2007 European Brass Band Championships - Championship Section runners and riders

30-Apr-2007

4BR looks at the twelve bands and their records that will hope to leave Birmigham on the weekend crowned as the 30th European Champions.


Denmark flagBrass Band Lyngby Taarbaek
Denmark
Conductor
: Christian Schmiedescamp

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Connie Trolle
Principal Euphonium: Peter Lundorf
Principal Trombone: Mette Moller
Soprano: Lars Haedersdal
Flugel: Helle Hansen
Horn: Lisbeth Jorgensen
Baritone: Ea Vangkilde
Eb Tuba: Philip Garner
Bb Tuba: Peter Hansen
Percussion: Mikkel Vangkilde Nielsen

4BR Ranking: 48

European Appearances: 7th time
(1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)

European Record: (set work/ own choice)
1997: 9th overall - 8th/10th
1998: 11th overall – 11th/10th
2003: 9th overall – 9th/9th
2004: 5th overall – 4th/8th
2005: 7th overall – 4th/9th
2006: 10th overall – 10th/10th

The performances of 1997, 1998 and 2003 were directed by Jesper Juul Sorensen. Ray Farr conducted the band from 2004 to 2006. Christian Schmiedescamp makes his debut this year with the band.

Own Choice works used:
1997:  An Epic Symphony
1998:  Fantasy for Brass Band
2003:  Montage
2004: …Dove Descending
2005:  St. Magnus
2006:  Music of the Spheres

Best Performance: 5th place in 2004
Last Year: 10th place overall

The perennial Danish champions return once more and they will be looking to stop the rot somewhat at the contest. On their first two appearances they made up the numbers but after a fine 5th place in 2004 they have fallen off the pace somewhat and last year they were very disappointing in coming 10th and last in Belfast.

They took the Danish National title in some style last year winning by a clear margin from rivals Silkeborg Blæserne and Concord Brass Band and with a number of fine performers around the stand they should be confident this time to push themselves back towards the prize list once again. They will need to perform to the very best of their form though against a strong field of competitors, but the decision to be directed by resident conductor Christian Schmiedescamp could prove beneficial. 
 
SchConductor:

Christian Schmiedescamp, born 1972 in Esbjerg, Denmark and started playing the euphonium and later on the trombone with the Esbjerg Brass Band and Esbjerg Youth Symphony Orchestra.

He studied the trombone and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in Århus, Denmark and the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen with among others Rolf Sandmark and Torbjørn Kroon (trombone) and Søren K. Hansen, Mogens Dahl and Frans Rasmussen (conducting).  He had further private trombone-studies in Chigaco with Michael Mulcahy and Rex Martin and in Berlin with Stefan Schulz. During his musical studies he also finished a BA in physics from the University of Aarhus, Denmark. 

He currently works professionaly as 2nd trombone with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, and appearing on freelance basis with most major ensembles in the region. He have been associated with the Lyngby-Taarbæk Brass Band for three years. 


Wales flagCory
Wales
Conductor:
Dr. Robert Childs

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Williams
Principal Euphonium: David Childs
Principal Trombone: Christopher Thomas
Soprano: Michelle Ibbotson
Flugel: Joanne Dean
Horn: Owen Farr
Baritone: Susan Thomas
Eb Tuba: Steve Sykes
Bb Tuba: Fraser Bish
Percussion: Alun Horgan

4BR Ranking: 2

European Appearances: 18th time
(1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)

European Record: (set work/ own choice)
1979: 2nd overall – 3rd/3rd
1980: Winners overall – 1st/2nd
1981: 6th overall – N/K
1982: 2nd overall – 3rd/2nd
1983: 3rd overall – 7th/2nd
1984: 2nd overall – 3rd/2nd
1985: 2nd overall – 4th/1st
1986: 3rd overall – 3rd/4th
1987: 8th overall – 8th/7th
1989: 3rd overall – 1st/4th
1993: 3rd overall – 3rd/4th
1999: 5th overall – 5th/4th
2001: 2nd overall – 1st/3rd
2003: 2nd overall – 2nd/1st
2004: 6th overall – 6th/7th
2005: 2nd overall – 2nd/3rd
2006: 3rd overall – 3rd/1st

Denzil Stephens directed the band between 1979 and 1981. Major Arthur Kenney directed from 1982 to 1987. Brian Howard took them in 1989, Michael Antrobus in 1993 and Jeremy Wise in 1999. Since 2001 they have been directed by Dr. Robert Childs. 

