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European Championships 2002:
Dobson’s Choice – Young English composer takes Euro title:

Date Posted: 09.05.02

Simon DobsonThe 21 year old Simon Dobson, who comes from a brass banding family in Bodmin in Cornwall was crowned the European Composer of the year at the Palais des Beaux Arts on Friday night.

Simon who was brought up playing the cornet with the Bodmin Town Band won the 1500 euro top prize and the trophy for his work entitled, “Four Sketches – A Homage to Britten”.

We managed to speak to the newest European titleholder and he was understandably delighted that he had won the award, especially as the standard of the composers he was up against was so high.

“I’m chuffed to bits”, he told us. “I was really pleased just to win a place in the Final and I didn’t really think I was in with a chance of actually winning. The performance of my piece by Brass Band de Buizingen and Luc Vertommen was superb and so well measured and interoperated. I’m sure that had a lot to do with it winning.”

The piece takes the form of four interlinked sections entitled, “Fanfare”,” Prayer”, “Funeral March” and “Finale” and lasts about 9 minutes in length. Simon wrote it with roughly First Section bands in mind and was especially pleased that he was informed that the players and conductor of the band really enjoyed rehearsing and playing it. The win means that there will be extra exposure for this talented young man, who is currently in his second year at the Royal College of Music and who is studying composition under Timothy Salter.

“I’m learning do much from studying under Timothy Salter, and he has been a great help and inspiration to me. I had certain ideas about the work right from the outset and knew the musical picture I wanted to portray. What I’ve been taught by Timothy lad me to explore those ideas to the full and as such the composition became the better for it.”

Asked what the future now held, he was a little uncertain, but it will most probably include a further commission to possibly write a work for the 2004 First Section contest at the Championships. He will also be getting phone calls from other interested parties for sure, and he is looking forward to hearing the Band of the Welsh Guards perform his newly written “Ceremonial Fanfare”. The London Philharmonic has already used one of these in concert this year.

“I’m hoping now to have a few quiet days off before hopefully going back to visit my parents in Cornwall in a few weeks. Most of the prize money has gone – student life can be expensive in London! – but I hope to be able to put at least some of it towards the cost of an electric piano – I need it for further compositions. I’m also going to continue playing in the college brass band and hopefully doing more work with the classical quintet I’m involved in.”

A busy young man then – and a highly talented one too.

The European Composers Competition


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

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