jean Ballisat, who incidentally wrote the set work for these championships – Le Chant de l’Alpe in 1994. This gained him diplomas in composition and orchestration from the Lausanne Conservatoire. He is currently teaching back at his alma mater in Fribourg.

Iain Rayner is currently the Musical Director of the Moutlon 77 Band and recently took the band at the Midlands Regional Championships were they gained 12th place in the Second Section. Aged 32 he served as musician in the armed forces for four years and is currently a final year student at Accrington Rossendale College. He also won the 2000 National Association of Brass Band Conductors Composition Contest.

Idar Torskangerpoll is also 32 years of age and for two years at the beginning of the last decade he studied music at the Roneheim Folkehoyskole in Norway. He also obtained a degree in Music, Pedagogy and Sociology at the University of Oslo and of Trondheim and added a Masters degree to that in composition and arranging. He has been a private tutor of he trombone and as a music teacher at private and public schools, as well as conducting many brass and wind ensembles. Since 1995 he has been working as a composer and was in 2001 appointed resident composer for the Oslofjiord Brass Band.

The Final will be adjudicated upon by Tom Brevik of Norway, Philip Sparke and Jan Van der Roost – so the winner will have to have impressed some seriously good composers in their own right. The winner will pick up a handy cheque for the sum of 1500 Euros, which has been sponsored by the Brass Band World magazine, whilst second place gets 1000 Euro, third place 6000 Euro and a special prize of 5000 Euro. There are other prizes to be won as well, including a commission to write a new work for a European members national contest.

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