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2023 European Championships
Event preview

A wonderful city, impressive venue, great music and fantastic bands. There should be something for everyone to enjoy in Malmo then as the European Championships head for a new musical outpost.

Following a return to England in 2022, the European Brass Band Championships has sought to explore new territory this year in Sweden.

It is a nation with proud musical heritage – from folk and classical opera to jazz, rock and even reggae.  The Swedes have given us amongst others, Stenhammer and Alfven, the nyckelharpa and roots music, ABBA and Death Metal, Christian Lindberg and Hakan Hardenberger. 

Pride

The latter two are the modern-day global stars of a proud brass music making history – starting with a tradition of small ensembles and military brass and wind bands going back to the 1800s. In 1971 a decision was made to transfer a great deal of organised musical activity from the military to the civilian sector, and by the 1980 music provision and support came from regional government.

The National Championships held in Varnamo each November is a vibrant hub of youthful excellence and enthusiasm.

Whilst that did not see its amateur brass band movement enjoy the investment that saw the exponential growth that came in Norway from the early 1980s onwards, it has remained resolute. The National Championships held in Varnamo each November is a vibrant hub of youthful excellence and enthusiasm.

Wider audience

In hosting the event for the first time, Bo Winborg, President of local organisers Brassmusik Skåne, Bo Winborg, said that the ambition was “to present brass bands, through a diverse series of events, to a wider audience.”

He added: “This is done by collaborating with various choirs and through newly commissioned music by both rock musicians and representatives of classical music. We have addressed young learners and a mature audience. Finally, we wanted to present you to our region’s history through enjoyable musical impressions.”

Sweden also has a long history at the European Championships – pioneered by Solna Brass who gave the contest world premiere of Wilfred Heaton’s ‘Contest Music’ in coming third at the inaugural event in 1978 at the Royal Albert Hall.

Communal feeling

Sweden also has a long history at the European Championships – pioneered by Solna Brass who gave the contest world premiere of Wilfred Heaton’s ‘Contest Music’ in coming third at the inaugural event in 1978 at the Royal Albert Hall.

They were soon followed by Gothenburg (who came 4th in 1986, and who, like musical Vikings travelled as far as Australia and New Zealand to win titles), and more latterly the likes of Windcorp and Gota who continue to fly the famous blue and yellow national flag with pride.

That communal feeling will certainly be on display at the hugely impressive Malmo Live Konserthus – the main host venue for the 2023 Championships. 


Impressive home

Opened in 2015 (above), it is home to the Malmo Symphony Orchestra, and hosts around 700 events each year in its three auditoriums.  Its main Konsertsalen auditorium seats around 1600 people with its oak-walled design allowing for a reverberation time of around 1.5 seconds – allowing the music as well as the atmosphere generated by a packed audience to be enjoyed in full.

And full it may well be, with the Championship own-choice and Gala Concert packed to capacity and not many tickets reportedly available for the set-work and Challenge Section. If you can stay around for the Youth Championships on the Sunday, then please do – as those fantastic bands also deserve plenty of support. 

Its main Konsertsalen auditorium seats around 1600 people with its oak-walled design allowing for a reverberation time of around 1.5 seconds – allowing the music as well as the atmosphere generated by a packed audience to be enjoyed in full.

Solo Competition

A great deal to look forward to then, with the competitive events kicking off on Wednesday 3rd May with the 9th European Soloist Competition at the Palladium Malmo not far from the main hall. 

It will feature three finalists performing concerto works accompanied by the Concord Brass Band under Andreas Hanson. Before the announcement of the results there will be a short concert given by the European Youth Brass Band led by Per-Otto Johansson, who have already given some local concerts and will play a high profile musical role throughout the weekend.   

Away from the competitions there is also the tasty aperitif to enjoy on Thursday evening (4th May) when the Malmo Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Martyn Brabbins in a concert at the host venue featuring Hakan Hardenberger performing Brett Dean’s immense ‘Trumpet Concerto’  as well as ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’.

Friday Championship Section set

That should whet the appetite then before Friday (5th May), which kicks off with the Championship Section set-work in the afternoon – scheduled to start at 3.00pm local time (+ 1 hour GMT).

You do need to be at the hall early to grab your spot though, as the seats are not specifically allocated, but if you want to find out more about the top section composition ‘Aurora’, the composer Joel Thoor Engstrom will be giving a talk about his work at 2.00pm at the Canal Stage.

In addition, there are also very interesting works to enjoy in the Challenge Section (‘Tragic Overture’  by Tobias Brostrom) as well as the Youth Sections (‘Phoenix’ Chant’  by Daniel Mollas and ‘Turning Torso’  by Magnus Hydland)

To find out more go to:  https://ebba.eu.com/set-test-pieces-malmo-ebbc-2023/

Saturday packed with action

Saturday (6th May) is packed with action.

The Challenge Section kicks off with four keenly matched bands at 9.00am (local time) performing the aptly challenging (but hopefully not accurately inspired) set work, as well as their ambitious own-choice selections.

Then comes the blockbuster own-choice works from the 14 Championship Section contenders (noon) which should take us all nicely up to the evening Gala Concert (6.00pm) and the announcement of the 2023 European Championship title winners.

Youth Championships 

This year the European Youth Championships have reverted to the Sunday (7th May) – although there is a great deal of optimism that it will retain the same level of support and enthusiasm from the audience as was on show in Birmingham last year.

That starts at 9.00am (local time) with the seven bands in the Development Section playing their set-test and own-choice selections, followed by the Premier Section. The day is rounded off with a Farewell Concert and the presentation of awards.

If you are making the trip to Malmo then there is plenty of great music to enjoy in a wonderful city, but if not, you can always sit back and enjoy the live-stream broadcast of the Championship, Challenge and Youth contests as well as the Gala Concert and results by simply going to: http://www.wobplay.com

More information: http://www.brassmusikskane.se


Schedule:

Wednesday 3rd May:

European Soloist Competition 
Palladium Malmo
7.00pm (local time)

Three finalists accompanied by Concord Brass Band
Conductor: Andreas Hanson

European Youth Brass Band
Conductor: Per-Otto Johansson

Thursday 4th May:

Malmo Symphony Orchestra
Konsertsalen
​Pictures at an Exhibition
Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
7.00pm

Friday 5th May:
Konsertsalen 

2.00pm (local time)
Composers talk 
Canal Stage

3.00pm:
Championship Section (set work)
Concert Hall

Saturday 6th May:
Konsertsalen

9.00am (local time)
Challenge Section: (set-work and own-choice)

12.00 noon
Championship Section: (own-choice)

Gala Concert & Result Ceremony
6.00pm
 
Featuring: Cory Band and the European Youth Brass Band
Soloists: Hakan Hardenberger, Vikoria Tolstoy, Par Ivarsson

Sunday 7th May:
Konsertsalen

European Youth Brass Band Championships:

9.00am (local time)
Development Section

12.30 pm
Premier Section

5.00pm 
Farewell Concert and Award Ceremony

Featuring: European Youth Brass Band and Gota Brass Band

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