2023 4BR Awards
Long list nominees

The long list of nominees in each category of the 2023 4BR Awards have been announced.

Following a year of rejuvenation and innovation in 2022, the past twelve months in the banding world has offered a form of retrenchment and resilience. 

There does however remain an underlying fragility about the communal post Covid-19 recovery, exacerbated all too often by the corrosive desire to look ever inward rather than outward. As we said ahead of last year’s long list nominations, major challenges still lie ahead.

The good news is that once again examples of visionary working and practice are to be found across the globe – a type of entrepreneurial musical spirit that should unashamedly copied, moulded, and enhanced by others to meet progressive outlooks.

As we also said last year, the nominations we have come up with we think show a spirit of ambition – each a significant marker in giving a huge sense of confidence to individual bands and organisations, as well as boosting the profile of brass banding to the wider general public. 

As we also said last year, the nominations we have come up with we think show a spirit of ambition – each a significant marker in giving a huge sense of confidence to individual bands and organisations, as well as boosting the profile of brass banding to the wider general public. 

Agree or disagree

As always, the 4BR nominations in each category reflect those proactive responses, especially those that have reached out beyond our traditional self-possessed boundaries. 

We are also sure people will disagree with them too – but that is also a sign of a healthy banding movement.

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.

2023 Band of the Year

These are the bands that we felt excelled in their ambition – and not just on the contest stage. 


Black Dyke (England)
Brass Band Treize Etoiles (Switzerland)
Brass Band Willebroek (Belgium)
Derwent Brass (England)
Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag (Norway)
Five Lakes Silver (USA)
Foden’s (England)
Gota Brass Band (Sweden)
North Shore Brass (New Zealand)
Wellington Brass (New Zealand)

Past Winners:

2022: Brighouse & Rastrick
2021: Foden’s
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

2023 Conductor of the Year

Lots of conductors to consider from their work on the contest, concert, recording and project platforms, with each leading their bands with a remarkable fusion of talent, insight and inspiration to make their mark far and wide. 


Michael Bach (BB Burgermusik Luzern/Ensemble de Cuivres Euphonia/BB Saanen/Grimethorpe Colliery) 
Magnus Brandseth (Krohnengen/Bjorsvik Brass/Smoras Skolemusikk)
Jack Capstaff (Derwent Brass/Hatfield & Askern Colliery/EverReady)
Nicholas Childs (Black Dyke/Whitburn)
Michael Fowles (Foden’s/ the cooperation band/NASUWT Riverside/Fountain City/Desford)
Russell Gray (Foden’s/Reg Vardy/Agder Brass/Oberaargauer)
Sarah Ioannides (National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain)
David Morton (Rong Brass/Jaren Hornmusikkforening/the cooperation band/Brottum Brass/Oslo Brass)
Frederic Theodoloz (Brass Band Treize Etoile)
Harmen Vanhoorne (North Shore Brass)

Past Winners:

2022: Russell Gray
2021: Arsene Duc 
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

2023 Player of the Year

Such a difficult task to pick just 10 players for this category.  

For us, these were the performers that not only excelled individually under the spotlight, but also inspired others around them too. 


Oriane Bruckel (Brass Band Treize Etoiles)
Gary Curtin (Foden’s)
Thibaut de Bont (Brass Band Willebroek)
Emily Evans (Flowers)
Lionel Fumeaux (Brass Band Treize Etoiles)
Dewi Griffiths (Tredegar)
Kay Mackenzie (NBS Nelson City Brass)
Richard Poole (Foden’s)
Gavin Saynor (Black Dyke)
Samuel Winter (Eikanger Bjorsvik/Smoras Skolemusikk)

Past Winners:

2022: Richard Poole
2021: Isobel Daws 
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

2023 Test Piece of the Year

A year of interesting new works and some popular returnees. All must have all been performed as a set-work test-piece, so some world premieres own-choice works could not be considered as yet, even though they made an impression (not just in terms of popularity) on players, conductors, judges and listeners alike at all levels of competition.

The best tested both technique as well as musicality to leave an impression long after the contest day finished.


