European Championships 2002:
The judges and composer's finals
Date Posted: 30.04.02
One of the most welcome initiatives that has been brought in by
these Championships is that the names of the judges for all the
sections is released in advance.
For too many years there has been an almost Masonic secrecy (especially
in the UK) about the process, with contest organisers threatened
with death by a thousand cuts if they happen to let the bands know
whos going to be in the box. Thankfully the Europeans have
led the way and the idiotic veil of secrecy has been lifted once
and for all. The Brits have also got in on the act recently as well,
and hopefully from now on, knowing whos going to pronounce
judgement on your efforts will be open and clear.
The one thing to bear I mind with this contest however, is that
there are no written remarks sheets produced by the judges to be
made available to the bands (or the public afterwards). Brought
in a couple of years ago at Birmingham, it has been a little controversial.
So who has been given the task this year to find the best band in
As the contest itself is split into two distinct sections (set test
and own choice), two distinct separate sets of judges are used.
The morning set work will be adjudicated by three experienced musicians
in the form of Messers Gourlay, Illi and Mallaerts, who will also
be in charge of adjudicating the whole of the First Section on the
The afternoon Own Choice section will be adjudicated
by Messers, Moeller, Sparke and Van der Roost.
Getting information about the judges is a little difficult, but
we have tried our best.
Gourlay is one of the most easily recognised figures in the brass
band world. As a tuba player of international class he has performed
with many of the top orchestras in Europe.
He is best known perhaps as a conductor in the brass band world,
and he has fronted many of the best bands in Europe, including Brass
Band Berner Oberland, Williams Fairey, CWS Glasgow and Grimethorpe
Illi hails from Switzerland and for many years has been the headmaster
at the Musikschule der Stadt Zug, a school with over 1800 pupils.
He was conductor of Brass Band Bugermusik Luzern for over 12 years,
with whom he won the Swiss National Championships on two occasions
and took them to 5th place at the European Championships in Bergen
He has adjudicated at the contest before and was on the panel at
both London 1997 and at Montreux in 2001.
The third adjudicator within this group is Mr Mallearts of Belgium.
(At present we could not find any additional information on him)
The Own Choice section sees another three experienced
men in the box.
Sparke is very well known to bandspersons all over Europe for an
extensive series of major works for bands at all levels.
He has also adjudicated at many of the major contests both in the
UK and in Europe.
His works have been used as the set work in the championships on
van der Roost is also well known to bandsmen both in the UK and
Europe as the composer who brought us the very fine Albion
which has been extensively used throughout Europe as a top section
set work throughout 2001.
He also wrote Stonehenge and Excalibur,
which is being used as the set work in this years First Section.
He also adjudicated at the National Finals in the UK last year.
Moeller is founding fathers of the brass band movement in Denmark
and has for many years been at the forefront of the development
of the European Brass Band Championships.
He has also adjudicated at the Championships and as far back as
1979 he was judging at the National Finals in London albeit
in the Lower Sections. He remains one of the driving forces behind
modernisation of the banding culture in Europe.
The second European Composers Final takes place at the Palais des
Beaux Arts on Friday May 3rd when four works by the chosen finalists
will be performed by Brass Band Buizingen, conducted by Luc Vertommen.
The four finalists were chosen by a panel that comprised the eminent
composers, Philip Wilby, Rob Goorhuis (who composed the 1998 Finals
set work Burlesque for Brass Band), and Carl
Rutti (who composed last years set work Montreux Wind
The four finalists are:
Simon Dobson (England)
Pascal Gendre (Switzerland)
Iain Rayner (England)
Idar Torkangerpoll (Norway)
Simon Dobson hails from Cornwall and is aged just 21. He played
for many years with the Bodmin Town Band and comes from a musical
family his father is a very respected musician and conductor
of the Saltash Town Band. He has won the Cornish Young Composers
Competition in 1999 and he is currently in his first year at the
Royal School of Music in London. He is currently working on a commission
for the British Brass Band Federation.
Pascal Gendre, aged 25, hails from Switzerland and was born in the
town of Fribourg. He studied trumpet, theory and conducting for
many years at the Fribourg Conservatoire and extended these studies
under the Swiss composer Jean Ballisat, who incidentally wrote the
set work for these championships Le Chant de lAlpe
in 1994. This gained him diplomas in composition and orchestration
from the Lausanne Conservatoire. He is currently teaching back at
his alma mater in Fribourg.
Iain Rayner is currently the Musical Director of the Moutlon 77
Band and recently took the band at the Midlands Regional Championships
were they gained 12th place in the Second Section. Aged 32 he served
as musician in the armed forces for four years and is currently
a final year student at Accrington Rossendale College. He also won
the 2000 National Association of Brass Band Conductors Composition
Idar Torskangerpoll is also 32 years of age and for two years at
the beginning of the last decade he studied music at the Roneheim
Folkehoyskole in Norway. He also obtained a degree in Music, Pedagogy
and Sociology at the University of Oslo and of Trondheim and added
a Masters degree to that in composition and arranging. He has been
a private tutor of he trombone and as a music teacher at private
and public schools, as well as conducting many brass and wind ensembles.
Since 1995 he has been working as a composer and was in 2001 appointed
resident composer for the Oslofjiord Brass Band.
The Final will be adjudicated upon by Tom Brevik of Norway, Philip
Sparke and Jan Van der Roost so the winner will have to have
impressed some seriously good composers in their own right. The
winner will pick up a handy cheque for the sum of 1500 Euros, which
has been sponsored by the Brass Band World magazine, whilst second
place gets 1000 Euro, third place 6000 Euro and a special prize
of 5000 Euro. There are other prizes to be won as well, including
a commission to write a new work for a European members national