Own Choice works used:
1979: Judges of the Secret Court
1980: Triumphant Rhapsody
1981: Connotations
1982: Fireworks
1983: Variations on a Ninth
1984: Contest Music
1985: Dances and Arias
1986: Ballet for Band
1987: Dances and Arias
1989: Diversions on a Bass Theme
1993: Harmony Music
1999: Of Men and Mountains
2001: Harrison's Dream
2003: Revelation
2004: Revelation
2005: Concerto Grosso
2006: The Promised Land

Denzil Stephens directed the performances of 1979, 1980 and 1981. Arthur Kenney directed the performances of 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987. Brian Howard conducted in 1989. Michael Antrobus led their attempt in 1993, whilst Jeremy Wise conducted in 1999. Robert Childs has directed the performances since 2001. 

Best Performance: Winners 1980
Last Year: 3rd place overall

Surely this is the year for Cory to be crowned European Champion – they have done just about everything else in their power to do it in the past eight years, that it seems only a name change is left. That name is synonymous with their last victory though in 1980 and if history does indeed repeat itself then it can do no worse than doing it here 27 years later.

A fantastic record of achievement at the contest and with the players of the highest quality dotted around the stand and one of the most determined MDs in the business in front of them they will have once again left no musical stone unturned in their search for glory. 

They have already qualified for Stavanger 2008 and won through to here in fine style by winning the 2006 Welsh Regional contest in 2006. What would they give though just to have that touch of extra luck that just eluded them in Belfast when the promised land fell tantalisingly out of reach by a mere fingertip.

Conductor:

Bob ChildsDr. Robert Childs is an associate of the RCM, a Fellow of the LCM and gained a distinction in a Masters Degree from the University of Leeds. He also holds a PGC in Education from the Open University. His status as a professional musician encompasses many fields of music making.

He is Director of Brass Band Studies at the WCMD, Professor of Euphonium at the RNCM and the University of Leeds. He is a tutor and council member to the National Youth Bands of Wales and Great Britain and is also a council member of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain. He has recently been appointed Conductor of the NYBB of Belgium. He is also an experienced record producer and director of Doyen Recordings.

He conducted and performed with Black Dyke Band for almost ten years and conducted them on several important occasions. He has also performed with many of the UK's leading orchestras.

In 2000, he became the MD of the Buy As You View Cory Band and won the British Open Championship, the National Championship and runner-up at the European Championship in a single season. In 2002, he became MD to the NYBB of Wales and the band became British Open champion again. In 2002, he was awarded the title 'Doctor of Musical Arts' from the University of Leeds.   


Belgium flagBrass Band Willebroek
Belgium
Conductor:
Frans Violet

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Raf Van Looveren
Principal Euphonium: Stef Pillaert
Principal Trombone: Walter Hoeks
Soprano: Bert Van Thienen
Flugel: Kristien Schuermans
Horn: Stijn Berbe
Baritone: Nick Vermeiren
Eb Tuba: Stefan Moeskops
Bb Tuba: Bart Van Neyghem
Percussion: Nico Schueters

4BR Ranking: 12

European Appearances: 16th time
(1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1986: 8th overall – 5th/10th
1987: 5th overall – 2nd/9th
1988: 7th overall – 8th/7th
1990: 10th overall - 10th/8th
1991: 4th overall - 6th/1st
1992: 4th overall – 4th/5th
1993: Winners overall – 5th/2nd
1994: 6th overall – 2nd/9th
1995: 3rd overall – 2nd/5th
2000: 7th overall – 7th/7th
2002: 2nd overall – 2nd/3rd
2003: 3rd overall – 3rd/3rd 
2004: 2nd overall – 3rd/3rd
2005: 4th overall – 3rd/7th
2006: Winners overall – 1st/3rd

All performances have been directed by Frans Violet.

Own Choice works used:
1986: Fantasy for Brass Band
1987: Pageantry
1988: The Year of the Dragon
1990: Frontier
1991: Variations on an Enigma
1992: Partita
1993: Variations on an Enigma
1994: Harmony Music
1995: Sea Pictures 
2000: Between the Moon and Mexico
2002: …Dove Descending
2003: …Dove Descending
2004: Montage
2005: Music of the Spheres
2006: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Best Performance: Winners 1993
Last Year: Winners

How can Willebroek better themselves this year then? Without doubt they are one of the very best brass bands in the whole of Europe, but they have the habit at this contest of creeping up on the outside to take the title from more fancied runners.

They certainly did that in Plymouth in 1993 and they did it again somewhat last year in Belfast too where although they performed admirably and with slick professionalism they never really set the contest on fire on either their set work or own choice selection. Perhaps that is the secret to success that others should try and copy then. Qualified to defend their title, although they also won the Belgian Nationals too late last year amid registration problems for others.

Lots of fantastic players around the stand and a quite inspirational MD at the helm if they really hit top form then they could well be favourites to retain their title as they are a formidable outfit when running on all cylinders. The record suggests they will be there or thereabouts once more and don't bet against them sneaking in under the radar once more.

