2021 4BR Awards
The Nominations

The long list of 4BR annual award nominations that will be considered by our panel of judges has been released.

2020 was a year hopefully never to be repeated, so it was good to report that 2021 was somewhat better. The warning signs of regression cannot be ignored though. 

As a result, the banding world has continued to be challenged in a way almost beyond its control – although everyone should take heart from the remarkable response of so many individuals and organisations.

The spirit of adventure and innovation remains strong and unyielding. It is a foundation to continue building on in 2022.

Congratulations then to everyone who has done something positive – be it an on-line performance or contest appearance to a concert promotion, recording or just a get together virtually or in person at some time.

The response has been amazing, even if there may still be further frustrations ahead.


As with 2020 the 4BR nominations in each category reflect the proactive responses to, as well as the excellence displayed in producing brass band music in its varied forms and formats throughout the past 12 months – especially those that have reached out beyond our traditional self-possessed boundaries. 

The nominations will be presented to an international panel of critics and informed observers who will give their top three in each category.  

They will be collated by 4BR with any casting vote in the event of a tie decided by the 4BR Editor. The results will be announced on Christmas Day.

2021 Band of the Year

Thankfully bands have returned to what they do best this year – tentatively at first, but with growing confidence thereafter.

Although contesting has yet to reach its pre-covid schedule levels there were still plenty of events and competitions to enjoy. Several banding organisations also continued to build on the foundations put in place during 2020, enabling them to return with confidence.

Lots to admire as well as enjoy  – and these bands provided us with excellence in all sorts of ways. 


Eikanger Bjorsvik
Fountain City
Gota Brass Band
Manger Musikklag
Ratby Co-operative
Soli Brass
Valaisia Brass Band
Wellington Brass

Past Winners:
2020: Foden’s
2019: Cory
2018: Valaisia Brass Band
2017: Eikanger Bjorsvik
2016: Cory
2015: Cory
2014: Black Dyke
2013: Cory
2012: Foden's
2011: Brighouse & Rastrick
2010: Tredegar
2009: Cory
2008: Cory
2007: Grimethorpe Colliery Band
2006: Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) Band
2005: Black Dyke
2004: Yorkshire Building Society
2003: Yorkshire Building Society
2002: Foden's Richardson
2001: Yorkshire Building Society

2021 Conductor of the Year

There were frustrations and challenges for conductors of bands at all levels during 2021, even though there was some light at the end of a very long tunnel with contesting and performance opportunities.  

Conductors/Musical Directors had to encompass very different skill sets too – no longer just inspiring players in front of a band, but sometimes via zoom, or by an old fashioned telephone call to keep enthusiasm levels up.

Others led initiatives and new developments - becoming a focal point of keeping their organisations at the forefront of the movement, as well as reaching out to potential new audiences and support.

Each of our nominations did that and more during the year around the brass band world.  


Anri Adachi (Nailsworth Silver) 
Michael Bach (BB Burgermusik Luzern/Ensemble de Cuivres Euphonia) 
David Bremner (Wellington Brass/National Band of New Zealand)
Arsene Duc (Valaisia Brass Band)
Michael Fowles (Foden’s)
Mareika Gray (Ratby Co-operative/Eccles Borough)
Philip Harper (Cory/National Youth Band of Great Britain)
Ian Porthouse (Tredegar/Kingdom Brass/National Youth Band of Great Britain)
Anne van den Berg (Soli Brass/Brass Band Pro Rege)
Martin Winter (Manger Musikklag)

Past Winners:
2020: Philip Harper
2019: Philip Harper
2018: Arsene Duc
2017: Ingar Bergby
2016: Philip Harper
2015: Philip Harper
2014: Nicholas Childs
2013: Philip Harper
2012: Allan Withington
2011: David King
2010: Ian Porthouse
2009: Robert Childs
2008: Robert Childs
2007: Allan Withington
2006: Allan Withington
2005: Nicholas Childs
2004: Ray Farr
2003: David King
2002: Russell Gray
2001: David King

2021 Player of the Year

Once again, the traditional mark of excellence on the contest stage may well have been missing for the vast majority of 2021, although there were other opportunities for players to showcase their talents.  

It was good to both see and hear on-line performances of note, CD releases, masterclasses, video production and presentations.  

These were the musicians that came to the fore on the various performance platforms for us in 2021 – all brilliant.