Afterlife (Stijn Aertgeerts): First Division Dutch National/First Division Belgian National Championships
Astralis (Philip Wilby): Scottish Open
Aurora (Joel Thoor Engstrom): European Championship
Hypercube (Oliver Waespi): Swiss National Championship
Of Men and Mountains (Edward Gregson): National Championship of Great Britain
Sand and Stars (Thierry Deleruyelle): British Open/Dutch National Championship
Siege (Jared McCunnie): Australian National Championship
Sinfonietta No 2: Quatre Impressions (Pierre-Antoine Savoyat): Belgian National Championship
The Lost Village of Imber (Christopher Bond): Third Section National Championship of Great Britain
Turning Torso (Magnus Hylander): European Youth Championship Development Section

Past Winners:

2022: The World Rejoicing: Variations on a Lutheran Chorale (Edward Gregson)
2021: The World Rejoicing: Variations on a Lutheran Chorale (Edward Gregson)
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)

2023 Lower Section Band of the Year

Once again so many bands in so many countries doing great work and making the right impression both on and off the contest stage. All embraced the need to look outwards, inspire their participants and audiences alike.

It must be great to be associated with bands like that – and these were ten of the very best. 


Brass Band Uberetsch (Italy)
Catch Basin Brass Band (Austria)
Ensemble de Cuivres Euphonia (Switzerland)
Kirkintilloch (Scotland)
National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain
National Youth Band of Scotland
Porthleven Town (England)
Smoras Skolemusikk (Norway)
South Wales Youth Band (Wales)
Whitworth Vale & Healey (England)

Past Winners:

2022: Campbeltown Brass
2021: Youth Brass 2000
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

2023 Contest Performance of the Year

As always, a veritable minefield of opinion and discussion in a year when truly memorable performances from the contest stage were perhaps not as plentiful as people may have thought.

Without doubt there were a host of very fine shows at all levels (and as it is contesting - not all from winners), but these were the ones that had that extra pinch of the exceptional about them that got tongues wagging and left indelible impressions on minds of listeners. 

These are ours – others may well disagree.


Black Dyke (Antiphones): European Championship 
Black Dyke (Red Priest): Yorkshire Regional Championship 
Brass Band Bugermusik Luzern (Hypercube): Swiss National Championship
Brass Band Treize Etoiles (Sand and Stars): European Championship
Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag (HorrorShow): Norwegian National Championship
Eikanger Bjorsvik Musikklag (Monday 4th July 1934 at 5.35am): Siddis Championship
Foden’s (Sand and Stars): British Open
Oslo Brass (Revelation): First Division Norwegian National Championship
Smoras Skolemusikk (Development Section European Youth Championship)
Wellington Brass (Audivi Media Nocte): New Zealand National Championship  

Past Winners:

2022: Tredegar – So Spoke Albion (European Championship)
2021: Foden’s – Heroes (National Championship of Great Britain)
2020: Manger Musikklag – Midnight’s Butterflies (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)

2023 Newcomer of the Year

It’s always encouraging to find newcomers making a positive impression on the banding movement.

Each of our nominations brought something different to engage with a wider audience in solo and ensemble performances, collaborations, new voices and new ideas. 


ABRSM Brass Syllabuses (Practice & Performance Grades)
Brass Bands England Elevate Project
Becky Lund (Conductor/NewMoon Insurance Young Composer winner)
ConsTest Birmingham Open
Echoes of the North: For Chapters in Time (Brighouse & Rastrick/Neil Brand)
Elise Hale (Brassing Around)
Foden’s Band Young Female Composer initiative
Redhills Charity (including Redhills Youth Brass Project)
The Wrong Trousers – WFEL Fairey Band & Aardman Productions
Wobplay.com app

Past Winners:

2022: Fredrick Schjelderup
2021: WobPlay.com – In Concert Series
2020: Cory Band 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

2023 CD of the Year

The long-term future of commercial brass recordings remains under threat as technology moves away from the physical to on-line production.

However, there is a niche in the market for high quality releases and there were a number to enjoy throughout 2023. 


