2011 European Brass Band Championships — Championship Section: Runners & Riders

10 top class bands battle for Montreux glory on the weekend — but who will leave Switzerland as champions?

Wales flagCory

Conductor: Dr. Robert Childs
4BR Ranking: 1

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Tom Hutchinson
Principal Euphonium: David Childs
Principal Trombone: Christopher Thomas
Soprano: Bert Van Theinen
Flugel: Joanne Childs
Horn: Owen Farr
Baritone: Susan Thomas
Eb Tuba: Les Neish
Bb Tuba: Fraser Bish
Percussion: Alun Horgan
European Appearances: 22nd time
(1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)

European Record: (set work/ own choice)
1979: 2nd overall – 3rd/3rd
1980: Winners – 1st/2nd
1981: 6th overall – N/K
1982: 2nd overall – 3rd/2nd
1983: 3rd overall – 7th/2nd
1984: 2nd overall – 3rd/2nd
1985: 2nd overall – 4th/1st
1986: 3rd overall – 3rd/4th
1987: 8th overall – 8th/7th
1989: 3rd overall – 1st/4th
1993: 3rd overall – 3rd/4th
1999: 5th overall – 5th/4th
2001: 2nd overall – 1st/3rd
2003: 2nd overall – 2nd/1st
2004: 6th overall – 6th/7th
2005: 2nd overall – 2nd/3rd
2006: 3rd overall – 3rd/1st
2007: 3rd overall – 1st/5th
2008: Winners – 1st/3rd
2009: Winners – 1st/1st
2010: Winners – 1st/1st

Denzil Stephens directed the band between 1979 and 1981. Major Arthur Kenney directed from 1982 to 1987. Brian Howard took them in 1989, Michael Antrobus in 1993 and Jeremy Wise in 1999. Since 2001 they have been directed by Dr. Robert Childs.

Own Choice works used:
1979: Judges of the Secret Court
1980: Triumphant Rhapsody
1981: Connotations
1982: Fireworks
1983: Variations on a Ninth
1984: Contest Music
1985: Dances and Arias
1986: Ballet for Band
1987: Dances and Arias
1989: Diversions on a Bass Theme
1993: Harmony Music
1999: Of Men and Mountains
2001: Harrison's Dream
2003: Revelation
2004: Revelation
2005: Concerto Grosso
2006: The Promised Land
2007: Of Men and Mountains
2008: Music for Battle Creek
2009: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
2010: A Tale as Yet Untold

Best Performance: Winners 1980, 2008, 2009, 2010

Last Year: Winners

Bob ChildsConductor:

Dr. Robert Childs is an associate of the RCM, a Fellow of the LCM and gained a distinction in a Masters Degree from the University of Leeds.

He also holds a PGC in Education from the Open University. His status as a professional musician encompasses many fields of music making.

He is Director of Brass Band Studies at the WCMD, Professor of Euphonium at the RNCM and the University of Leeds.

He is a tutor and council member to the National Youth Bands of Wales and Great Britain and of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain.

In 2000, he became the MD of the Buy As You View Cory Band and won the British Open Championship, the National Championship and runner-up at the European Championship in a single season.

In 2002, he became MD to the NYBB of Wales and Cory became British Open champion again – a feat repeated in 2007 and 2009. In 2002, he was awarded 'Doctor of Musical Arts' from the University of Leeds. 

Denmark flagBrass Band Lyngby Taarbaek

Conductor: Selmer Simonsen
4BR Ranking: 58

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Dennis R. Andersen
Principal Euphonium: Michael Thomsen
Principal Trombone: Fiirgaard Schneefeldt
Soprano: Lars Haedersdal
Flugel: Helle Hansen
Horn: Lisbeth Jorgensen
Baritone: Ea Vangkilde
Eb Tuba: Philip Garner
Bb Tuba: Peter Hansen
Percussion: Mikkel Vangkilde

European Appearances: 10th time
(1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011)

European Record: (set work/ own choice)
1997: 9th overall - 8th/10th
1998: 11th overall – 11th/10th
2003: 9th overall – 9th/9th
2004: 5th overall – 4th/8th
2005: 7th overall – 4th/9th
2006: 10th overall – 10th/10th
2007: 7th overall – 7th/7th
2008: 7th overall – 4th/8th
2009: 9th overall – 6th/11th

The performances of 1997, 1998 and 2003 were directed by Jesper Juul Sorensen. Ray Farr conducted the band from 2004 to 2006. 

