Childs completes Curnow Concerto

The virtuoso euphonium star gives the first performance of a new brass band version of James Curnow's acclaimed 'Concerto for Euphonium'.

James Curnow
  David Childs recently gave the world premiere of the new brass band version

David Childs and the University of North Texas Brass Band recently gave the premiere performance of a new setting of James Curnow's critically acclaimed 'Concerto for Euphonium'.

The award winning American composer is an icon of the wind music genre, whilst his extensive brass band output has also gained worldwide plaudits.

New version

In 1996 James Curnow composed his 'Concerto for Euphonium' — conducting the premiere in Riva Del Garda, Italy, featuring Roger Behrend (then principal euphonium of the United States Navy Band) and the Orchestra Philharmonia Veneta di Treviso.

Having for many years been a work exclusively for euphonium and orchestra, the composer later created editions for wind band and piano accompaniment, before recently making a new version for David Childs and the UNT Brass Band, at the request of UNT College of Music's Dean, John Richmond


Speaking to 4BR, Dean John Richmond said: "The University of North Texas College of Music is honoured to have played a role in bringing this new edition to fruition.

This fresh reimagination offers a stunning blend of colorful orchestration, fiercely virtuosic demands for the euphonium soloist, moments of musical introspection, and a triumphant conclusion certain to satisfy the most discerning brass band aficionado.

He added: "There is no doubt that Curnow's Concerto for Euphonium and Brass Band soon will occupy its well-deserved place as a standard in the brass band repertoire."


Composed as a three movement Concerto in one continuous work, the transcription now completes the accompaniment available for piano, orchestra, wind band and brass band.

David Childs alongside the UNT Brass Band under conductor John Clemons, gave the premiere on 27th February at the Winspear Hall Murchison Performing Arts Center, Denton, Texas.

Exceptional command

And speaking about the new premiere, James Curnow told 4BR: "Composers often wait a lifetime to hear their compositions premièred by such outstanding musical forces.

David Childs' exceptional command of the Euphonium was extremely evident by his brilliant handling of my tour-de-force Concerto."

David meanwhile is currently back in the UK to conduct the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band at a pre-results concert at the Welsh Regional Championships on Sunday.

David Childs' exceptional command of the Euphonium was extremely evident by his brilliant handling of my tour-de-force ConcertoJames Curnow

Great privilege

He told 4BR: "Although James Curnow's 'Rhapsody for Euphonium' and 'Symphonic Variants' are staples of the repertoire, I wasn't familiar with his 'Concerto for Euphonium', so to have the opportunity to work on it was a great privilege.

I'm especially grateful to James Curnow and John Richmond, but also to the young musicians of the UNT Brass Band and Associate Conductor, John Clemons, who performed wonderfully during the première."

More information:

James Curnow has been commissioned to write over 400 works for brass band, concert band, orchestra, choir, and various vocal and instrumental ensembles. His total published works now number well over 800. All editions of his Concerto for Euphonium are available via: kentuckycomposer@gmail.com

More information about the composer can be found at: https://www.halleonard.com/biography/395/james-curnow

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