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Nationals 2001: The Adjudicators


The British Brass Band Federation have taken the very welcome step this year of announcing the panel of adjudicators for the Finals well in advance, thus stopping bandsmen and women all over the country indulging in the time honoured tradition of worrying themselves to death over who they think may or may not be in the box.

The three gentlemen (and it’s always gentlemen) who have been given the task this year are David Read, Roy Newsome and Jan Van der Roost.

David Read and Roy Newsome are familiar signatures at the bottom of an adjudication sheet for most British bands, but the name of Jan Van der Roost won’t be, although he is no novice to adjudicating brass band contests as well as wind ensemble and choral competitions. He is the first composer to be asked to adjudicate on his own work at the Finals since 1993, when Derek Bourgeois was in the box to pass judgment on “Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”. Jan Van der Roost also joins a very select band of European born musicians to have judged at the contest, and the first since Markus Bach in 1992 to be entrusted by the British to do the job.

Since the Second World War, the following composers have adjudicated their own works at the finals:

1946 and 1948: Henry Gheel (Oliver Cromwell and On the Cornish Coast)

1950 and 1960: Herbert Howells (Pageantry and Three Figures)

1958: Edmund Rubbra (Variations on a Shining River)

1964 and 1965: Gilbert Vinter (Variations on a Ninth and Triumphant Rhapsody)

1969 and 1972: Eric Ball (High Peak and Kensington Concerto)

1986 and 1993: Derek Bourgeois (Diversions for Brass Band and Devil and the Deep Blue Sea)

1988: Ray Steadman-Allen (Seascapes)

1989: Arthur Butterworth (Odin)

Frank Wright also adjudicated on numerous occasions as the transcriber of many orchestral arrangements.

We believe the following European born musicians and composers have adjudicated at the Finals: Vilem Tausky 1972: Joseph Horowitz 1974, 1975 and 1980 and Markus Bach 1992.


David Read:

David Read made his debut as adjudicator at the National Finals way back in 1985 when he shared the adjudication on “Cloudcatcher Fells” with Bram Gay and Sir David Willcocks. Since then he has been the most regular of judges at the Finals in addition to adjudicating at the British Open (debut 1982), the Masters, the European and many other major brass band contest all over the world.

2001 sees his 12th appearance as adjudicator and his 7th in a row in the box at the Royal Albert Hall.

He is a most highly respected judge, who’s written comments are constructive and detailed and who has an acute ear for musical shape as well as technical clarity. More importantly he is seen as a “safe” adjudicator in the eyes of the bandsmen themselves, in that he invariably gets the vast majority of decisions concerning the prizewinners correct. This has been further emphasised by the bands themselves voting him as their first choice to judge them at the All England Masters for the past few years.

David Read was born in Wales and did his Military service with the Regimental Band of the Welsh Guards. His playing career came to fruition with the Askern Colliery Band, followed by a spell with Carlton Main Frickley Colliery. He later joined the Munn and Feltons Band (later named GUS) later becoming Principal Cornet. During his time with the band, GUS became National Champions on four occasions and World Champions once.

He was also assistant principal cornet for the Virtuosi Band of Great Britain and Kings of Brass and was three times Champion Cornet Player of Great Britain and once outright Solo Champion. He was also a member of the famous GUS quartet that with John Berryman, John Cobley and Trevor Groom who on a number of occasion were British Quartet Champions.

He has been an educationalist as Senior Instrumental Teacher for Cambridge Area Education Authority, and in 1983 was honoured by the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in 1996 by receiving the English Masters Dedicated Service Award.

National Championships Adjudicating Record: 12 appearances.

1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001.


Dr. Roy Newsome PhD, B Mus, FRCO, ARCM:

2001 sees Dr. Roy Newsome makes his return appearance as adjudicator since the National Finals of 1997 when he was in the box with David Read and William Relton when Brighouse and Rastrick won playing “On Alderney Edge”.

Prior to this he made his debut at the National Finals as a judge in 1982, when he adjudicated on “Contest Music”. Since then he has appeared on two other occasions in 1983 and latterly 1997.

Roy Newsome also conducted Williams Fairey to the National title in 1986 on “Diversions for Brass Band”, as well as conducting Black Dyke, Besses O’ the Barn, Ever Ready and Sun Life at the Finals.

His conducting career started in earnest when he took the Elland Silver Band to win the National Finals Fourth Section in 1958 and since that time he became on of the leading brass band trainers and Musical Directors of his or any other generation. In addition to his National Finals victory of 1986, he has won the British Open on 5 occasions with four different bands. He has also composed numerous works for band and soloists, including a Concerto for Brass Band and Piano and a recent transcription of Carmina Burana.

A renowned organist, he was Music Director of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain from 1984 to 2000 and was for many years the Head of Band Studies on the BA and Graduate Diploma courses in Band Musicianship at the University of Salford. In 1989 he was recipient of the college’s Honorary Graduate Diploma and in 1976 was awarded the silver medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians.

In 1999 he was awarded his Doctor of Philosophy for his research into brass band history at the University of Salford.

In 2001 he adjudicated at both the European Championships in Montreaux and the All England Masters Championships in Cambridge. At the first Yorkshire Building Society won, but at the second he placed the band 7th when both other adjudicators placed then 1st and YBS somewhat controversially came 2nd to Brighouse and Rastrick.

Nationals Record:

Conductor: 16 appearances: 1 Win (1986 – Williams Fairey): 1 Second (1978 - Besses O’ th Barn): 3 Thirds (1973, 1974 – Black Dyke Mills, 1993 – Sun Life): 3 Fourths (1984, 1987 – Fairey’s, 1994 – Sun Life): 1 Fifth (1988 – Fairey’s): 2 Sixths (1981 – Besses, 1992 – Sun Life): 5 Unplaced (1979, 1980 – Besses, 1990 – Ever Ready, 1991, 1995 – Sun Life)

Adjudicator: 4 appearances: 1982, 1983, 1997, 2001-10-17


Jan Van der Roost:

The welcome appearance of Jan Van der Roost to adjudicate at the National Finals should not only be welcomed as a decision to bring in a “new face” to the adjudication process, but as a sensible and thoughtful decision in light of the huge technical complexities of the his composition, “Albion”.

For the uninitiated the piece will sound amazingly muddled and complex for over three minutes from it’s start, as various ensembles made up of cornets and drums play at different tempos, rhythm and metre to indicate the chaos of conflict in Albion before order is restored by the introduction of monarchic “order”.

To say that it is difficult for a first time audience to comprehend is somewhat understating the point and there will an absolute need for the ear of the composer to be used to unable the judges to make sense and to adjudicate on what is actually going on. This is superb brass writing that has an almost mathematical simplicity to it – when it works it sounds quite breathtaking.

As for the rest of the work – the composer has been very specific about his musical instructions, the voices and musical lines to be heard and the effects employed to create atmosphere and colour. His input into the adjudication process will be vital to ensure that the band that can actually “perform” the music is declared the winners. So many will just try and blow and bluster their way through – lets hope the other experienced men in the box take serious note of what Mr Van der Roost has to say and write.

Jan Van der Roost was born in the town of Duffel in Belgium in 1956 and was introduced at a very early age to the prominent names and performers of both brass and wind through his family, who were associated with high quality amateur music making. Thus he was encouraged to write and compose form an early age.

He became a student at the Lemmens Institute where he received a varied high-class musical education that led to the award of a triple Music Education Laurete Diploma for trombone, music history and music education.. In 1979 he continued his studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Ghent and Antwerp where he received a further Diploma in composition.

He is currently teaching and lecturing at Lemmens Institute and conducts the colleges Wind Ensemble and Wind Band. In 1999 he became Guest Professor at the Shobi Institute of Music in Tokyo.

He is in demand not only as a composer but also as an adjudicator and conductor and his highly versatile skills as a composer have brought international recognition through performances of his works both on radio, television as well as through live recitals and CD recordings. He has composed extensively for brass, wind, choir, piano, guitar, string orchestra, solo instruments and symphony orchestra.

Many of his current works include the three part trilogy, “Stonehenge”, “Arsenal” and “Albion” as well as “Flashlight”, “Canterbury Choral”, “Tocatta Festiva”, “Slavia”, “Limelight Fanfare”, “Prima Luce” and “Minerva”.

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