Vincent Bearpark (Valaisia Brass Band)
Gary Curtin (Foden’s)
Isobel Daws (Friary Brass/Bone Afide) 
Ross Dunne (Tredegar)
Scott Forest (Whitburn)
Andrew Hedley (Reg Vardy/ISB)
Tom Hutchinson (Cory)
Jennifer Oliverio (Fountain City)
Mathilde Roh (Brass Band Treize Etoiles)
Anthony Smith (Woolston Brass)

Past Winners:
2020: Yu-Han Yang
2019: Tom Hutchinson
2018: Chris Thomas
2017: David Morton
2016: Helen Williams
2015: David Childs
2014: David Childs
2013: Glenn Van Looy
2012: Steve Stewart
2011: Glen Van Looy
2010: David Childs
2009: Mark Wilkinson
2008: Peter Moore
2007: Hans Gansch
2006: Katrina Marzella
2005: David Childs
2004: David Childs
2003: Martin Winter
2002: Morgan Griffiths
2001: Peter Roberts

2021 Test Piece of the Year

As in 2020, a hard one as we didn’t get to hear what would have been some eagerly awaited works at the major championships around the banding globe.

Still, there was some great original music to enjoy from composers both emerging as well as established (and some timely reprises), with these nominations all making a lasting impression on the musical mind.


‘…and when the river told…’ (Simon Dobson) – Scottish Open 
‘Ballet for Band’ (Joseph Horovitz) – Swedish National Championship
‘Bipolarity’ (Stijn Aertgeerts) – First Division Swiss National Championship
‘Connotations’ (Edward Gregson) – First Section National Championship of Great Britain
‘From San Marco Quarter’ (Joop van Dijk) – First Division Dutch National Championship 
‘Heroes’ (Bruce Broughton) – National Championship of Great Britain
‘Las Passuin’ (Oliver Wasepi) -  Elite Division Swiss National Championship
‘Signature: Fantasy in Two Movements’ (Hendrik de Boer) – Second Division Dutch National Championship
‘Songs of Ascent’ (Jonathan Bates) – Danish Championship
‘The World Rejoicing’ (Edward Gregson) - Dutch & Swiss National Championships 

Past Winners:
2020: Neverland (Christopher Bond)
2019: Dear Cassandra… (Ludovic Neurohr) 
2018: Concerto Grosso (Derek Bourgeois)
2017: Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)
2016: Fraternity (Thierry Deleruyelle)
2015: The God Particle (Rolf Rudin)
2014: Vita Aeterna Variations (Ed de Boer writing as Alexander Comitas)
2013: Of Distant Memories (Music in an Olden Style) (Edward Gregson)
2012: Goldberg 2012 (Svein Henrik Giske)
2011: Breath of Souls (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
2010: Saint Saens Variations (Philip Sparke)
2009: Titan's Progress (Hermann Pallhuber)
2008: The Dark Side of the Moon (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
2007: Music for Battle Creek (Philip Sparke)
2006: Vienna Nights (Philip Wilby)
2005: Eden (Dr. John Pickard)
2004: St. Magnus (Kenneth Downie)
2003: Festival Music (Eric Ball)
2002: Masquerade (Philip Wilby)
2001: Albion (Jan Van der Roost)

2021 Lower Section Band of the Year

2021 has been another exceptionally difficult year for bands below the elite level.

However, many have yet again been proactive with their approaches – from weekly quiz nights, online contest performances, guest masterclasses and community projects, as well regular rehearsals with those first signs of a return to ‘normal’ later in the year.  

There were so many super examples to choose from, but these are the ones that have shown the way for us – from contest stage success to community engagement.

Many of these bands have been successful on contest return, but others have continued with their innovative work in reaching out beyond their usual musical boundaries. 


Brass Band BlechKLANG
Buzzing Brass Wellington Youth
Durham University 
Ensemble de Cuivres Euphonia 
Fountain City Youth Academy
Kingdom Brass
National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain
RWCMD Brass Band
Viba Bondebrass
Youth Brass 2000

Past Winners:
2020: Tewit Silver Band 
2019: Wardle Academy Youth 
2018: Oldham Band (Lees)
2017: BD1 Brass
2016: Youth Brass 2000
2015: Ebbw Valley
2014: Manger Skulemusikklag
2013: National Children's Band of Great Britain
2012: National Youth Band of Great Britain
2011: Bjorsvik Brass
2010: Hazel Grove Band
2009: Oldham (Lees) Band
2008: Smithills Schools Senior Band
2007: Sellers International Youth Band
2006: Pennine Brass
2005: Marsden Riverhead Brewery Band
2004: Smithills School Senior Band
2003: Smithills School Senior Band
2002: St. Dennis Band
2001: Peter Hawke Garages Lindley Band

2021 Contest Performance of the Year

Despite the circumstances there were still some stunning ‘live’ contest performances to savour when bands did return to the contest stage this year. 

These ones stood out for us though on our limited travels, as well as from the comfort of our home thanks to live online broadcasting.


