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Masters Brass claims annual University of Salford Ensemble prize

The inventive brass and vocal ensemble Masters Brass has won the prestigious University of Salford Ensemble Competition.

Salford University
  The University of Salford award was won by Phonics Brass

The University of Salford recently held its prestigious annual Ensemble Competition sponsored by the Geneva Group.

An adjudication panel of Dr. Brett Baker, Tom Davoren and recently retired Principal Director of Music of the Royal Air Force, Duncan Stubbs, were presented with wide a variety of student ensembles including brass, wind and chamber choir.

High quality

In what was a high quality competition, an inventive brass and vocal presentation from The Masters Ensemble brass group claimed the main award, closely followed Phonics Brass, the contemporary brass and narrator group The Darren Gibson Ensemble and the tuba quartet, Tubas of the Apocalypse.

The 'Best Arrangement' prize went to MA student and Black Dyke cornet player Ryan Coates for his version of the Leonard Cohen classic 'Hallelujah'.

Difficult decision

With the competitors showing a level of innovative musical thinking behind their presentations, Tom Davoren told 4BR that it proved to be a difficult decision picking a winner.

"It was. The competition continues to provide a great opportunity for students to showcase their composing, conducting, arranging and organisational skills — and they never disappoint us.

This year we were presented with a wide selection of original and arranged music, with some really creative ideas explored in both presentation and pairing traditional ensembles with pop style vocals and percussion."

The competition continues to provide a great opportunity for students to showcase their composing, conducting, arranging and organisational skills — and they never disappoint usTom Davoren


He added: "We are very grateful to Geneva Group who have supported this event for the past three years and to their representatives Robin Winspear and Simon Miller who presented the certificates and cash prizes."

The winning ensemble will now have their name written on the honours boards lining the corridor walls of Salford's famous Peel Hall.


An earlier report contained the wrong information given to 4BR by the competition organisers. This has now been rectified.


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Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator.