The latest news on performances, work with ensembles and new music:
"Fanfare & Three Poems": British Trombone Society Composers' Competition Win
I'm thrilled to let you know that my latest work "Fanfare & Three Poems" has won the British Trombone Society's Composition Competition 2020!
The judging panel comprised of a Callum Au (Composer, Arranger, Orchestrator and Trombonist), Martyn Brabbins (Conductor and Music Director of English National Opera) and Dan Jenkins (Composer, Writer, Sub-Principal of the BBC Symphony Orchestra & 1st Trombone of the City of London Sinfonia).
When composing the work, my aim was to write music that
would contrast in a standard concert programme for the regular
audience member but could also introduce a modern listener,
who may not regularly attend live art music performances, to
western art music. To do this, the suite borrows much of its
rhythmic impetus from electronic dance music and other modern
The work is set out as a suite containing three separate character studies preceded by a fanfare. Each movement develops the material found in the original fanfare in an alternative fashion. Following the short, energetic fanfare are three movements. Each borrows its structure from three forms of poetry: Blank Verse, Villanelle and Tanka.
The opening Fanfare acts as our first movement. Set out in ternary form, it serves as a ‘tongue in cheek’ introduction to the work as a whole.
The second movement, Blank Verse, is set out in five ‘verses’. The movement follows traditional iambic pentameter throughout.
The third movement, Villanelle, is a slow movement that follows the traditional structure of the poem of the same name. Five tercets are followed by a quatrain.
The final movement: ‘Tanka collection', is a fast paced finale showcasing the technical ability of both the trombones and the drum kit structured in the form of a series of tankas. A tanka poem consists of five units with the following pattern of onji (phonetic units): 5-7-5-7-7. The first part of the pattern, 5-7-5, is called the kami-no-ku ("upper phrase”) and is the origin of the haiku. The second part of the pattern, the 7-7, is called the shimo-no-ku ("lower phrase”). The movement simply takes the pattern of onji and reduces the syllables to beats in a bar, with a first phrase with a bar of 5/4, 7/4, 5/4, followed by a second phrase consisting of two 7/4 bars, creating a collection of tanka poems.
The panel described my music as 'a thoroughly exciting piece for trombone quartet and drum kit' and 'a splendid and energetically rhythmic piece that hopefully has many performances ahead'.
Naturally, I am thrilled to win such a prestigious award. My thanks must also go to my composition mentor Philip Wilby for his invaluable advice and guidance.
The music will soon be published by Bones Apart. I cannot wait to hear the premiere when the performance restrictions are lifted!
Many thanks for your support and interest,
International Brass Band Composer Competition Finalist
I am delighted to let you know that my latest composition: "The Lady with the Lamp" has been shortlisted for the International Brass Band Composer Competition 2020.
The competition received some 92 entries representing 14 different countries including Australia, Japan and the USA so I am delighted to be among the 5 finalists.
My works celebrates the life and achievements of Florence Nightingale on the 200th anniversary of her birth.
The judging panel is comprised of renowned musicians within the brass band movement, including Dr Liz Lane, Paul Hindmarsh and James Curnow.
Following the judges decision of the winning entry, the result will be announced on the 1st October.
Many thanks for your support and interest,
RNCM Festival Premieres
This weekend I've had a fantastic time at the RNCM Festival of Brass in Manchester. I was lucky enough to have two World Premieres featured at the festival..
My new concert work ’God from the Machine’ opened the Black Dyke Band’s Saturday evening concert alongside an incredible programme of music from Edward Gregson, Oliver Waespi and Philip Wilby.
On Sunday, Siobhan Bates premiered my new piece for tenor horn and piano with a wonderful performance of ’Sea Song and Hornpipe’ in the Young Artist Spotlight.
I was also delighted to have a composer profile and interview featured in the British Bandsman Magazine ahead of the festival.
Many thanks to Paul Hindmarsh for organising a great weekend of music making.
Hyde Band Resident Musical Director Appointment
I am delighted to announce that I have been appointed as the Resident Musical Director of Hyde Band.
Based in the New Forest, Hyde Band are an ambitious championship section brass band with a busy contest and concert schedule. The role will see me work alongside the band's professional conductor Nigel Seaman (Welsh National Opera, Cory Band Musical Adviser).
The band has a rich history going back to 1895 and
You can find out more about the band here:
I'm really looking forward to working with the band and I'm eager to get started on what I hope will be a very successful partnership.
Black Dyke 'Young Composer' Residency Extension
I am delighted that my position as 'Young Composer in Residence' with the Black Dyke Band is to be extended for another year.
I am thrilled to carry on working with Black Dyke and continue my tuition under Professor Philip Wilby.
Full press release:
'The Code' - A4 Brass Quartet Composition Competition 2019 Win
I am thrilled to have won A4 Brass Quartet's 2019 Composition Competition with my new work 'The Code'. As part of the prize winnings, 'The Code' will be professionally recorded by the quartetand performed throughout their 2019/20 concert season.
