The top 10 - 10 Most Influential People in the Brass Band Movement


We first produced our list in 2002, but who are the 10 most influential people around in the movement as we enter 2005, and have any or all of the class of 2002 survived or have some fallen away?

In 2002 4BR produced a list of whom we thought were the 10 most influential people currently involved in the brass band movement. It was an eclectic list of the great and the good; administrators, promoters, businessmen, conductors and media people who we though were the real movers and shakers of 2002.

Nearly three years later, the brass band movement has undergone a great deal of change, and we thought we had better have another look at that list and see whether it was as relevant today as it was then, and whether or not those ten personalities are still at the top of the ‘A List' of influence or have some been replaced by other up and coming forces.

For the record, these were the people in 2002 that were in our top 10:

Markus Bach – President of the European Brass Band Association
John Rogers – Managing Director of Boosey and Hawkes
Philip Morris – Contest Promotor and owner of the British Bandsman newspaper
Trevor Caffull – Managing Director of Salvationist Publishing and Supplies Ltd
Nicholas Childs – Conductor and Brass Band CD producer
Philip Biggs – Contest Promotor
David King – Conductor and Head of Performance Studies at Salford University
Bram Gay – Managing Director of Novello Music Publishers
Paul Hindmarsh – Radio 3 Producer
David Stanley – Chairman of the British Federation of Brass Bands

> Read the full articles from 2002

So are these ten still the most influential in the movement? This is whom we thought (again in no particular order) are the top ten as we enter 2005. 

alan mclarenAlan McLaren – President of the Scottish Brass Band Association

Watch out for this man – and we mean that in the nicest possible way. Alan McLaren has resurrected the moribund body of the Scottish banding movement and has done it in such a way that he is providing the blueprint for all other UK associations to follow if they are not only to survive, but also to flourish in the 21st century.

A very intelligent and focused man (he is a lawyer) who has clear views on how the movement should be run in Scotland and elsewhere, and those views make a great deal of common sense when you hear them in detail. He could well become one of the defining administrators for the movement not only in Scotland, but the UK and Europe if his talents and expertise can be harnessed fully. 

Trevor CaffullTrevor Caffull – Managing Director of Salvationist Publishing and Supplies  

There are some people who are wary of the involvement  of the Salvation Army in the secular brass band movement, but at a time when private companies are certainly not looking at putting money into helping promote brass bands, SP&S are – and in a very substantial way.

One of the main reasons for this, is Trevor Caffull, who has a very clear and well defined approach to the benefits that his company can gain from that involvement, but who also has a deep understanding of the secular brass band movement from which those decisions are then made.  Those decisions have safeguarded a number of high profile events and have also seen an investment in the amount and quality of brass CD output, so whilst some may query their intentions, you cannot question their commitment.

Philip BiggsPhilip Biggs – Concert Promotor and entrepreneur

2004 has certainly not been the greatest of years for the promoter of the All England Masters Championships, and soon to be called ‘International' Masters. The decision to tinker with the contest lost him a number of banding allies and it will be interesting to see if the ‘new' Masters will succeed.

However, you can't fault the man for trying, and his entrepreneurial spirit is certainly alive and well with the launch of the well received ‘Brass Herald' and his continued involvement in high profile events such as the forthcoming RNCM series and the Great Northern Brass Arts Festival. Not quite as influential as he was in 2002, but still an important figure on the banding scene.  

Markus BachMarkus Bach – President of the European Brass Band Association

In 2002, Markus Bach was perhaps the most influential man in European banding, but although that is possibly no longer the case following the events of the EBBA/Besson break up, he remains a most influential figure in the wider brass band movement.

He has overseen the development of the European Championship into a true International Music Festival, and that will surely remain his greatest achievement. However, the time may have come for younger figures to take over the organisational mantle, and whilst he may not in future formulate the direction of European banding he will surely remain as the ‘father figure' for many more years to come. 

