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Belgian checkmate for Seaman

Nigel Seaman recently took the helm to help the Kortrijk Band on their appearance at the Belgian Nationals.



Nigel Seaman recently took a trip across the English Channel to enjoy a spot of guest conducting with the Kortrijk Band in Belgium.


Nigel was invited to conduct Kortrijk at the recent Belgian National Campionships. The test piece this year was ‘Checkmate’ by Arthur Bliss and Nigel’s symphonic background convinced the band to invite him over as they prepared to do battle with reigning champions Willebroek.

Fantastic week

A spokesperson told 4BR: "It turned out to be a fantastic week for both the band and conductor. Nigel’s interpretation of the piece was spot on. Five rehearsals of hard working later, the band was ready to bring a high quality performance on Sunday at the Nationals in Brussels."

Everyone was so welcoming, generous and hard working. I’ve made some great new friends over there and hope I can return to help them out again in the not too distant futureNigel Seaman

Good feeling

They added: "Although we were a bit disappointed because of some intonation and ensemble, the overall picture the band delivered was a good one. It sure left an impression on the audience, who put Kortrijk amongst the contenders, although the jury put us in sixth place. It wasn't really the result we hoped for, but musically the week with Nigel left the band with a good feeling."

French visit

Kortrijk lies just a few miles away from the French border and this gave Nigel the opportunity to visit the Nord-pas-de-Calais Band to rehearse Martin Ellerby’s ‘Malcolm Arnold Variations’ on the Saturday morning.

Nigel won this year’s Master’s contest in Cambridge with Desford and the NPDC band were pleased he was able to fit in the workshop on the work they have selected as their own-choice piece for the French Nationals in January.


Nigel also gave a tuba masterclass on Wednesday in the Kortrijk Conservatoire and had a visit to the Belgian Navy Band with Kortrijk’s resident conductor, Lieven Maertens on Friday.

Nigel told 4BR: "I had a wonderful week with Kortrijk. Everyone was so welcoming, generous and hard working. I’ve made some great new friends over there and hope I can return to help them out again in the not too distant future."


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Brett Baker

BSc (Hons), ARCM, PG Dip
Rath clinician, conductor, teacher, adjudicator, editor