A4 Brass Quartet comprises of principal players from some of the UK’s top brass bands, including Grimethorpe Colliery, Brighouse & Rastrick and Foden’s. With “technical virtuosity in abundance” (Brass Band World), these four astonishing musicians come together to perform both lyrical and high-octane works, forming a distinctive and new take on chamber music. Formed in 2013 at the Royal Northern College of Music, the group have claimed a number of prestigious chamber music awards. They have gone on to tour across Europe, including performances at high profile events in Finland, Switzerland and even as far afield as Lithuania.
Following a preliminary round judged by the quartet, the final round was judged by globally renowned composer and tutor Gary Carpenter; and arranger, editor and festival director Paul Hindmarsh, in addition to the quartet members (pictured above left to right - Jamie Smith, Chris Robertson, Mike Cavanagh and Jonathan Bates).
The brief for the work was simple: a new composition
commemorating one of a number of specified anniversaries, one of which being the 50th year since the Apollo 11 lunar landing.
'The Code' is based on the life and work of computer scientist Margaret Hamilton. Widely regarded as the 'mother of software' she is credited as the driving force behind creating the software for the Apollo 11 mission. She is considered a feminist icon for her astounding work putting man on the moon whilst working in a male-dominated space industry.
My thanks to Professor Philip Wilby for the invaluable mentorship and guidance he gave, as part of the Black Dyke Band's Young Composer Residency, whilst I was composing the work. My thanks also to Paul Hindmarsh, Gary Carpenter and A4 Brass Quartet for their consideration and judgement.
Find out more about A4 Brass Quartet here:
As always many thanks for your support and interest,
Black Dyke Visit and 'MINIBEASTS' world premiere
Last week I returned to Yorkshire as part of Black Dyke's young composer residency and spent much of the time studying under the invaluable advice and guidance of Professor Philip Wilby.
It was great to be back again in Black Dyke's historic bandroom to observe Professor Childs rehearse the band in preparation for an upcoming CD recording of Philip's music. The band also rehearsed a new arrangement of mine featuring a number of big band hits . I'm grateful to both Professor Childs and the Band members for their very warm welcome.
Another highlight of the trip was 'Saxhorn Fest 2019' organised by Baritone and Tenor Horn stars Katrina Marzella and Helen Varley. The event was so well organised and made for a fantastic day of music making and learning. I enjoyed giving a guest seminar with Prof. Wilby on writing for the saxhorn and the teaching of composition.
The evening concert was a particular highlight and it was a real privilege to hear my new work ‘MINIBEASTS' performed as the finale of the concert. After an exciting group of solo sets, the soloists formed a quartet. The group included both Katrina & Helen as well as Mike Cavanagh (Grimethorpe Colliery Band), Nat Martin (Foden's Band) and piano accompanist Ruth Webb (RNCM). It was a real privilege to hear my music premiered by a group of such high-level musicians.
I'm looking forward to sharing more news about some exciting new projects and releases coming later in 2019.
Many thanks again for your support and interest,
Images: Hazel Whittall Photography
Black Dyke Band Young Composer in Residence 2018/19
I am thrilled to announce that I have been appointed as the Black Dyke Band's Young Composer in Residence for 2018/19.
The position will see me compose various works for the band and culminate in writing a major work. I will be working under the expert guidance of eminent composer Professor Philip Wilby.
I am really looking forward to working with Professor Wilby and the creative team at Black Dyke. I can't wait to get started!
Thanks again for your interest,
2018 Spring Update
It’s been an exciting few months with various performances and premieres taking place.
In early February, The Markham and District Brass Band premiered my new work ‘The Final Hours of Tom Horn’ as part of their set at the Welsh Open Entertainment Contest 2018.
Later in February, I performed in concert with the RepCo ‘Metropole Orkest’, a specially formed pops-orchestra as part of student led RepCo week at the RWCMD. The orchestra performed three of my arrangements - ‘Right Here, Right Now’ (Fatboy Slim), Binky (Snarky Puppy) and a medley of ‘Insomnia’ and ‘Lola’s theme’ (Faithless/The Shapeshifters). It was a fantastic, innovative concert which concluded with myself and members of the orchestra in a post-concert gig with ‘riot-jazz’ group 3D Brass.
In March, I took part in the second Band Cymru semi-final where I directed the RWCMD Brass Band in competition with (City of Cardiff) Melingriffith 1 and 3D Brass (who I also performed with).
We were delighted to come away with the first prize.
The end of march saw my final assessment at RWCMD. This was an assessed concert performance with the RWCMD Brass Band at Regent Hall, London, the highlight of which was a performance of Edward Gregson’s rarely performed work ‘Concertante for Piano and Band’ (Soloist - Conall Bembridge-Sayers). The rest of the programme included music by Samuel Hazo, Philip Sparke, Harry James, Ben Hollings and Peter Graham before we rounded off with an encore of Men of Harlech (arr. Langford) which brought about a standing ovation. It was a brilliant way to round off my practical studies at the RWCMD.Finally, I’m delighted that this evening (4/4/18) The Cory Band will be performing ‘Tarot! Tortuous Tarot!’ at Perth Concert Hall as part of their tour of Scotland alongside the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland.More to news on the way so do watch this space…
As always, many thanks for your continued interest and support,