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2011 4BR Awards — Conductor of the Year

Which conductor made the biggest impression on the collective consciousness in 2011? There were hundreds of them plying their trade for certain.

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4barsrest awardsThere were plenty of conducting performances to savour during 2011 – even though not all of them resulted in steering their bands to victory. 

Winning a brass band contest is not just about the aesthetics of the conducting trade - some of the most musically satisfying interpretations came from displays of no great ethereal beauty. Winning ugly is just as effective.

Our nominations certainly didn’t have to resort to that method too often during the year, whilst there was plenty more who impressed with their baton work too.

Our nominations for consideration are: David King, Peter Sebastian Szilvay, Ivan Meylemans, Erik Janssen and David Johnson – all who seemed to have that little ‘extra’ about themselves this year.

sZILVAYPeter Sebastian Szilvay

Hard to think of any other conductor of such engrossing brilliance in 2011 – or any other year for that matter. 

There was something almost visceral, feral even, about him – a feline boldness that encapsulated an ability to inspire and influence every last note that emanated from his players.
Without him Manger was still a great band – with him, they were projected into a totally different sphere of musical authority.

KingDavid King

Back to his very best in 2011 – and that means back to being a force of contesting nature. 

He seemed revitalised to the point of re-invention during the season. 

Controlled Eikanger almost at molecular level to win the Norwegian National title, whilst he held a spellbound audience in the palm of his hand like an evangelical preacher to lead Brighouse to passion filled wins at the Yorkshire Area and again at the Royal Albert Hall.

In 2011 it was a form of brass band conducting genius that almost defied explanation.

mELYLEMANSIvan Meylemans

Here was a conductor who absolutely reeked of class in 2011. 

Every time we got to see him in action you were left marvelling not just at his technique, but also by the way he was able to mould performances of such cultured elegance from his ensembles – all without ever once drawing the spotlight away from his performers.

He led Brass Band Nord –Limburgse to the Belgian Nationals in 2010 and repeated the feat in 2011, whilst he drew two outstanding performances from the band at the European Championships in Montreux – including an engrossing account of the set work, ‘Audivi Media Nocte’. 

The guy is one heck of a talent.

JohnsonDavid Johnson 

Hard to think of a conductor whose sheer force of musical personality shone as brightly through his band’s performances in 2011 as this engaging musician.

The Aldbourne MD was inspirational – leading his band to victory at the West of England Area Championship, the Senior Trophy in Blackpool and the First Section National Finals in Cheltenham.

That all three wins came on nuts and bolts brass band arrangements of overtures was neither here or there: 

All were fashioned with a sense of style, nuance and risk taking that thrilled your pants off. 

And in brass band contesting that’s a sure fire recipe for success.

Erik JanssenErik Janssen

Watch out for this conductor and whichever band he takes in future. 

He led Brass Band Schoonhoven with such commanding authority during 2011, that they are now one of the very best ensembles in the whole of European banding.

They startled many a hardnosed critic at the European Championship in Montreux, with a brace of performances in coming fourth that combined a forensic approach to detail allied to a free flowing sense of musicality.

The Euro Brass title was added with a clear seven point stamp of authority a month later, and they rounded off their year with a commanding defence of their Netherlands National title. 

A very fine band had been taken to a completely new level of excellence by an MD of the highest class.

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Black Dyke Band - Mirfield Parish Church

Thursday 22 March • Mirfield Parish Church, 38 Church Lane, Mirfield WF14 9HX

The Fairey Band - Ensembles from Bramhall High School

Friday 23 March • Bramhall High School. Seal Road. Stockport SK72JT

Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band

Friday 23 March • Regent Hall. (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. London W1C 2DJ (opposite RESERVED) W1C 2DJ

The Brighouse & Rastrick Band - Boobs & Brass at Huddersfield Town Hall

Saturday 24 March • Huddersfield Town Hall. Corporation St,. Huddersfield HD1 2TA

Croydon Citadel Band - The International Staff Band of The Salvation Army

Saturday 24 March • The Salvation Army. Booth Rd. Croydon. CR0 1XY CR0 1XY

Hitchin Band

March 20 • BASS TROMBONE VACANCY - Hitchin Band (promoted to Championship as of 2019) are looking for a bass trombone player to fill our vacancy. We are a friendly and sociable band with a busy and varied concert programme throughout the year.

Milnrow Band

March 20 • 2nd EUPHONIUM and 2 FIRST CLASS CORNET PLAYERS. We have immediate vacancies for a 2nd Euphonium & 2 Cornet players (positions negotiable). We rehearse Mon/Thur 8pm-10pm in our own bandroom in Milnrow, situated just off J21 M62 and accessible via Metrolink.

Amesbury Town Band

March 20 • Players of any standard are always warmly welcomed especially some more solo cornets and a spare percussionists to help out existing players. We don't contest, so feel free to drop in, even if you just fancy a blow or want to try another instrument.

Neil Samuel