Christian Schmiedescamp directed from 2007 to 2009. Selmer Simonsen takes the band in 2011.

Own Choice works used:
1997:  An Epic Symphony
1998:  Fantasy for Brass Band
2003:  Montage
2004: …Dove Descending
2005:  St. Magnus
2006:  Music of the Spheres
2007: Journey to the Centre of the Earth
2008: Apocalypse
2009: Harmony Music

Best Performance: 5th place in 2004

Last Year:

sELNER sIMONSONConductor: 

Selmer Simonsen was born in Karmøy in Norway and from a young age became interested in music.

Aged 13 he joined the Kopervik Band as a cornet player under the direction of his father Svein Birger Simonsen who was the Corps' director. 

After four years of study at the University of Trondheim, where Selmer played for Ila Brass Band, he decided to study in London to supplement the education with knowledge of the Salvation Army Brass Band scene.

This would prove to be both a year of great personal development and in addition would change his future ambitions. 

The following year he began conducting studies at the University of Salford as a pupil of Dr.Roy Newsome and David King. In January 2000, two and a half years after he passed his Masters degree in conducting, he embarked upon a highly successful freelance conducting career which has seen him direct many leading bands in both the UK and at home and win a number of domestic titles.

He makes his debut as a conductor at the European Championships this year.

Switzerland flagBrass Band Treize Etoiles

Conductor: James Gourlay
4BR Ranking: 26

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Patrick Vergeres
Principal Euphonium: Gilles Rocha
Principal Trombone: Bertrand Moren
Soprano: Manuel Cathoblaz
Flugel: Claude Romailler
Horn: Jocelyne Moren
Baritone: Sebastien Heritier
Eb Tuba: Francois Fournier
Bb Tuba: Philippe Rapalli
Percussion: Nicolas Sauthier

European Appearances: 14th time
(1979, 1980, 1984, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1979: 4th overall - 6th/5th
1980: 3rd overall - 2nd/5th
1984: 9th overall - 5th/13th
1987: 9th overall - 9th/8th
1988: 9th overall - 7th/10th
1990: 4th overall - 3rd/8th
1994: 8th overall - 7th/8th
1999: 3rd overall - 3rd/5th
2001: 3rd overall - 2nd/2nd
2002: 5th overall - 6th/5th
2005: 6th overall - 7th/4th
2007: 11th overall – 10th/8th
2009:  2nd overall – 5th/3rd

Geo Pierre Moren conducted between 1979 and 1988, then gave way to Richard Evans for 1990 and 1994. 

Peter Parkes was at the helm for 1999, 2001 and 2002, before the original MD returned for 2005 and 2007. James Gourlay has directed since 2009.

Own choice works used:
1979: John O'Gaunt
1980: Judges of the Secret Court
1984: James Cook - Circumnavigator
1987: Dances and Arias
1988: Land of the Long White Cloud
1990: Dances and Arias
1994: Partita
1999: Between the Moon and Mexico
2001: Cambridge Variations
2002: Harmony Music
2005: Music of the Spheres
2007: Beyond the Horizon
2009: Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Best Performance:  2nd in 2009

Last Year: DNQ


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 he became principal tuba of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra followed by posts in the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Orchester der Oper in Zurich where he 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 recorded the Gregson and Vaughan-Williams concertos and has a strong commitment to new music and has given premieres of works by Bingham, Gorb, Gilbert, Lachenmann, Gregson, Horovitz, Sparke, Penderecki and Newton.

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 many of thee UK's top brass bands.

He has made a number of recordings with the RNCM Wind Orchestra and continues his lifelong dedication to music education with guest-teaching engagements in Lyon, Weimar, the Eastman School of Music, the Julliard School and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

Norway flagManger Musikklag

Conductor: Peter Sebastian Szilvay
4BR Ranking: 24

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet:  Erlend Aagaard-Nilsen
Principal Euphonium: Birthe Carlsen
Principal Trombone: Birgitte Bruget
Soprano: Preben Johansen
Flugel: Randi Holm
Horn: Kirsti Loe
Baritone: Kjetil Raknerud
Eb Tuba: Christian Breistein 
Bb Tuba: Ole Mathias Nes
Percussion: Brynjar Mjanger Eide

European Appearances: 11th time
(1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1989, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2011)

European Record: (set piece/own choice)

1978: N/K (outside top 6)
1980: 5th overall – 4th/ 6th
1981: 2nd overall
1983: 7th overall – 5th/ 9th
1989: 8th overall – 8th/ 6th
1995: 4th overall – 3rd/ 4th
1996: 3rd overall – 6th/ 3rd
1997: 7th overall – 6th/ 6th
1998: 10th overall – 10th/ 9th
2003: 5th overall – 7th/4th

Own Choice works used:
1978: Norwegian Fantasy
1980: Pageantry
1981: Connotations
1983: Spectrum
1989: Salute to Youth
1995: Montage
1996: Harmony Music
1997: Freedom
1998: Journey Into Freedom
2003: Harmony Music

Tom Brevik directed the performances of 1978 and 1989. Michael Antrobus directed the performances of 1980, 1981 and 1983. David King directed the performance of 1995. 