Brass Band Burgermusik Luzern - ‘The World Rejoicing’ (Swiss National Championship)
Cory – ‘Treasure Island’ (Brass in Concert Championship)
Carlton Main Frickley – ‘Anne Frank at the Sage’ (Brass in Concert Championship)
Foden’s – ‘Heroes’ (National Championship of Great Britain) 
Nailsworth Silver - ‘An Elgar Portrait’ (Fourth Section National Championship of Great Britain)
Manger Musikklag – ‘Interpretation of Dreams’ (Siddis Entertainment Championship)
Morecambe Band – ‘A Brief Encounter by the Sea’ (Fourth Section Cory Online Competition)
Tewit Silver – ‘Kaleidoscope’ (Third Section National Championship of Great Britain) 
Valaisia Brass Band – ‘A Gabrieli Fantasy’ (Swiss National Championship)
Wellington Brass – ‘Of Men and Mountains’ (New Zealand National Championship)

Past Winners:
2020: Manger Musikklag – Midnight’s Butterflies (2020 Norwegian National Championship)
2019: Cory – Titan’s Progress (National Championship of Great Britain)
2018: Manger Musikklag (Siddis Entertainment Championship)
2017: Eikanger Bjorsvik — Fraternity (European Championship)
2016: Cory — The Triumph of Time (British Open Championship)
2015: Cory — Spiriti (National Championship of Great Britain)
2014: Brass Band Bugermusik Luzern — Trance (Swiss National Championship)
2013: Tredegar — Arabian Nights (Fantasy on Rimsky Korsakov's Scheherazade for Brass Band) (British Open Championship)
2012: Foden's — Daphnis et Chloe (National Championship of Great Britain)
2011: Cory — Red Priest (British Open Championship)
2010: Fairey (Geneva) — Eden (English National Championship)
2009: Fountain City Brass Band — Dreams (Scottish Open Championship)
2008: Eikanger Bjorsvik — Riffs & Interludes (Norwegian Championship)
2007: Brass Band Oberosterreich — Titan's Progress (European Championship)
2006: Black Dyke — Vienna Nights (British Open Championship)
2005: Black Dyke — Journey to the Centre of the Earth (European Championship)
2004: Black Dyke — Montage (British Open Championship)
2003: Buy As You View Cory — Revelation (European Championship)
2002: Yorkshire Building Society — Concerto Grosso (European Championship)
2001: Foden's — Les Preludes (British Open Championship)

2021 Newcomer of the Year

Once again it was heartening to report on a host of newcomers making their mark on different fields of the banding world.  

From talented players to organisations, manufacturers to broadcasters and producers – the sense of investment, dedication, invention and entrepreneurship is backed by a love of making brass band music.    


Brass Foundations – Brass Bands England
David Paligora (North Shore Brass/National Band of New Zealand)
Greenfield Autumn Leaves Contest
Hannah Archibald (Coalburn Intermediate Band/National Youth Brass Band of Scotland)
Japanese Slow Melody Contest
Jasper Dommett (composer) 
JSVB Legacy Band 
Luke Barker (Flowers Band/National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain)
Mercer & Barker mouthpieces
WobPlay: In Concert series 

Past Winners:
2020: Cory Band 2020 Online Championships 
2019: Sky Arts – Battle of the Bands television series 
2018: Thomas Nielsen
2017: Ingar Bergby
2016: Thierry Deleruyelle
2015: Dark Arteries — Rambert Ballet and Tredegar Band
2014: The Band of the King's Division
2013: Korpsfiksert! — Eikanger Bjorsvik television series
2012: Brass in Concert
2011: Venezuelan Brass Ensemble
2010: Exit Brass
2009: Lucy Pankhurst
2008: Paul Duffy
2007: Proms Brass Day
2006: English National Championship
2005: Brass Band Aid
2004: The National Children's Band of Great Britain
2003: Emma Farrow
2002: Simon Dobson

2021 CD of the Year

Although the overall number of band and ensemble CDs (including download formats) brought onto the market was down yet again for understandable reasons, the quality certainly wasn’t - with a host of outstanding releases to enjoy in different genres.

The very best were not just examples of wonderful playing, but also of musical insight and appreciation of the repertoire performed. 


Black Dyke Gold: Volume IX
Conductor: Prof Nicholas Childs
Soloists: Daniel Thomas; Gavin Saynor; Richard Marshall; Jon Hammonds; Tim Hammond; Matt Rigg
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD405
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd705.asp

Bram Gregson & Friends
London Citadel Band of the Salvation Army; Intrada Brass; Brassroots
Featuring: Various soloists
Doyen Recordings: CD403
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd704.asp

Carmen Suite
Mike Lovatt’s Brass Pack
Online performance 
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/concerts/con677.asp

Celebration: 70
The National Youth Brass Band & National Children's Band of Great Britain
Conductors: Dr Robert Childs; Cpt Sam Hairsine RM
Featuring: Clara Price (narrator)
Music House Productions: CD MHP121
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd707.asp

