There were many fine conducting triumphs and achievements that made the news on 4BR during the past twelve months, but none perhaps that came in such a short space of time than that of Jan Muller at the Swiss National Championships in Montreux in November.
In the space of just five hours, Jan led Musik Frohsinn Oberburg to third place in the Third Division, Brass Band Berner Oberland to victory in the Second Division and Brass Band Emmental to second place in the First Division.
"I have to admit it was a little unreal," Jan admitted when speaking to 4BR. "I was very fortunate to conduct three excellent bands who all played very well on the day, so to come away with three top prizes means that all the credit should go to them."
Jan's first success of the weekend at the Montreux Music & Convention Centre came with Musik Frohsinn Oberburg on Philip Harper's 'The Kingdom of Dragons', as they just missed out on successfully defending their Third Division title.
"I've been associated with the band for 10 years now, and although we don't enter every National contest we have enjoyed a number of successes.
I started conducting them in my second year of studies at the Bern University of the Arts, so we have grown up together, so this result meant a great deal once more."
However, a couple of hours later Jan added a second success to his CV as he directed Brass Band Berner Oberland Junior to victory in the Second Division on a new work 'Mastermind 2.0' by Cedric Fuhrer.
"It was the sixth time I've conducted the band and it was the first National success since 2004, so you can imagine what a great celebration we enjoyed," the 31 year old music teacher told 4BR. "It was a very special night!"
His final success of the day came in the mammoth First Division where he led Brass Band Emmental to their best result at the contest since 2002.
"We've been working together for two years now and we continue to make excellent progress together," he added. "'Blitz' was a very difficult test-piece, but the players worked so hard and gave a performance of such merit. The standard in the First Division in Switzerland is very high, so to come second was something to very proud of."
Yet more success
Not surprisingly Jan is now looking forward to 2018 and to the possibility of yet more contest success.
"I hope so," he said cautiously. "Although conducting three bands meant that I didn't have a single day off during the month leading up to the Swiss Nationals, I enjoyed every minute of it. I'm fortunate that Oberburg and Emmental rehearse in the same hall and Berner Oberland isn't too far from where I live."
I was very fortunate to conduct three excellent bands who all played very well on the day, so to come away with three top prizes means that all the credit should go to themJan Muller
Eager to start
He added: "With Oberland Juniors taking part in the European Youth Championship and with a busy schedule for me professionally with my involvement with the Altophonium Quartet and the Swiss Alphorn Trio as well as with Emmental and Oberburg, I'm already eager to start 2018.
However, I would love to be able to experience conducting abroad more often and especially in the UK. To gain success there on the contest stage would be something I would love to experience in the future."