2007 Brass in Concert Championships - The Adjudicators


These are in the men out of the box this weekend that need to be impressed.

Music Adjudicators 

RobertsStephen Roberts:

Stephen Roberts received his first school music lessons from Sir Harrison Birtwistle, who encouraged him to take up the French horn and pursue a musical career which embraces many different aspects of the profession. After studying the horn with Alan Civil (at the Royal College of Music) and composition with John Casken and John Joubert (at the University of Birmingham), Stephen co-founded the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble with whom he gave over 2000 concerts in more than 60 countries. 

He was also responsible for most of the ensembles arrangements, which are now played and recorded by brass groups around the world. Although Stephen was brought up as an orchestral player, playing as a freelance with nearly all the orchestras in the U.K., it was not long before he became involved with brass bands. He became musical director of the Jones & Crossland band back in 1983 and achieved considerable success in competitions, winning the Midland Area Contest, The Grand Shield, The Pontins Championship, The Rothman's Entertainment Contest and a prize in the National Finals within his first year of ‘banding'. 

He later became musical director of the The Desford Colliery Band and guest conductor and advisor to numerous others, including most recently, the Isouard Band of Malta. His arrangements also form part of the repertoire of bands around the world and his brass version of Holst's Planets has received universal critical acclaim. 

Lately Stephen has been developing his career as a composer and teacher. He is Professor of Orchestration at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall and visiting lecturer in conducting and orchestration at Birmingham University. His compositions are played by a wide variety of artists and recent performances have included a work for Brass & Steel bands, premiered at the Millennium European Festival of Brass Bands; a Trombone Octet for the 2002 Isleworth Festival; a Wind Octet for the 2003 centenary celebrations for Malvern Concert Club and a chamber work for the Britten Sinfonia for the 2003 Spitalfields Festival which was featured on BBC Radio 3. 

His Concertante for 4 Horns & Orchestra was also broadcast on Radio 3 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Stephen recently wrote and conducted the theme and incidental music for the 6-part Carlton TV series "The Real Brassed Off". This was made into a feature album by E.M.I. records.

Stephen still plays the horn and is also an associate conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra with whom he has performed several of his compositions. He still enjoys arranging and has recently acted as M.D. and arranger for artists as diverse as "Posh" Spice, Leo Sayer, Gerry Marsden (Gerry of the ‘PaceMakers'), Gary Brooker (of Procul Harem), Jasper Carrott and David Stewart (of Eurthymics). 

Stephen has held a variety of teaching posts, including Professor of Horn at the Birmingham Conservatoire, and gives master-classes around the world at academies such as The Royal Academy of Music, The Cairo Conservatoire, The University of Los Angeles, Tokyo Conservatoire and The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.
He has adjudicated in many fields of competition, including brass band and solo contests around Europe and the BBC Young Musician of the Year. He is also a regular external examiner for performance degrees at universities and conservatories.

WhithamGeoffrey Whitham:

Geoffrey Whitham was born in Queensbury, in the heartland of brass banding, and started playing with the Black Dyke Junior Band at the age of 11 on the euphonium. After a year with the band he moved to the Canal Ironworks Band and returned to Black Dyke Mills Band on baritone at the age of 15. He later took over the solo euphonium position at the age of 18 and held this position for 13 years.

As a player he was regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation, whilst his performance as solo euphonium during Black Dyke's win on "Le Roi D'Ys" at the Royal Albert Hall in 1959 has become the stuff of legend. Besides his work in the brass band world he also gained considerable experience playing tenor and bass tuba with some of the country's leading orchestras including the Liverpool Philharmonic, the City of Birmingham and the Halle, where he played under the famous Sir John Barbirolli.

Following this period he took over as bandmaster at Black Dyke and in 1966 he was appointed as Musical Director of the Hammonds Sauce Works Band (the now Yorkshire Building Society) and this was the start of another period of high profile success in the banding world. He was the Musical Director there for 18 years during which the band won prizes at the British Open and many other leading contests in the UK.

After leaving the band he conducted the James Shepherd Versatile Brass for a short period before returning to Hammonds Sauce to direct them for another 5-year period in 1988. During this time the band won the Grand Shield contest, came second at the British Open and became the first band to complete a tour to Lithuania.

Although now semi retired he is stil busy passing on his expertise and advice to numerous bands and players. He was for some time the co – conductor of the "Kings of Brass". In 1979 he was awarded the Iles Medal by the Worshipful Company of Musicians for his outstanding contribution to the brass band movement, and in 1999 he received the All England Masters Dedicated Service Award.

Soloist Prize 

GourlayJames Gourlay:

James Gourlay was born in Scotland and began to play in his local brass band at an early age. He took part in numerous solo competitions at that time and soon became Scottish Champion at junior and open levels. After studying at the Royal College of Music James Gourlay became principal tuba of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra where he remained for four years. There followed posts in the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Orchester der Oper in Zürich where James worked with most of the World's top conductors.

