2018 4BR Conductor of the Year

Which inspirational conductor made the greatest impression on our panel of judges this year?

  Arsene Duc led Valaisia Brass Band to the European and Swiss National titles in 2018.

Winner: Arsene Duc

2. Philip Harper
3. Russell Gray

A host of conductors led their bands to memorable successes at various levels this year, but in the opinion of the panel one stood out from the rest — Arsene Duc of Valaisia.

The Swiss MD once again inspired his band — with a stunning victory at the European Championship in Utrecht and a fourth successive success at the Swiss National Championship in Monteux. They very nearly retained the British Open title too in Birmingham — just pipped by Cory.

A wonderfully modest musician imbued with an insatiable appetite to enquire and improve, his direction remains understated yet completely commanding.

He is the most worthy of winners — joining a distinguished list of other outstanding recipients of the award by gaining 6 first preference choices and 2 podium choices from the panel.

Man to beat

The man who has won the award for the past two years comes runner-up in this occasion as Philip Harper — although he remains the man to beat.

His outstanding leadership saw Cory claim the Band Cymru, Welsh Regional, British Open and Brass in Concert titles, whilst he also took time out to lead a series of artistic development workshops and pop in the adjudication box. He gained 2 first choice preferences and 6 podium votes.


Third place went to a conductor who reminded us all of his major contest winning talent once more in the most memorable way — Russell Gray.

The way in which he led Foden's to the National title will stick in the memory banks for a long time, and certainly contributed to him gaining 1 first preference and 5 podium choices from the panel.

A wonderfully modest musician imbued with an insatiable appetite to enquire and improve, his direction remains understated yet completely commanding4BR

Past Winners:

2017: Ingar Bergby
2016: Philip Harper
2015: Philip Harper
2014: Nicholas Childs
2013: Philip Harper
2012: Allan Withington
2011: David King
2010: Ian Porthouse
2009: Robert Childs
2008: Robert Childs
2007: Allan Withington
2006: Allan Withington
2005: Nicholas Childs
2004: Ray Farr
2003: David King
2002: Russell Gray
2001: David King


The Awards Panel consisted of : Iwan Fox (Editor 4BR); Malcolm Wood (Chief Contributor); Steven Mead (euphonium soloist); Gordon Simpson (statistician Brass Band World magazine); Chris Thomas (Chief Contributor Brass Band World magazine); Kenny Crookston (CEO, Brass Bands England); Frode Rydland (EBBA Music Commission/soprano cornet Bjorsvik Brass); Alexander Zwann (Chief contributor CU Brass); Tom Davoren (conductor/composer); Tim Mutum (writer/brass band recording and history specialist).

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