Conductor:

Frans VioletFrans Violet was born in 1954. At the age of 8, he started musical studies at the Music Academies of Boom and Willebroek.

He graduated at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp gaining first prices and diplomas for solfège, trumpet, piano and chamber music. In 1972 he started his professional career as a trumpet soloist in the "Muntschouwburg" (Brussels opera). After a few years he joined the Symphonic Orchestra of the Belgian Radio and Television.

His love for brass band music was behind his decision in 1984 to leave all orchestral work behind him and to concentrate on teaching. Since then Frans Violet has given full attention to BBW and to his pupils at the Music Academy of Willebroek. In 1990 he was appointed professor at the Lemmens Institute of Leuven for the course "HAFABRA" (Wind band - Fanfare band and brass band) and in 1993 he started a course for soft brass instruments at the Royal Music Conservatoire of Antwerp. 


Switzerland flagBrass Band Treize Etoiles
Switzerland
Conductor:
Geo-Pierre Moren

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Patrick Vergeres
Principal Euphonium: Sebastien Heritier
Principal Trombone: Bertrand Moren
Soprano: Manuel Cathoblaz
Flugel: Claude Romailler
Horn: Jocelyne Moren
Baritone: Gilles Rocha
Eb Tuba: Francois Fournier
Bb Tuba: Philippe Juilland
Percussion: Nicolas Sauthier

4BR Ranking: 31

European Appearances: 12th time
(1979, 1980, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1979: 4th overall – 6th/5th
1980: 3rd overall – 2nd/5th
1984: 9th overall – 5th/13th
1987: 9th overall – 9th/8th
1988: 9th overall – 7th/10th
1990: 4th overall – 3rd/8th
1994: 8th overall – 7th/8th
1999: 3rd overall – 3rd/5th
2001: 3rd overall – 2nd/2nd
2002: 5th overall – 6th/5th
2005: 6th overall – 7th/4th

Geo Pierre Moren conducted between 1979 and 1988, then gave way to Richard Evans for 1990 and 1994. Peter Parkes was at the helm for 1999, 2001 and 2002, before the original MD returned for 2005 and 2007.

Own choice works used:
1979: John O'Gaunt
1980: Judges of the Secret Court
1984: James Cook - Circumnavigator
1987: Dances and Arias
1988: Land of the Long White Cloud
1990: Dances and Arias
1994: Partita
1999: Between the Moon and Mexico
2001: Cambridge Variations
2002: Harmony Music
2005: Music of the Spheres

Best Performance: 3rd in 1980, 1999 and 2001
Last Year: DNQ

One of Europe's strongest and most consistent bands of the last decade Treize Etoiles won their place at the 2007 event by winning their National Championship for the tenth time in Montreux last November in comprehensive fashion from rivals, and last year's European runners up Brass Band Fribourg. That should give an indication of the standard of band we are talking about here as on their day they are a force to be reckoned with.

At the turn of the Millennium they were really pushing for the top honours and twice made it to the winners rostrum and they also showed at the Masters in 2006 where they came 5th that they were more than capable of holding their own in a high class field.

Lots of quality around the stand as well as in front of it and they are a band that may have a surprise or two up their sleeves music wise also. They will have done remarkably well to gain another top three place this year but you never know and a Swiss win is long overdue at the contest and would give the EBBA President a fantastic going away present.

Conductor:
Geo-Pierre Moren
Géo-Pierre Moren was born in Vétroz, Valais (Southern Switzerland), where he still lives. He completed his musical studies at the Conservatoires of Sion and Lausanne.

Founder and conductor of Brass Band 13 Etoiles, he also conducts village bands 'La Concordia'  from Vétroz and 'La Perservérante ' from Conthey and, moreover, the B-Band of Brass Band 13 Etoiles.

Géo-Pierre Moren has won numerous contests with his bands, including at least once all contests that exist for Championship section bands in Switzerland. In 2005, with Brass Band 13 Etoiles, he won the 1st World Brass Band Championship, held in Kerkrade.

Beside his work as a conductor, Géo-Pierre Moren is also specialised in the education of brass band musicians and has his own music school in Vétroz – a school from which many Swiss and Valais solo champions are issued. He also gives conducting lessons and is regularly asked to work as an adjudicator for different music competitions.

Géo-Pierre Moren is one of the founders of the Valais Junior Solo and Quartet Championship that was launched in 1995.

In 2000, Géo-Pierre Moren received the 'Prix de la fondation Rünzi' from the State of Valais, as a reward for his musical activities in the region.


Norway flagStavanger
Norway
Conductor:
Allan Withington

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Odin Hagen
Principal Euphonium: Sverre Olsrud
Principal Trombone: Runar Valheim Varnes
Soprano: Espen Westbye
Flugel: Elisabeth Aarrestad
Horn: Sheona White
Baritone: Anne Berit Hansen
Eb Tuba: Oyvind Grong
Bb Tuba: Clive Zwansviniski
Percussion: Anders Rydberg

4BR Ranking: 29

European Appearances: 8th time
(1982, 1985, 1986, 1993, 1996, 2004, 2005, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1982: 5th overall – 8th/ 3rd
1985: 5th overall – 6th/ 2nd
1986: 5th overall – 7th/ 5th
1993: 9th overall – 7th/ 8th
1996: 9th overall – 7th/ 10th 
2004: 10th overall – 9th/10th
2005: 3rd overall – 5th/2nd

Performances in the first three years were directed by K. Larsen in 1982, 1985 and 1986. Richard Evans directed the band in 1993 and Garry Cutt in 1996. Steve Bastable conducted in 2004 and Allan Withington has directed in 2005 and again this year.

Own choice works used:
1982: Fantasy for Brass Band
1985: Dances and Arias
1986: Contest Music
1993: English Heritage
1996: Essence of Time
2004: …Dove Descending
2005: Music of the Spheres

Best Performance: 3rd place overall in 2005
Last Year: DNQ

The form band perhaps? Stavanger come to the Europeans on the back of a thrilling victory at the Norwegian National in Bergen in February where they were well deserved victors in a very high class contest – the fourth time on five years that they had taken their national honours.

That should also give you some idea of the standard they are capable of and some idea that on their day there are more than capable of winning this contest and winning it in some considerable style. They have an abundance of talented individual players in the ranks and perhaps the best MD in the business in front of them too. If they can do what they did in Bergen just a few months ago then watch out.

Not a fantastic record of achievement at the contest over the years with a best of third in 2005. They have sometimes promised much and delivered little at times – notably in Glasgow in 2004, so they will have to be careful not be over confident. They are already at the 2008 contest in their home town, so what are the odds that they can be taking to the stage there as defending European Champions. Worth a bob or two at the bookies.

Conductor:

Allan WithingtonAllan Withington is one of the nicest conductors in the banding world as well as being one of the most successful.  His playing career saw him play Principal Cornet at many of the top bands in the country including Wingates and Fodens, whilst he currently the Principal Trumpet of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. He studied at Salford College under the tuition of Roy Newsome and has also played for the London Symphony Orchestra.

His conducting career really blossomed when he took over the role of Musical Director of the Brighouse and Rastrick Band and in his long association with them he led them to two National titles, three All England Masters titles, a European success and two Yorkshire titles. He was appointed Musical Director of the Williams Fairey band in 2002 and led them to the National title later that year and repeated the feat twelve months later. He is currently the Professional conductor of the Grimethorpe Band who he has already led to Yorkshire and National title successes.

He has lived in Norway for many years and has been one of the most successful conductors in their banding scene leading firstly winning three National 2nd Division titles in a row with Tertnes twice and Krohnengen once between 1984 and 1986 before winning the Elite title in 2002 with Manger and now with Stavanger. The European title has already been won by him with Brighouse & Rastick in 1998.   


Netherlands flagBrass Band De Waldsang
Netherlands
Conductor:
Rieks van der Velde

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ernaline Braaksma
Principal Euphonium: Marco Middelberg
Principal Trombone: Auke Vogelzang
Soprano: Harro de Beer
Flugel: N/K
Horn: Folkert Veenstra
Baritone: Gerben Rouwenhorst
Eb Tuba: Anneke Kuipers
Bb Tuba: Djurre Beek
Percussion: Anne de Jong

4BR Ranking: 91

European Appearances: 17th time
(1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1980: 4th overall – 5th/ 3rd
1981: 3rd overall
1982: 4th overall – 6th/ 4th
1983: 5th overall – 9th/ 3rd
1984: 8th overall – 6th/ 10th
1985: 12th overall – 12th/ 7th
1987: 7th overall – 7th/ 6th
1988: 6th overall – 6th/ 4th
1989: 6th overall – 4th/ 9th
1990: 3rd overall – 5th/ 3rd
1991: 8th overall – 7th/ 8th
1993: 8th overall – 9th/ 5th
1995: 5th overall – 7th/ 2nd
1998: 5th overall – 4th/ 7th
2000: 5th overall – 5th/ 5th
2004: 8th overall – 5th/9th

The first performances were been directed by T. Brouwer from 1980 to 1983. Dirk Lautenbach led the band from 1984 to 1987. B. Ijlstra conducted the band from 1987 to 1989 and since 1990 Rieks van der Velde had directed the band at the contest.

