Tredegar MD Ian Porthouse has just returned from a successful week in Japan where he worked with Tokyo City Concert Brass, culminating in a concert at the Fuchu Forest Art Theatre in the heart of the Nation's capital city.
Talking about his first experience of visiting the country, Ian told 4BR: "It was a great honour to work with the band and follow in the footsteps of Richard Evans who has been their professional Musical Director for the past 16 years.
He has instilled such a great work ethic and loyalty to the British brass band style, and the player's enthusiasm and hunger for knowledge is remarkable. They are completely obsessed about what is good about the whole British brass band movement — and that has been down to Richard's inspiration."
Ian was especially grateful for the way in which the trip was organised and run by Shinya and Hiroko Yasuda, who play solo euphonium and solo horn.
"Everything was so professional — from the time I touched down to the time I left. All this and the appetite to work on challenging repertoire made it such a memorable trip for me."
Throughout his week Ian worked on the major test-pieces, 'Ballet for Band' and 'Tallis Variations' as well as lighter concert works from the likes of Peter Graham, Robin Dewhurst and W Hogarth Lear.
"I was delighted at the progress made,"he said. "The concert was a real treat for me with the players responding superbly and giving performances of real quality. I was so impressed."
This was my first experience of Japanese brass banding and I look forward to returning next year for the 20th anniversary celebrationsIan Porthouse
Ian revealed that he will now return in June and again in December 2020 when the band will mark its 20th anniversary with the world premiere of a new work written by Welsh composer Tom Davoren.
"This was my first experience of Japanese brass banding and I look forward to returning next year for the 20th anniversary celebrations. The band will also perform 'A London Overture' by Philip Sparke.
He's a composer who is held in such high regard in the country and the piece was played at their very first concert and 10th anniversary, so it simply has to be included again."