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The RNCM Brass Band Festival 2019

Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh previews the 2019 RNCM Brass Band Festival in January — the UK brass band movements showcase event for musical excellence

RNCM
The RNCM hosts the Festival in January

The cast list for the 2019 Royal Northern College of Music Brass Band Festival (25th – 27th January) reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the best that the brass band world has to offer. 

Tickets for the showcase event are now on sale, with listeners able to enjoy major performances of outstanding repertoire from Foden's, RNCM Brass Band, Brighouse & Rastrick, Junior RNCM Brass Band, The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army, Black Dyke, Fairey, Foden's Youth Band, Tredegar and Cory.

Major international soloists Ian Bousfield and David Childs are featured, while the life and work of Wilfred Heaton (born 100 years ago on 2nd December 1918) provides the cornerstone of repertoire that also celebrates the 80th anniversary of John McCabe and the 60th of James MacMillan.

bOUSFIELD
Ian Bousfield will perform Heaton's immense 'Trombone Concerto' with Foden's

Foden’s

The opening concert (Friday 25th - 7.30pm) is provided by 2018 National Champion, Foden’s. They will be conducted by James Gourlay and Michael Fowles, with Ian Bousfield performing one of the ‘Everest’ peaks of the solo performer’s repertoire with Wilfred Heaton’s ‘Trombone Concerto’.

Heaton prepared the work in 1992 at the suggestion of Howard Snell for the then Britannia Building Society Band and their acclaimed trombone star Nicholas Hudson, so it is fitting that Ian performs it with them.

They will be conducted by James Gourlay and Michael Fowles, with Ian Bousfield performing one of the ‘Everest’ peaks of the solo performer’s repertoire with Wilfred Heaton’s ‘Trombone Concerto’.

Ever imaginative in its programme planning, Foden’s also pay tribute to two iconic figure of its past.

Composer and sax virtuoso Andy Scott brings his 10-year residency with the Sandbach band to a fitting conclusion with ‘Edwin’, a tribute to their legendary cornet ace Edwin Firth, who lost his life in the First World War.

Elgar’s ‘A Severn Suite’ and Henry Geehl’s elegiac ‘In Memoriam’ call to mind the legendary conductor Fred Mortimer, while John McCabe’s colourful ‘Salamander’ is the first of three 80th anniversary tributes to this versatile composer.  

gEROLDINGER
The European Solo Champion Felix Geroldinger will be heard with Brighouse & Rastrick

RNCM Brass Band and Brighouse & Rastrick

Saturday morning opens with the RNCM Brass Band led by James Gourlay and Melvin Tay, and featuring rising euphonium star Seth Livingstone performing the popular Wilby Concerto.

Works inspired by Nordic elements in Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen’s ‘Circius’ and John McCabe’s ‘Northern Lights’ are balanced by a new work from the pen of Jonathan Bates.

He will perform Martin Ellerby’s testing ‘Concerto’, while the band offer the substantial delights of two evocative gems of the test-piece repertoire, ‘Three Figures’ (Howells) and ‘Cloudcatcher Fells’ (McCabe) alongside ‘Greetings to a City’ by Arthur Bliss.

Saturday afternoon (2.00pm) sees Brighouse & Rastrick under Dr David Thornton offer a tantalising menu of major works, and featuring the debut solo appearance of Austrian baritone player Felix Geroldinger, winner of the 2018 European Soloist Competition in Utrecht. 

He will perform Martin Ellerby’s testing ‘Concerto’, while the band offer the substantial delights of two evocative gems of the test-piece repertoire, ‘Three Figures’ (Howells) and ‘Cloudcatcher Fells’ (McCabe) alongside ‘Greetings to a City’ by Arthur Bliss.

International Staff Band of the Salvation Army

They will be followed by a welcome ‘double –header’ appearance by the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army conducted by Dr Stephen Cobb.

At 4.30pm they will survey Heaton’s association with the Salvation Army, in which he was brought up in Sheffield. 

Featured works will include, ‘Praise’, ‘Victory for Me’, ‘Just As I Am’, ‘Celestial Prospect’, ‘My Master’s Will’ and ‘Toccata - O the Blessed Lord’.    

There is a fine musical aperitif to enjoy with the Junior RNCM Brass Band under conductors Jon Malaxetxebarria and Les Neish at 6.15pm, with an easy listening programme that includes works by Graham, Sparke, Goodwin, Henryson and King, before the ISB returns to the stage for a joint Saturday evening concert (7.30pm) with Black Dyke.

cHILDS
Prof Nicholas Childs and Black Dyke will be joined by the ISB on Saturday evening

Black Dyke

The Queensbury band under Prof Nicholas Childs will perform some of the works unearthed since Wilfred Heaton’s death in May 2000, shedding valuable light on his musical legacy.

It will include the entertaining parody of a traditional road march, ‘Le Tricot Rouge’, an energetic ‘Scherzo’ composed originally as a quartet in 1937, followed by an ambitious work based on the Welsh hymn tune ‘Aberystwyth’ and his iconic ‘Contest Music’.  