Own choice works used:
1980: James Cook Circumnavigator
1981: Triumphant Rhapsody
1982: John O'Gaunt
1983: Land of the Long White Cloud
1984: Connotations
1985: Blitz
1987: Contest Music
1988: Harmony Music
1989: Year of the Dragon
1990: Cloudcatcher Fells
1991: Harmony Music
1993: Paganini Variations
1995: Diversions on a Bass Theme
1998: Volcano
2000: On Alderney Edge
2004: Harrison's Dream

Best Performance: 3rd in 1981 and 1990
Last Year: DNQ

On of the real trailblazers at the European Championships, De Waldsang really made a mark on their first couple of appearances at the contest. Since then they have been a most consistent band but have yet to find that ability to take their performance up a notch or three to really push for podium honours or even better.

After three years away from the contest though they return after winning the Netherlands Nationals in December last year by beating rivals Brass Band De Bazuin Oenkerk and Soli Brass in a close matched contest in Groningen.

Lots of quality around the stand and a formidable talent at the helm they could well spring a surprise or two, but perhaps a top six place may be the best they can hope for this time around.

Conductor:

Rieks van der VeldeRieks van der Velde was born in 1961 has been the Musical Director of the De Waldsang Band since 1989. In addition to conducting brass bands he is a music teacher and has an extensive catalogue of arrangements and original compositions for brass and wind ensembles.

In his early teens he was a member of the Dutch National Youth Fanfare Orchestra and went to take lessons at the music school in De Waldsang it self. It was here that he was identified as an euphonium player of talent and became a member of the De Waldsang Band.

He studied euphonium and conducting at the "Muziek Pedagogische Academie" in Leeuwarden. As a conductor he is one of the most successful in the Netherlands with seven National titles to his credit as well as leading twelve bands to National titles in the Dutch Lower Sections.


Scotland flagScottish Co-op
Scotland
Conductor:
Allan Ramsay

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Principal Euphonium: Alison Bonnar
Principal Trombone: Paul Kiernan
Soprano: Caroline Tennant
Flugel: Andrea Casey
Horn: Rachel Love
Baritone: Graham Dow
Eb Tuba: Jonathon Gawn
Bb Tuba: Andy Smith
Percussion: Derek Love

4BR Ranking: 7

European Appearances: 12th time
(1979, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1979: 7th overall – 7th/ 6th
1989: 2nd overall – 3rd/ 2nd
1990: 5th overall – 4th/ 7th
1991: 9th overall – 5th /9th
1992: 7th overall – 7th/7th
1997: 2nd overall – 3rd/2nd
1998: 6th overall - 5th/6th
1999: 6th overall – 9th/ 2nd
2001: 4th overall – 5th/5th
2002: 8th overall – 8th/ 7th
2004: 3rd overall – 2nd/4th

Performances have been directed by Nigel Boddice in 1979, Richard Evans in 1989 and John Hudson in 1990 and 1991. Stephen Sykes conducted in 1992 and Howard Snell directed the band in 1997, 1998 and 1999. Ray Farr conducted the band in 2002 whilst Dr Nicholas Childs directed in 2001 and again in 2004. Allan Ramsay makes his debut with the band at the contest this year.

Own choice works used:
1979: Triumphant Rhapsody
1989: Dances and Arias
1990: Contest Music
1991: Partita
1992: English Heritage
1997: Pageantry
1998: Connotations
1999: Masquerade
2001: Harrison's Dream
2002: Revelation
2004: …Dove Descending

Best Performance: 2nd in 1989 and 1997
Last Year: DNQ

A proud record of achievement at the European contest over the years for Scottish Co-op, but unlike their 1990 Great Britain National Championship triumph they are yet to become the first Scottish band to bring the coveted European trophy back over Hadrian's Wall.

Whether that will occur in 2007 we will have to wait and see, but one thing is for certain, they will have to up their form from their most recent contest appearance at the Regional Championships in Dundee where they failed to reach London and subsequently failed to put themselves into the frame for Stavanger either in 2008 unless they win here.

On their day though they are a formidable band, coming third here in 2004 as well as picking up prizes at the British Open and winning the 2005 Masters. That shows theirs class when they are on top form and with plenty of top class players in the ranks and a fine MD at the helm they should be confident of doing well here again – although coming within a hairsbreadth of winning the title as they did in the glory years of Snell, Webster and Mead in 1997 in London may just be beyond them this time around.

Conductor:  

Allan RamsayAllan Ramsay is regarded as one of Scotland's most successful conductors in recent years.

His formative musical tuition began in the Salvation Army at Govan Citadel and he went on to become the principal cornet of the then CWS (Glasgow) Band and in 1990 became the first, and to date the only, Scottish band to win the coveted National Championship title in the Royal Albert Hall.