Bjorn Sagstad directed in 1996. Ray Farr directed in 1997. James Gourlay directed in 1998. Allan Withington directed in 2003 and Peter Sebastian Szilvay conducts in 2011.

Best Performance: Runners up 1981

Last Year: DNC


Peter Sebastian Szilvay has a degree in viola playing and conducting from the Norwegian Academy of Music, and has an impressive musical CV.

He was conductor in residence with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra from 1998 to 2000, and was artistic director with the Norwegian Army Band in Bergen from 2000 to 2003.

In 1998 he won the Norwegian 'Conductor of the Year' competition, which led to him working as international renowned Maris Jansons assistant, a position he filled for three years.

England flagFairey (Geneva)

Conductor: Russell Gray
4BR Ranking: 4

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Iain Culross
Principal Euphonium: Matthew White
Principal Trombone: Les Webb
Soprano: Alan Wycherley
Flugel: Mike Eccles
Horn: Laura Lea
Baritone: Jeff Lewis
Eb Tuba: Ben Thomson
Bb Tuba: Mark Evans
Percussion: Martin Gernon

European Appearances: 6th time
(1987, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2004, 2011)

European Record: (set work/own choice)
1987: 2nd overall - 4th/ 2nd
1993: 2nd overall - 6th / 1st
1994: Winners - 3rd/ 1st
1995: 2nd overall - 4th/ 1st
2004: 4th overall – 7th/2nd

Performances have been directed by Roy Newsome in 1987, whilst Major Peter Parkes directed the band in 1993, 1994 and 1995. 

Allan Withington directed in 2004. Russell Gray directs in 2011.

Own choice works used:
1987: Dances and Arias
1993: Cambridge Variations
1994: Masquerade
1995: Cambridge Variations
2004: Revelation

Best Performance: Winners in 1994

Last Year: DNQ


Russell Gray was born near Glasgow, and an early interest in music saw him pick up his fathers trumpet by the age of 9. Within a few years he had won many national solo prizes including the under 17 Solo Championship of Great Britain by the time he was 12.
Russell moved to Yorkshire to study music and soon after joined Black Dyke where he stayed for two years.  He subsequently became principal cornet of Fodens and Leyland Bands.
Russell’s conducting career started when he was appointed resident conductor of the Stavanger Band in 1998.

Russell moved back to England in 2001 to take over as conductor of the Ransome Band leading them to second place at the National Championships in 2000.

In 2002, Fodens Richardson approached Russell to conduct them and within the first year had obtained three first and two second placings in five contests.
2005 was one of Russell's most productive years, winning six out of eight competitions culminating with the National Brass Band Championships on Great Britain with Leyland.
Since 2003 Russell has been freelancing as a conductor and player, and this has continued to take him around the world. 

Wales flagTredegar

Conductor: Ian Porthouse
4BR Ranking: 7

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Dewi Griffiths
Principal Euphonium: Buzz Newton
Principal Trombone: Stephen Sykes
Soprano: Lewis West
Flugel: Danny Winder
Horn: Chris Davies
Baritone: Geraint Chamberlain
Eb Tuba: Gavin Saynor
Bb Tuba: Andy Russell
Percussion: Steve Barnett

European Appearances: 9th time
(1978, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2009, 2011)

 European Record: (set work/own choice)
1978: 5th overall
1991 3rd overall – 4th/3rd
1992 9th overall – 10th/6th
1995 7th overall – 7th/7th
1996 5th overall – 4th/4th
1997 4th overall – 7th/1st
2002: 7th overall – 7th/6th
2009: 8th overall – 7th/8th

David Thomas conducted the band on its first appearance, before Nigel Weeks directed in 1991 and 1992. 

Nicholas Childs took the helm in 1995, 1996 and 1997 and Steve Bastable in 2002. Ian Porthouse has conducted since 2009.