Philip MorrisKapitol Promotions Ltd – Concert and Contest promoters

The duo of Philip Morris and Niki Bland at Kapitol are now the people who hold the future of two of our most important contests in their hands – the National Championships of Great Britain and the Lower Section National Finals, as well as working in close partnership with the eight Regional Committees.

Many are sceptical of a private company running so-called ‘National' events, but truth be told – who else was going to do it? What they do, they do very well and even though the European farce may be something they could well do without, they are set to be a most influential voice in the way our major contests are run for years to come.  

John RogersJohn Rogers – Managing Director of Besson Musical Instruments Ltd  

John Rogers was something of the quiet man of influence in 2002, but in the intervening years he has becoming the driving force behind the restructuring of Besson which has not only seen them become an integral part of the newly formed Music Group, but has put a once ailing company very much back on a solid and progressive foundation.

His involvement is distancing Besson away from being just a benign philanthropic sponsor of banding events may have been unpopular with traditional brass band lovers, but it has certainly made the movement aware of its own shortcomings and financial responsibilities both at National and European level - and that influence may have far reaching consequences for the movement.

David KingProfessor David King – Conductor and Head of Performing Studies at the University of Salford

Not only does the Australian remain one of the most influential conductors ever seen in the movements history, he also remains one of its most influential developers of musical talent for the future.

His work with the YBS Band and others (most notably Stavanger in recent years) continues to explore new musical territories, yet it is his progressive development of brass band related courses at Salford that will maintain his influence in the banding movement for many years to come. His is the driving force that has made Salford a mecca for young brass performers, and it is this that is possibly his greatest current achievement.   

Nicholas ChildsDr. Nicholas Childs – Conductor and Producer

The Musical Director of the Black Dyke Band remains one of the most influential figures in the brass band movement, despite the sale of his Doyen recording to SP&S Ltd.

The profile of Black Dyke means that they continue to set the agenda in respect to concert and CD recording projects – the vast ‘The Trumpet of the Angels' CD could only have been undertaken by Dyke and the MD's ability to maximise his substantial contacts to bring it to fruition. In addition he remains one of the movements most important producers with links with the BBC in particular of vast importance to maintaining brass band output from the organisation. 

Kenny CrookstonKenneth Crookston – Editor of the British Bandsman newspaper

This is the man who has one of the most important jobs in the banding movement – increasing the readership and enhancing the quality of the iconic publication.

He has a great knowledge of the movement and a hunger and desire to make the newspaper the essential reading that it was for the vast majority of its publication life. It will mean a more direct approach and style, but if he makes it come off it will give the movement a vibrant and powerful voice as well as enhancing the amount of media coverage the movement so desperately needs.

Ulf RosenburgUlf E Rosenburg – President Norwegian BBF and Vice President of EBBA

4BR nominated Ulf E Rosenburg in our ‘Newcomer of the Year' category for a good reason – he is one of the new breed (like Alan McLaren in Scotland) who could very well shape the way in which brass banding develops on a European stage in the next ten years or more.

Like the Scotsman he is an intelligent and focused individual who has now a powerful base of influence both in Norway as President of the Norwegian Brass Band Federation, and now as the Vice President of EBBA. His could be the most important voice directing the future of the European Championships as well as developing closer links between Norwegian and British banding in the future.

That's our top ten then, and a pretty influential lot they are too. We did consider many more people as well, such as Robert Morgan of the BFBB; Dr. Robert Childs at BAYV and the Cardiff College of Music and Drama; James Scott; Bram Gay; Robert Mullholland at the Brass Band World magazine; Alan Jenkins; Professor Edward Gregson at the RNCM; David Read; John Burns of the internet chat room site; Martin Mortimer; Elgar Howarth and many more. And before you ask – we were not vain enough to include ourselves either.

Still, what do you think? Are we right, or have we missed out someone who may be the next big thing in the brass band world? Let us know.


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