In the mid 1990's Allan was appointed as musical director to the Kirkintilloch Band and for the next seven years, led the band through the most successful period in their history in terms of contest successes, culminating in winning the Grand Shield title in 2001.

Further successes followed with Unison Kinneil, Newtongrange and Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Bands.  


Sweden flagGöteborg
Sweden
Conductor:
Dr Nicholas Childs

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Tone Fossum Olsson
Principal Euphonium: Patrick Randefalk
Principal Trombone: Jimmy Olson
Soprano: Mattias Ekberg
Flugel: Filip Draglund
Horn: Alice Fagerdal
Baritone: Lina Wallberg
Eb Tuba: Maria Molund
Bb Tuba: Henrik Gyzander
Percussion: Andreas Roslund

4BR Ranking: 60

European Appearances: 6th time
(1992, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1992: 12th overall – 8th/ 12th
1993: 11th overall – 11th/ 11th
1998: 8th overall – 9th/ 4th
2000: 6th overall – 9th/ 4th
2004: 9th overall – 10th/5th

All performances have been directed by Bengt Eklund up to 2004. Nicholas Childs conducts this year.

Own choice works used:
1992: Cloudcatcher Fells
1993: Trittico
1998: Connotations
2000: Paganini Variations
2004: Montage

Best Performance: 6th in 2000
Last Year: DNQ

In many ways this will be both a celebration and a remembrance for the band at these championships. The death of their founder Bengt Eklund earlier this year and his recent funeral means that emotions will surely be running high as the band take to the stage at Symphony Hall honour bound to perform in his memory. The music will be the one thing that matters not the result – just as he would have appreciated.

Over the years the band has done well enough here coming as high as sixth when the contest was last in Birmingham in 2000 but as low as ninth on their last appearance on Scotland in 2004. They certainly have the personnel around the stands and in Dr Nicholas Childs, perhaps the one man who can bring control over the emotions yet still allow the heartfelt passion to flow through.

Whatever the future holds for this fine band of musicians who have represented their country so brilliantly over the years we will have to wait and see, but on the weekend their thoughts will surely be somewhere else.

Conductor:

Nick ChildsDr. Nicholas Childs has achieved the highest international reputation as a performer, teacher/clinician, conductor, interpreter and advocate of new music, and producer of recordings. Initial success came as a euphonium soloist, performing in many of the world's most famous concert halls with the most prestigious bands and orchestras.

In recent years he has premiered with Black Dyke Band new works by leading British composers. He has pursued a series of pace-setting recordings of new music, including releases of Michael Ball, Arthur Butterworth, Peter Graham and Wilfred Heaton. With Black Dyke Band as Band-in-Residence at the RNCM, he has been able to promoted several BBC Radio 3 broadcasts.

Having first been trained in the Tredegar Junior Band, he continues to give important emphasis to the development of the brass band movement. He has served as the director of The NYBB of Denmark, and has gained national championships in France, Norway, Wales and Scotland. He has won three National Championships of Great Britain, 1999 with Fodens, and 2001 and 2004 with Black Dyke who he has won the British Open in both 2005 and 2006. His company, Doyen Recordings, in cooperation with SP&S, Ltd., maintains the largest catalogue of brass band recordings.  


England flagFodens Richardson
England
Conductor:
Garry Cutt

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Principal Trombone: John Barber
Soprano: Alan Wycherley
Flugel: Helen Fox
Horn: George Thackray
Baritone: Helen Tyler
Eb Tuba: Les Neish
Bb Tuba: Tony Hobson
Percussion: Mark Landon

4BR Ranking: 6

European Appearances: 5th time
(1991, 1992, 1993, 2000)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1991: 2nd overall – 1st/5th
1992: Winners overall – 1st/1st
1993: 6th overall – 2nd/10th
2000: 3rd overall – 4th/3rd

The performances of 1991 – 1993 were directed by Howard Snell, whilst Nicholas Childs directed the band in 2000. Garry Cutt conducts the band in 2007.

Own choice works used:
1991: English Heritage
1992: Year of the Dragon
1993: Paganini Variations
2000: …Dove Descending

Best Performance: Winners in 1992
Last Year: DNQ

If Fodens play to the top of their form then look out – the European title will be heading back to Sandbach for the first time since the memorable 1992 triumph in Cardiff. Amazingly for a band of this stature this will only be the fifth time they have competed here and the first since 2000 when they could only manage third place as National Champions at Symphony Hall under the baton of Nicholas Childs, but their record is a fine one with three winning performances out of four in their first two years alone.

In 1993 they may have thought they had won again, but fate (and Willebroek) played a part and somehow they slumped to come sixth overall when the title was within their grasp.