‘Pilgrim’s Song’ brings together movements from incidental music he composed in around 1955-56 for a dramatisation of Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’.  

It will include the entertaining parody of a traditional road march, ‘Le Tricot Rouge’, an energetic ‘Scherzo’ composed originally as a quartet in 1937, followed by an ambitious work based on the Welsh hymn tune ‘Aberystwyth’ and his iconic ‘Contest Music’.  

Joint items will see performances of the march ‘Glory! Glory!’ composed in the late 1940s and re-composed from memory in 1989, and the selection ‘My Treasure’ which enshrines Heaton’s high regard for the sacred songs of SA Bandmaster George Marshall.

Foden’s Youth and Fairey

Sunday opens with Foden’s Youth Band in a short set that will see them perform Heaton’s ‘The Children’s Friend’ as well as Jonathan Bates’ ‘Repton Fantasy’.

It is followed by the 2019 John Golland Award (11.30am) which will see Fairey Band and Garry Cutt feature new works by exciting young compositional talent as well as two Golland rarities – a march and his suite ‘Bellna’. 

A £500 prize is on offer for the most outstanding of the submitted works, to be judged by Martin Ellerby and Edward

cHILDS
David Childs will perform the Edward Gregson 'Euphonium Concerto' with Tredegar

Tredegar

The afternoon slot (2.30pm) is taken by Tredegar Band under Ian Porthouse and featuring euphonium star David Childs. 

Carrying on their reputation for exploring contrasting musical boundaries, the Welsh band will perform James MacMillan’s ‘Jebel’, Dean Goffin’s ‘Rhapsodic Variations’ – ‘My Strength, My Tower’ and Hans Werner Henze’s ‘Ragtimes and Habaneras’, as well as accompanying David on the UK premiere of Edward Gregson’s masterful ‘Euphonium Concerto’.  

As a splendid mid-afternoon tonic before the final course provided by 2018 British Open champion Cory, a ‘Young Artist Spotlight’ (4.15pm) will feature the prize winners from the 2018 European Soloist Competition – including Swiss bass trombonist Lionel Fumeaux and Dutch tuba player Luc Geraats.

cORY
Cory and Philip Harper will showcase Wilfred Heaton's immense 'Variations' 

Cory

The RNCM Brass Band Festival concludes with Cory under MD Philip Harper, as they showcase Ray Steadman-Allen’s ‘The Beacons’, as well as James Macmillan’s ‘The Gallant Weaver’. 

Steve Stewart will be the soloist in Dan Price’s ‘Concerto for Soprano Cornet’ while the musical climax is provided by Wilfred Heaton’s immense ‘Variations’.

This was the work Heaton laboured fitfully for over eight years to write, and it is a unique valedictory statement from one of the most original composers of the 20th century to have emerged from the brass band world.  

Steve Stewart will be the soloist in Dan Price’s ‘Concerto for Soprano Cornet’ while the musical climax is provided by Wilfred Heaton’s immense ‘Variations’.

Recitals and talks

In addition to the band attractions over the two days there will be the opportunity to enjoy recitals given by David Childs and Ian Bousfield, and an illustrated talk presented by Paul Hindmarsh on the life and work of Wilfred Heaton. 

Speaking to 4BR about the Festival Paul said: “Over the years, anniversary celebrations have enriched the thematic content of the festival programming and this year is no exception.

Indeed, exceptional is an apt to description of the music of Wilfred Heaton, who is best known for a handful of highly skilled, adventurous brass band pieces – ‘Praise’, ‘Just as I Am’ from his pre-war youth and ‘Contest Music’ and ‘Partita’ from his mature years. 

However, he was more than a ‘four work’ composer, with a work list extending to 75 extant titles, excluding many now lost brass quartet arrangements he made from classical sources in the 1950s and 60s.

The name Wilfred Heaton might be rarely acknowledged in the wider musical world, but the brass band community recognises the hand of a master craftsman in all his work.”


2019 RNCM Brass Band Festival

Friday: 25th January

6.30pm - 7.15pm
Carole Nash Recital Room 

Festival Prelude:
Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh introduces this year’s festival with performances by RNCM students.
Free admission, no ticket required
Please note seating in this venue is limited.


7.30pm - 9.30pm
RNCM Concert Hall 
Foden’s Band
Conductors: James Gourlay and Michael Fowles
Soloist: Ian Bousfield

Salamander (John McCabe)
Trombone Concerto (Wilfred Heaton)
Soloist: Ian Bousfield
Edwin (Andy Scott) (world premiere)
Threnody (for Fred Mortimer) (Henry Geehl)
A Severn Suite (Edward Elgar)

Tickets: £17; £14
http://https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14330


Saturday: 26th January

10.30am - 11.30am
RNCM Concert Hall
RNCM Brass Band
Conductors: James Gourlay, Dr David Thornton, Melvin Tay
Soloist: Seth Livingstone

Circius - Wind of the North (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen)
Euphonium Concerto (Philip Wilby)
Soloist: Seth Livingstone
Northern Lights (John McCabe)
New work (TBA) (world première) (Jonathan Bates)

Tickets: £10
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14331


12.00pm - 12.40pm
Carole Nash Recital Room 
Wilfred Heaton: A Composer before his time

An illustrated talk with RNCM Brass Band Festival Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh
Free admission, no ticket required
Please note seating in this venue is limited.