Onyx Brass
Festmusik: A Legacy
Conductor: John Wilson
Chandos Recordings: CDCHSA 5284
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd695.asp

Origin of the Species - Revisited
The Wallace Collection
Featuring: John Wallace, John Miller, Paul Gardham, Simon Gunton, Anthony George
TWC Recordings: TWC-FR2020-001
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd690.asp

Roots - Bridges of Brass
Salaputia Brass
OEHMS Classic Recordings: CDOC473
Playing Time: 70.22
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd692.asp

Saluting the Kings of Swing Vol. 1
The JSVB Legacy Band
Conductor: David Thornton
BrassPasstv: Downplay.store
Download only
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd699.asp

The Nationals 2021
Highlights from the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain
Featuring: Foden's; Black Dyke; Kingdom Brass; Hebden Bridge; Tewit Silver; Nailsworth Silver
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD410
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd706.asp

Amsterdam Staff Band and Household Troops Band
Bandmasters: Olaf Ritman and Carl Saunders
Soloists: Michel Rosenquist; Steef Klepke; Anthony Smith
SP&S Recordings: SPS 435 CD
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd688.asp

Past Winners:
2020: Gregson: Music of the Angels
2019: The Music of Bliss & Howells (Brighouse & Rastrick)
2018: Metropolis — Black Dyke
2017: Dances & Arias — Black Dyke
2016: War Memorials — Cory Band & Tredegar Band
2015: Dark Arteries — Tredegar Band
2014: Gaia Symphony — Eikanger Bjorsvik
2013: When Worlds Collide (The Music of Nigel Clarke) — Brass Band Buizingen
2012: Masquerade — Foden's
2011: Only for You: The Music of Paul Lovatt-Cooper — Black Dyke
2010: Romeo & Juliet — Eikanger Bjorsvik
2009: Maestro — Foden's
2008: New Music for Brass Band — Foden's
2007: Vienna Nights — Black Dyke
2006: Heaton: Volume 4 — Black Dyke
2005: Tales and Stories — Eikanger Bjorsvik
2004: Music of the Spheres — Yorkshire Building Society
2003: Bourgeois in Brass — Yorkshire Building Society
2002: The Heaton Collection — Black Dyke and the ISB
2001: Butterworth — Black Dyke

2021 Solo CD of the Year

Despite the restrictions that would have made recording nigh on impossible this year, there has still been an encouraging crop of high-quality solo and small ensemble CDs that have been released.

What has been particularly pleasing has been the variety on show – with plenty of seriously inventive thinking going into the featured repertoire and production values. 

A few surprises too – and all the better for it. 


Jen Oliverio
Featuring: Dr I-Chen Yeh (piano)
Available in download and CD format:
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd703.asp

Mauro Martins
Accompanists: Bernardo Pinhal & Daniel Bernardes
Featuring: Sergio Carolino (tuba)
CD Recording: CDMMF
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd689.asp

Mark Glover (euphonium)
Featuring: Dr Viktoriya Zaharieva (piano)
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd691.asp

Magical Memories for Trumpet and Organ
Tine Thing Helseth
Featuring: Kare Nordstoga (organ)
LAWO Classics: LWC1246
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd696.asp

Soloist: Ross Dunne
Tredegar Town Band
Conductor: Ian Porthouse
Doyen Recordings: CD402
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd693.asp

A4 Brass Quartet
Jamie Smith; Jonathan Bates; Mike Cavanagh; Chris Robertson
SOMM Recordings: SOMMCD 0638
Available also as a download
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd700.asp

Music for Isolation - Volume II
Rie Takeuchi & Gideon Juckes
Gururiyoza Records: GR 002
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd694.asp

David King
Featuring: Amir Farid (piano)
Oaklands Productions: CD001
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd702.asp

Solo Euphonium
William Hess
Summit Records
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd708.asp

The Edge of Forever
Jim Hayes is Jonny Midnight
Accompanied by the cooperation band
Conductor: Michael Fowles
World of Sound CDs: WOS 159
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd698.asp

Past Winners:
2020: Eire Time – Gary Curtin
2019: The Symphonic Euphonium II - David Childs 
2018: Life Force — Peter Moore
2017: The Demonic Virtuoso — Owen Farr
2016: Fantasy — Philip Cobb
2015: Parallel Realities — David Thornton
2014: The Symphonic Euphonium — David Childs
2013: Stories of Life — Glenn Van Looy
2012: Diamonds — Steven Mead
2011: Dreaming of the Masters — Jens Lindemann
2010: Moto Perpetuo — David Childs
2009: Salt of the Earth — Les Neish
2008: Audacious — Steven Mead
2007: Eminence — Richard Marshall
2006: The World of the Euphonium: Volume 5 — Steven Mead
2005: Blaze — Richard Marshall
2004: Legend — Peter Roberts
2003: A Winter’s Tale — Martin Winter

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