Own choice works used:
1991: Essence of Time
1992: Contest Music
1995: Year of the Dragon
1996: Montage
1997: Freedom
2002: Harrison’s Dream
2009: Contest Music

Best Performance: 3rd in 1991

Last Year: Did not compete


Ian Porthouse was born into a family of musicians and joined the Flimby Saxhorn Band where his father was principal cornet. Within 5 years he would take over as principal himself.

At 16, he became principal cornet of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain leading for 3 years, before joining the Leyland Band in 1984. 

He went on to play with the Desford Colliery, becoming National Champions 3 years in succession and appeared as guest soloist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

He later became principal cornet with the Black Dyke Mills Band, winning another National title and with the Yorkshire Building Society Band, winning 3 European Championships and the British Open in 1997, and the Fairey Band, winning two more National titles. 

In 1998 Ian became MD of the newly formed Pennine Brass, taking them from the Second Section to the Championship in 2 years.

Ian is Director of Brass Band Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire, and a tutor to the National Youth Brass Band and at Accrington and Rossendale College.

His IPBrass, have performed at many prestigious venues including the gala concert at the National Championships, whilst recent conducting projects include several concerts with Grimethorpe Colliery Band and being MD of the European Youth Brass Band in Birmingham.

Ian took up the position of MD with Tredegar in 2008 and has led to two Welsh Regional titles, the Grand Shield and British Open victories.

Belgium flagNoord-Limburgse

Conductor: Ivan Meylemans
4BR Ranking: 75

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Pieter Houben
Principal Euphonium: Nick Vermeiren
Principal Trombone: Maarten Lowel
Soprano: Joeri Van Hove
Flugel: Tinne Vermeiren
Horn: Cindy Simons
Baritone: Jan Luys
Eb Tuba: Geert Boutsen
Bb Tuba: Ruben Vanveggel
Percussion: Wim Deferme

European Appearances: Debut

European Record: (set work/own choice)

Own choice works used: N/A

Best Performance: N/A

Last Year: Did not compete


Ivan Meylemans started his orchestral conducting studies at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where his teachers were Ed Spanjaard and Jac van Steen. 

Since he graduated in 2000, Ivan has taken part in several national and international conducting competitions and has proven very successful.

In 2005 he was awarded the ‘Salon Prize’, of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. This prize resulted in a first full-CD recording with the Royal Concertgebouw Brass 

2007 marked a major turning point as he decided to end his 13-year career as a trombone soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to fully dedicate his time to his advancing career as a conductor.

He become an assistant to Mariss Jansons, chief-conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and also assisted other renowned conductors like Herbert Blomstedt and Markus Stenz.

In 2007, Ivan was appointed chief-conductor of Het Kamer Orkest Bruges, one of the few remaining chamber ensembles that has established an acknowledged and renowned place amongst the specialised chamber orchestras of Belgium.

Today, Ivan has been much in demand as a guest conductor for famous national and international chamber and symphony orchestras.  

Among his future engagements are performances with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic of Flandres and the Danish Radio Symphony orchestra.

Scotland flagKingdom Brass

Conductor: Andrew Duncan
4BR Ranking: 35

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Eoin Tonner
Principal Euphonium: Brian Paterson
Principal Trombone: Chris Mansfield
Soprano: Martin Edwards
Flugel: Claire Tomlin
Horn: Kate Eggleshaw
Baritone: Anne Crookston
Eb Tuba: Kenny Brown
Bb Tuba: Ian Green
Percussion: Lynsey Paterson

European Appearances: Debut

European Record: (set work/own choice)

Own choice works used: N/A

Best Performance: N/A

Last Year: Did not compete


Andrew Duncan was born in Glasgow.  After taking up trombone aged 11, he joined the West Calder and then Whitburn Junior Bands on Tuba.  He studied at Napier University before moving to the Guildhall School of Music, where he was taught by James Andersen.

In 1984, he was appointed the Principal Tuba with the Halle Orchestra, a position he held for 16 years. 

In 1998, gave the world premiere of John Golland's ‘Tuba Concerto’.  He has also played with many leading British orchestras and with London and Halle Brass. Andrew has been a tutor at the RNCM, the University of Salford, Chethams and Huddersfield University.

In 1994 the Halle gave the premiere of his ‘Concerto for Trombone’ whilst his pieces for brass bands are regularly played and recorded. 

He won the ‘Best New Composition’ award at the Brass in Concert Championships for five consecutive years.