2.00pm - 3.00pm
RNCM Concert Hall 
Brighouse & Rastrick
Conductor: Dr David Thornton
Soloist: Felix Geroldinger

Greetings to a City (Arthur Bliss)
Three Figures (Herbert Howells)
Baritone Concerto (Martin Ellerby)
Soloist: Felix Geroldinger
Cloudcatcher Fells (John McCabe)

Tickets: £17; £14
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14332


3.30pm - 4.10pm
RNCM Theatre
Recital with David Childs
Accompanist: Chris Williams (piano)

Tickets: £10
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14333


4.30pm - 5.30pm
RNCM Concert Hall
The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army
Conductor: Dr Stephen Cobb

Featuring: Wilfred Heaton’s ‘Toccata - O the Blessed Lord’, ‘Just As I Am’, ‘Celestial Prospect’, ‘My Master’s Will’, ‘Victory for Me’ and ‘Praise’.

Tickets: £17; £14
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14334


6.15pm - 6.50pm
RNCM Theatre 
Junior RNCM Brass Band
Conductors: Jon Malaxetxebarria, Les Neish

Barnum & Bailey’s Favourite (Karl King arr. Roberts) 
Eyes of a Child (Svante Henryson arr. Larsen) 
Dimensions (Peter Graham)
A Quiet Moment (Philip Sparke)
Samba del Gringo (Gordon Goodwin)

Free admission, no ticket required


7.30pm - 9.30pm
RNCM Concert Hall 
Black Dyke and the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army
Conductors: Prof Nicholas Childs, Dr Stephen Cobb
Soloist: Brett Baker

Black Dyke Band will perform some of the scores that have surfaced since Wilfred Heaton’s death; including ‘Le Tricot Rouge’, ‘Meditation on Aberystwyth’, ‘Scherzo, A Pilgrim’s Song’, ‘Sweet Hour of Prayer’ as well as ‘Contest Music’.
The concert will conclude with a joint performance of Wilfred Heaton’s ‘Glory! Glory!’ and ‘My Treasure’.

Tickets: £17; £14
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14335


Sunday 27th January:

10.30am - 11.10am
RNCM Theatre 
Foden’s Youth Band
Conductor: Michael Fowles

The Children’s Friend (Wilfred Heaton)
Repton Fantasy (Jonathan Bates)

Free admission, no ticket required


11.30am - 12.15pm
RNCM Concert Hall
The 2019 John Golland Award
Fairey Band

Conductor: Garry Cutt

The final of the 2019 John Golland Award featuring new brass music by young composers, as well as two John Golland rarities; a march and ‘Bellna’, a suite for brass band.

Tickets: £5
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14408


1.30pm - 2.10pm
RNCM Theatre
Recital with Ian Bousfield
Accompanist: Philip Sharp

Tickets: £10
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14337


2.30pm - 3.30pm
RNCM Concert Hall 
Tredegar Town Band
Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Soloist: David Childs

Jebel (James MacMillan)
Rhapsodic Variations: My Strength, My Tower (Dean Goffin)
Euphonium Concerto (UK première) (Edward Gregson)
Soloist: David Childs
Ragtimes and Habaneras (Hans Werner Henze)

Tickets: £17; £14
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14338


4.15pm – 5.00pm
Carole Nash Recital Room 
Young Artist Spotlight

The festival welcomes prize-winners from the 2018 European Soloists Competition, the Swiss bass trombonist Lionel Fumeaux and Dutch tuba player Luc Geraats, who will be accompanied by RNCM Junior Fellow Carlos Sanchis Aguirre.
Free admission, no ticket required
Please note seating in this venue is limited.


5.30pm - 6.30pm:
RNCM Concert Hall 
Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper
Soloist: Steve Stewart

The Beacons (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Concerto for Soprano Cornet (Dan Price)
Soloist: Steve Stewart
The Gallant Weaver (James MacMillan)
Variations (Wilfred Heaton)

Tickets: £17; £14
https://tickets.rncm.ac.uk/single/SYOS.aspx?p=14339


Booking:
Weekend Ticket Full: £95
Students and under-18s £47
(covers admission to all Brass Band Festival events)

Saturday Day Ticket: £53
Sunday Day Ticket: £35
Group booking discounts available through Box Office

RNCM Box Office
124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD
By phone 0161 907 5555
Online: http://www.rncm.ac.uk
(individual event tickets only)

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