This year they return after winning the inaugural English Nationals in Salford on a balmy day last year and if they perform like that again then they could well be booking their place in Stavanger too. Fantastic players around the stands with bags of experience too (principal Cornet Mark Wilkinson was on the end when they last won the title 15 years ago) and a top notch MD who will know exactly what is required of his band to triumph here over the two disciplines. 2007 has started well too and you get the feeling that the desire is there to emulate former glories. It could well start here.

Conductor:

CuttSince graduating in the early 1980's, Garry Cutt has developed a reputation as one of the banding worlds most respected and successful conductors.

His 17 year relationship with the Marple Band resulted in many contest success: A hat-trick of 4th prizes and their British Open victory of 1996 are some of the most remarkable results in the history of the contest. This was Garry's second "Open" title, having previously guided the Kennedy's Swinton Band to their 1989 win and at the same time, becoming the youngest winning conductor in the competition's history and the very first recipient of The Mortimer Maestro Award.

He was appointed Musical Director to the Grimethorpe Colliery Band in 1991, a position he held for twelve years. The phenomenal impact of the film "Brassed-Off" resulted in Garry leading the band on sell-out tours, notably Australia on three occasions. Other overseas trips have included Japan, New Zealand. Hong Kong and in April 2003, witnessed band and conductor, make their debut in New York's Carnegie Hall! He has an enviable reputation on the concert platform, cemented by six victories at Spennymoor's Brass in Concert.

In 2003, he was awarded the Iles Medal by The Worshipful Company of Musicians in recognition of his services to the Brass Band Movement. His appointment to the position of Musical Director of the Fodens Richardson Band has also resulted in many successes including the British Open of 2004 and the inaugural English National Championships in 2006.
Garry continues to be Associate Conductor of The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, working closely with Elgar Howarth, something of which he is very proud. 


Belgium flagKortrijk Brass Band
Belgium
Conductor:
Lieven Maertens

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Yannick Lips
Principal Euphonium: Piet Callens
Principal Trombone: Filip Verbuere
Soprano: Arnaud Peru
Flugel: Lies Dalewyn
Horn: Peter Maertens
Baritone: Karel Verraes
Eb Tuba: Jan Declercq
Bb Tuba: Alex Pliiez
Percussion: Magdalena Bens

4BR Ranking: 121

European Appearances: 4th time
(1979, 1985, 1989, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1979: 10th overall – 10th/7th
1985: 13th overall – 8th/14th
1989: 9th overall – 9th/7th

The first performance of 1979 was conducted by W. Roelstraate. Lieven Martens conducted in 1985, 1989 and this year.

Own choice works used:
1979: Pageantry
1985: Symphony of Marches
1989: Spectrum

Best Performance: 9th in 1989
Last Year: DNQ

As we have said in our introduction to the contest, there cannot be more of a surprised band coming to the European contest this year than Kortrijk. They came a lowly 5th at their own National Championships late last year, but given that the three bands above them (Willebroek won the contest and had already qualified as defending European champions) all had some sort of registration problems that could not be overcome after they had played, then the invitation to represent their country as the second band from Belgium was accepted.

It is nice to see the band back at the contest however as they were first here as long ago as 1979 when they came 10th.  A few years later they returned in 1985 and again in 1989 when they came 9th overall. It's been a long time coming but they are back again.

What form they bring with them we don't know but they have an experienced line up of players and a talented and very experienced man in the middle. That should count for something although it would be one heck of a surprise of they can carry away some silverware too.

Conductor:

MaertensLieven Maertens started his musical studies at the Academy of Music in Kortrijk and at the age of 14, he entered the Royal College of Music in Ghent. During his time at college he received several first prizes (for trombone, amongst others) and a Higher Diploma in Chamber Music and studied conducting with Guy Duyk.

As a trombone player, he had the opportunity to work with musicians like Frederik Devreese, Ferdinand Terby, Jean Jakus and Theo Mertens, culminating in 1979 when he took part in the International Music Contest in Genève.

In his professional career, he is a member of the Royal Navy Band and is also active as a teacher at the Academy for Music at Veurne. His first steps as a conductor were with the "Koninklijke Volksharmonie Sint-Jozef" from Menen. In 1982 he took over as conductor of the Kortrijk and has worked with mnay leading bands both in Europe and the UK. In 1990, he became the conductor at the "Koninklijke Harmonie Sint-Cecilia" from Kruishoutem, and in 1991 the "Koninklijke Harmonie Onder Ons" from Wervik. In 1990, Lieven also received the First Prize for conducting at the Royal College of Music in Brussels from Jan Segers. 


