Wilby and Black Dyke reach 30 year musical landmark

The musical collaboration between Prof Philip Wilby and Black Dyke Band reaches its 30th anniversary this month.

Philip Wilby
  Philip Wilby has been associated with Black Dyke for 30 years

October 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of the artistic collaboration between Black Dyke Band and composer Prof Philip Wilby.

The landmark was to have been celebrated with performances of a number of his works commissioned by the band, but unfortunately the Coronavirus pandemic meant their extensive list of engagements was curtailed.

Blown away

Speaking about the association, Prof Wilby told 4BR: "I remember sitting in the bandroom in Queensbury listening to James Watson directing the band through George Lloyd's 'English Heritage'. It was the first time for me to hear the band in close proximity and I was simply blown away.

At the time I was writing "Paganini Variations", particularly the slow music. However when I returned home the inspiration for the virtuoso fast music was flooding through my mind. From then on they were a band that I held in the greatest musical admiration."


The association with Prof Wilby was further strengthened with the appointment of Dr Nicholas Childs in 2000 and which has resulted in a series of major works, ensemble compositions and solo pieces.

It has also seen the band undertake a number of high profile artistic projects and collaborations and release of CDs of his music.

Philip Wilby has been one of the most important compositional voices to write for the brass band medium — and for Black Dyke in particularProf Nicholas Childs

Inspirational figure

Prof Childs told 4BR: "Philip Wilby has been one of the most important compositional voices to write for the brass band medium — and for Black Dyke in particular.

He has also been an inspirational figure to fellow composers, conductors and performers. As the Chair of the Creative Team at Black Dyke that inspiration has been profound and has enabled the band to explore new musical horizons."

Generosity of spirit

He added: "I have learnt something new every time I have worked with him — and his generosity of spirit has meant that countless others have done so as well.

I sincerely hope we can work together for many more years to come and I am sure the brass band movement will continue to be enriched by his music for generations to come."

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