2019 4BR Special Award

The 4BR Special Award this year goes to Lito Fontana, a world class instrumentalist and inspirational advocate for the brass band movement.

  The 2019 4BR Special Award goes to Lito Fontana

Such has been his evangelical love of brass banding that you could be mistaken for thinking that Lito Fontana was born in the heart of Yorkshire let alone Argentina.

His professional career has taken him all over the musical globe, his sumptuous playing a reflection of his warm, all-embracing personality.

He has also done it the hard way after training at the prestigious 'Rossini' Conservatoire in Persaro — battling back from set-backs, especially working in the quixotic realms of the Italian broadcasting industry that could have easily stopped his career from flourishing.

Battle hardened

His sunny disposition hides a battle hardened determination and professionalism that only true world class performers possess.

His first mark on the banding world came with the top flight emergence of Brass Band Oberosterreich on the European Championship stage (although he had also been closely involved with conductor Hannes Buchegger at Brass Band Froschl Hall).

His star shone as brightly as any in a band dotted with superb individual talent, whilst his subsequent CD recordings ('When I Walk Alone' in 2011 and 'A Mi Manera' in 2014) confirmed a reputation as one of the world's finest trombonists, working with the likes of James Morrison and Chet Baker amongst others.


The evangelical touch paper though had been well and truly lit — and there is little doubt that without his drive, determination and personality the Italian Brass Band Association (and the hosting of the National Championships) would not have occurred, or survived the problems that came its way through the byzantine workings of Italian bureaucracy.

His help to individual bands has been marked. Without his intervention the Italian Brass Band would not have been able to attend the European Championships.

He has also inspired other nations — most notably in Spain, where he was instrumental in getting the Malaga Brass Band to make their debut in the European Challenge Section in 2019. Through his lead, others will follow.


All this and his teaching career in both Austria and Italy has inspired a new generation of outstanding players, whilst he has strengthened international links to conservatoires and universities from Wales to South America and beyond.

The essence of his success has been built on a remarkable playing talent and his undiluted love of music making that has acted as his touch-stone; one imbued with a generosity of spirit and irrepressible warmth of personality that brings a smile to the faces of everyone he meets with his wonderfully supportive wife Mona.

Schagerl Instruments are very lucky to have him as an endorsee.

There is only one Lito Fontana — and the brass band world is very lucky indeed to have him in our midst.

Iwan Fox

The essence of his success has been built on a remarkable playing talent and his undiluted love of music making that has acted as his touch-stone4BR

4BR Special Award:

2018: Allan Withington
2017: Paul Hindmarsh
2016: Carole Crompton
2015: Philip Wilby
2014: Mike Shenton
2013: John Berryman
2012: Howard Snell
2011: Philip Sparke
2010: Scottish Brass Band Association
2009: Ian Williams
2008: Norwegian Band Federation
2007: Peter Roberts
2006: Markus Bach
2005: David Gallaher
2004: David Read
2003: Salvationist Publishing & Supplies Ltd
2002: Frank Hodges
2001: Alan Jenkins

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