He was the Musical Director of the Hepworth Band from 2000-2001 and was appointed as Principal Conductor of Whitburn Band in 2003, leading them to a historic second place at the British Open Championships.

In August 2009, Andrew took up the post of Musical Director of Kingdom Brass.

SWEDENWindcorp Brass Band

Conductor: Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking: 71

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: David Glanneskog
Principal Euphonium: Anders Lundin
Principal Trombone: Henrik Glanneskog
Soprano: Martin Irwin
Flugel: Martin Isaksson
Horn: Tim De Maeseneer
Baritone: Lars Granberg
Eb Tuba: Kristian Karlstedt
Bb Tuba: Jorgen Advall
Percussion: Andreas Roslund

European Appearances: Debut

European Record: (set work/own choice)

Own choice works used: N/A

Best Performance: N/A

Last Year: Did not compete


Since graduating in the early 1980's, Garry Cutt has developed a reputation as one of the banding worlds most respected and successful conductors.

His 17 year relationship with the Marple Band resulted in many contest success: A hat-trick of 4th prizes and their British Open victory of 1996 are some of the most remarkable results in the history of the contest.

This was Garry's second Open title, having previously guided Kennedy's Swinton to their 1989 win and at the same time, becoming the youngest winning conductor in the competition's history and the first recipient of The Mortimer Maestro Award.

He was appointed MD to the Grimethorpe in 1991, a position he held for twelve years.

The phenomenal impact of the film ‘Brassed-Off’ resulted in Garry leading the band on sell-out tours, notably Australia on three occasions.

He has an enviable reputation on the concert platform, cemented by six victories at Brass in Concert.

In 2003, he was awarded the Iles Medal by The Worshipful Company of Musicians in recognition of his services to the banding movement.

His appointment to the position of MD the Fodens Band resulted in many successes including the British Open of 2004 and the inaugural English National Championships in 2006.

Garry continues to be Associate Conductor of The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, and has recently returned to Grimethorpe Colliery Band to direct them at the 2011 British Open.

Netherlands flagBrass Band Schoonhoven
The Netherlands

Conductor: Erik Janssen
4BR Ranking: 46

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Dennis Vork
Principal Euphonium: Robbert Vo
Principal Trombone: Wolter Lommerde
Soprano: Wouter Zuidam
Flugel: Clenn Keizer
Horn: Hanneke van Mourik
Baritone: Harry Spruyt
Eb Tuba: Joop van Dijk
Bb Tuba: William Otto
Percussion: Xander van der Ploeg

European Appearances: Debut

European Record: (set work/own choice)

Own choice works used: N/A

Best Performance: N/A

Last Year: Did not compete


Erik Janssen was born in 1966 and became the Musical Director of the conductor of the band in 2000. 

He studied at the Sweelinck Conservatorium in Amsterdam, where he came under the teaching of  Peter Masseurs and Danny Oosterman and gained a Doctorate in the Trumpet.

He has also been associated with Brass Band Schoonhoven, Noordholland Concert Brass and Zaandijks Fanfare Corps. 

He has also performed with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, National Jeugdorkest, Netherlands Studenten Orchestra, Amsterdam Wind Orchestra as well as a selection of diverse musical groups and Big Bands.


Sunday 14 July • Pemberton Old Wigan Brass Bands. Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan WN5 8DZ


Friday 19 July • Pemberton Old Wigan Band . Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan. WN5 8DZ

Barnsley Brass - Stephen Sykes, Principal Trombone of The Cory Band

Saturday 20 July • St Mary's Church, Kippax, Leeds LS25 7HF

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Skelmanthorpe Band

Sunday 21 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Boarshurst Silver Band - Sunday Brass Concert - Phoenix Brass

Sunday 28 July • Boarshurst Band Club, Greenbridge Lane OL3 7EW

Dobcross Silver Band

July 15 • 2 x Cornet Players required. Positions are negotiable, excluding Principal as players are willing to move around. Experience preferred but all ages considered if ability can be demonstrated. Enjoyable rehearsals/great socials!

Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

July 13 • Our welcoming non-contesting band, based near Maidenhead, Bracknell and Reading, seeks: . Solo Euphonium . 1st Horn . Percussion, kit and tuned: we have a lovely pair of timps! . Solo Cornet to complete the front-row line-up. 2nd Cornet

Newtown Silver Band

July 12 • Musical Director. Following the retirement of our current Musical Director after 40 years of loyal service the band is seeking a new Musical Director to take the band forward. We are a 3rd section band with a busy programme and enthusiastic members. .

Derek Renshaw

ABBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator.


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