It was a great pleasure to help celebrate composer Edward Gregson’s 70th birthday year with a concert in the presence of the composer. As well as conducting several of Gregson’s best known works, it was a pleasure to be able to interview Edward about his career as a composer, and about his future plans.
I am looking forward to once again conducting Jaren Hornmusikkforening for their Spring Concert. This concert is of particularly note for Jaren, as March marks the band’s 80th birthday. I will be making weekly trips to Olso throughout February and March to prepare for the concert on 10 April, which will include highlights from the band’s 2015 SIDDIS programme, as well as some more traditional brass band classics such as Eric Ball’s magnificent ‘Kensington Concerto’ and Derek Bourgeois’ ‘Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’.
I was delighted to be invited to Belfast to conduct the Ulster Youth Orchestra in February. It was particularly nice to be able to work with this orchestra having once been a member of their trombone section during my school days!
Throughout the course, we worked on both Suite No. 1 & 2 from Bizet’s Carmen – linking in with the BBC’s Ten Pieces 2 project, culminating in a performance of a selection of music from both suites.
Highlights from the course will be broadcast on Radio Ulster over the coming weeks. During the trip to Belfast I was also asked to contribute an interview for a short feature on Northern Irish conductors which will be aired on Radio Ulster – more details to follow soon!
It was a great pleasure to be invited to work with the Ila Brass Band – one of Norway’s 10 Elite section bands, based in Trondheim – and to lead them at both the Trondheim Championships and Norwegian National Championships in Bergen at the beginning of February. I spend 11 days working intensely with the band on two very challenging pieces – Stig Nordhagan’s ‘Searching for Light’ and Thomas Doss’s Beethoven inspired ‘REM-Scapes’. The band was awarded 1st prize at the Trondheim Championships, and also performed a gala concert prior to the results for an audience of 1200.
The band also came a respectable 9th place at NM where the standard of competition was exceptionally high. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Ila over the next few years and building on this year’s success!
Following the positive feedback from the performance at the Sage in November, Virtuosi GUS reprised our New York themed programme for our annual January trip to the Butlins Mineworkers Championship. The band was awarded the Most Entertaining prize for the programme, once again narrated by Dale Gerrard. The Band’s solo trombonist Chris Jeans also picked up the solo prize for his superb rendition of Peter Graham’s ‘Radio City’. The previous day the band performed Paul Lovatt-Coopers ‘Breath of Souls’ which helped to secure an over all 2nd place for the weekend for the second consecutive year. You can hear the band’s performance of the piece here.