France flagBrass Band Aeolus
France
Conductor:
Bastien Stil

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Clement Saunier
Principal Euphonium: Sebastien Stein
Principal Trombone: Romain Simon
Soprano: Olivier Voisin
Flugel: Charly Villoteau
Horn: Arnaud Laporte
Baritone: Nicolas Desvois
Eb Tuba: Benoit Meurin
Bb Tuba: Sylvain Dutouquet
Percussion: Laurent Fraich

4BR Ranking: 134

European Appearances: 2nd time
(2005, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
2005: 9th overall – 8th/8th

Own choice works used:
2005: Essence of Time

Best Performance: 9th in 2005
Last Year: DNQ

The France champion return this year and after the excellent impression they made in 2005 in the top section they will surely be looking to continue their improvement here. They were certainly not out of place on their last appearance even though they ended up in last place and both their performances of the set work and their own choice selection really had a quality of about it.

The French brass banding movement is growing slowly but with solid foundations, and Brass Band Aeolus are right at the cutting edge. Lots of players with professional or semi professional experience and a very talented MD at the helm they should once again impress although it will take something else besides for them to make an impression on the results table.

Conductor:

Bastien StilBastien Stil made made his debut at the age of 4 and went on to be taught by Pierre Duvauchelle at Rouen and gaining a Diploma aged 12 at the Académie Léopold Bellan.

At 13 he commenced tuition at the saxhorn at the Ecole Nationale de Musique du Havre with Christian Maillard. He also studied the tuba with Philippe Legris of the  Conservatoire du Xème of Paris, in the analysis and history of music and orchestra direction at CNR de Rouen. He discovered the brass band Brass-Band Normandie and played at the Académie d'été du national Jugend Brass-Band de Suisse under the direction of  Edward Gregson. 

He has played tuba with Fernand Lelong, Gérard Bucquet and Bernard Neuranter, and chamber music with Jens Mac Manama, composition with Bernard de Crépy, analysis with Françoise Rieunier, History of music with Sylvie Pébrier and orchestral direction with  Sébastien Billard and Claire Levacher.

He is a member of l'Orchestre des Gardiens de la Paix de Paris and a visiting professor of the tuba at the tuba at l'école Nationale de Musique du Havre. In 2001 he obtained the Diplôme de Formation Supérieure du CNSM de Paris.

He is currently the tuba player with  l'Orchestre Léonard de Vinci – Opéra de Rouen and regularly performs with ensembles such as l'Orchestre de Paris, l'Orchestre national de France, l'Opéra de Paris. 


austriaOberoesterreich Brass Band
Austria
Conductor:
Hans Buchegger

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Hans Gansch
Principal Euphonium: Harald Buchner
Principal Trombone: Helmut Windischbauer
Soprano: Florian Klingler
Flugel: Thomas Beiganz
Horn: Günther Reisegger
Baritone: Franz Wachlmayr
Eb Tuba: Walter Baldinger
Bb Tuba: Walter Krempl
Percussion: Gerhard Baier

4BR Ranking: Outside top 200

European Appearances: 4th time (1st time in Championship Section)
(2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
2004: 4th place in B Section
Set work – "Airs and Dances" plus own choice selections
2005: Winners of B Section
Set work - "Match – Rhythm" plus own choice selections
2006: Winners of B Section
Set work – ‘Little Christmas' plus own choice selections

BucheggerThe Austrian brass band scene is one that is continuing to develop with the original trend set by Brass Band Frosch Hall who won the B Section of the Championship on no fewer than four occasions.

Oberoesterreich Brass Band is a University Brass Ensemble and was established in 2003 as part of a "Fixed Installation" course at the University of Music and Art in Graz. They seek to continue to develop the brass band in the future and after their superb performance in winning the B Section in Groningen and Belfast last year, it seems brass banding in Austria has a very healthy future.

Their debut performance in Glasgow hinted as much, but in 2005 they took their level of performance close to that found in the Championship Section and in 2006 delivered what many people felt was a performance worthy of true championship status. Their Principal Cornet player, Hans Gansch was perhaps the star performer of the whole European weekend, whilst the band was also excellent value for their victory.

With numerous professional (the principal cornet is a former principal trumpet at the Vienna Philharmonic and the soprano is currently plying his trade with the Munich Philharmonic to name but two) and semi professional performers in their ranks the standard of musicianship is as high as anything you are likely to hear all weekend, whist they are conducted with exceptional musicianship by Hannes Buchegger.

Whether or not the discipline of two works will suit them fully will be another matter as it has been widely reported that although happy to compete in the B Section the players and conductor felt the rather suffocating musical experience of working solely on two pieces of music for competition was somewhat against their performing ethos. Whatever the outcome, they will surely deliver performances of the utmost professionalism and musicality. 
 

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