As a soloist and chamber musician, James Gourlay has won international acclaim. He is a former member of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and has toured the World performing concertos with major orchestras and giving countless recitals. He has also broadcast Harrison Birwistle's ‘The Cry of Anubis' with the BBC Philharmonic and has recorded three CD recordings, which cover all of the major works for tuba. James is a featured artist for both the Doyen and Polyphonic labels for whom he has recorded as a soloist and as a conductor of wind and brass bands. He has also recorded the Gregson and Vaughan-Williams concertos for the ASV label.

James Gourlay has always had a strong commitment to new music and has given premières of works by Bingham, Gorb, Gilbert, Lachenmann, Gregson, Horovitz, Sparke, Penderecki and Newton to name but a few.

James's conducting career is as active as his solo playing. He has appeared as a guest conductor with both wind and brass ensembles all over Europe and as far away as Brazil. He is a regular guest conductor of the National Youth Wind Orchestra Great Britain and has conducted all the UK's top Brass Bands. He has made a number of recordings with the RNCM Wind Orchestra and is the Musical Director of the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band.

Currently, James Gourlay continues his lifelong dedication to music education with guest-teaching engagements in Lyon, Weimar, the Eastman School of Music, the Juilliard School and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He is Director of Music at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Scotland. 

Entertainment Adjudicators:

GarasiMichael J Garasi:

Charismatic, trend-setting, progressive and creative, Michael J. Garasi has become one of the most formidable and reputable conductors in the world of brass bands.  Because of his dynamic presence and leadership, both in preparation and performance, Michael J Garasi became the first American brass band director ever to be nominated by 4 Bars Rest for the “Newcomer of the Year” Award in 2004 and as 2006 “Conductor of the Year”.  As an arranger, he won the “Best New Arrangement” Award in the U.S. Open Brass Band Championships in both 2004 and 2005.
Because of the band’s outstanding accomplishments and Mr. Garasi’s innovative contributions to the world of brass banding, the BBCF was invited to perform at the 153rd British Open Brass Band Championships in Birmingham, England in 2005.  In addition, the BBCF performed at the British Open Gala Concert   by special invitation, where Mr. Garasi shared the stage with Mr. Bramwell Tovey in conducting a joint encore performance by the BBCF and the Foden’s Richardson Band.  Under Mr.Garasi's leadership the band returned to the UK in 2006 to perform at the Brass In Concert events held at The Sage, Gateshead. 
Michael J Garasi conducts the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra, is on the conducting faculty of the University of Central Florida, and is one of three conductors with the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra.  He also appears as guest conductor for performances with organizations Including the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Epcot’s Candlelight Processional and the annual Tuba Christmas of Winter Park.
Michael J Garasi studied Percussion and Conducting at the Eastman School of Music and the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he earned Bachelor and Masters Degrees. His continued conducting studies include two summers at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors in Maine, under the tutelage of Michael Jinbo and workshops lead by Pierre Boulez at Carnegie Hall, the famed Dr. Fredrick Fennell, Dr. Roby George, Allan McMurray, and Mr. Joseph Kreines.

RobertsPeter Roberts:

Peter Roberts needs no introduction to brass band audiences all over the World. He has long been regarded as the finest exponent of the soprano cornet in the history of the brass band movement and his talents have seen him perform on all the major contesting and concert stages in the UK, Europe and abroad.

He was born in Grimethorpe in 1950 and his early musical career was linked that famous band, where he played soprano cornet for many years. A miner by trade, he lost his job following the end of the pit closures, but immediately retrained himself in music to gain professional qualifications and an honours degree from Barnsley College under Major Peter Parkes. 

His roll of honour of contesting wins reads like no other – 7 British Open victories, 1 National Championship, 6 European titles, 2 All England Masters titles, 2 British Open Solo Championships, 6 Granada Band of the Year titles, 4 British Open Eb/Bb solo titles, 1 Granada Band of the Year Soloist Award, 1 Swiss Open Soloist award, 2 Brass in Concert Soloist awards, 3 Mineworkers Senior Solo Champion titles and 1 New Zealand Champion of Champion s title.

Peter also released his eagerly awaited solo CD, entitled appropriately "Legend" which has become a phenomenal best seller by brass band standards. The book of the same name has also been bought by his legion of many fans. Since 1997 he has been part of the amazingly successful Yorkshire Building Society Band and was a member of the famous Virtuosi Brass Band of Great Britain and the Kings of Brass, whilst in the USA he has been a member of the famous Brass Band of Battle Creek.

He currently resides at the most famous brass band of them all, Black Dyke, a role he took up in October 2004, although he announced his retirement from the band at the end of 2007.


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