Crazy Twenties
Paris Brass Band
Conductor: Laurent Douvre
Soloist: Kathleen Gaspoz
SACEM Recordings: SDRM 390800
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd746.asp

Da Vinci
Flowers Band
Conductor: Paul Holland
Soloists: Paul Richards, Emily Evans, Lauren Chinn, Iain Culross
Doyen Recordings: CD423
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd754.asp

Manuscripts II
The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army
Bandmaster: Dr Stephen Cobb
Soloist: Philip Cobb
SPS Recordings: SPS 445 CD
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd750.asp

Peter Graham - Force of Nature
Black Dyke Band
Conductor: Prof Nicholas Childs
Soloists: Rex Richardson; David Childs
Naxos Recordings: CD 8.574563
Review:  https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd758.asp

Postcards from Grimethorpe
Grimethorpe Colliery Band
Conductors: Jack Stamp, Ben Palmer
Toccata Next: CD TOCN 0030
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd753.asp

Foden's Band
Conductor: Michael Fowles
Soloist: Gary Curtin
Doyen Recordings: CD420
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd741.asp

the sun is free to flow with the sea
Onyx Brass
NMC Recordings: NMC D276
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd749.asp

Black Dyke Band
Conductor: Prof Nicholas J. Childs
Soloists: Stephanie Binns, Gavin Saynor, Brett Baker
Organ: Philip Wilby
Piano: Darius Battiwalla
Narrator: Matthew Routley
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD425
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd756.asp

Cory Band
Conductor: Philip Harper
Doyen Recordings: DOY CD421
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd747.asp

Violet - Volume 1
Brass Band Willebroek
Conductor: Frans Violet
Soloists: Kevin Van Giel, Robby Boone, Simon Binon, Lode Violet
Doyen Recordings: CD427
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd759.asp

Past Winners:

2022: Vaughan Williams on Brass (Tredegar Band)
2021: Festmusik – A Legacy (Onyx Brass)
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)

2023 Solo CD of the Year

Not a great number of releases in terms of quantity, but there was a great deal of quality on show in 2023.  

These are the ones that made a mark with us. 


Doyen Recordings: CD418
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd740.asp

Casta Diva
Operatic Arias transcribed for Trumpet
Matilda Lloyd
Britten Sinfonia
Conductor: Rumon Gamba
Chandos Recordings: CHSA 5321
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd748.asp

Loudmouthed Beauty
Concert Pieces for Bass Trombone
Clare Farr
Featuring: Inger-Lise Ulsrud (organ); Sverre Riise (tenor trombone); Sidsel Walstad (harp); Petter Winroth (trombone); Sigstein Folgero (piano); Norwegian Trombone Ensemble
LAWO Recordings: CD LWC1242
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd755.asp

Oskar Bohme: Trumpet Concerto & Pieces
Matthias Hofs
The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen
Conductor: Tarmo Peltpokoski
Berlin Classics: 0302814BC
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd745.asp

Paris 1900
The Art of the Cornet
Soloist: Eric Aubier
Accompanist: Laurent Wagschal
Indesens Recordings: INDE152
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd737.asp

Rather Romantic — Beautiful Memories told by the Euphonium
Duo Giovivo
Featuring: Fabian Bloch and Muriel Zeiter
Genuin Recordings: GEN 22791
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd738.asp

The Recital Series Volume 1: Classics
Iain Culross & Howard Evans
Culross CD: CD001
Review: https://www.4barsrest.com/reviews/products/cd743.asp

Past Winners:

2022: Keep the Music Playing (James Fountain)
2021: Resurrection (Prof David King)
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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Saturday 20 April • Pemberton band room. Enfield street. Wigan WN5 8DZ

PEMBERTON OLD WIGAN DW BRASS BANDS - Guest soloista Glyn and Helen Williams

Saturday 20 April • Pemberton Old Wigan Band. Enfield Street,. Pemberton,. Wigan WN5 8DZ

Barnsley Brass -

Sunday 21 April • Holiday Inn, Barnsley Road, Dodworth, Barnsley S75 3JT

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band - Reading Festival of Brass: Open Workshop Rehearsal

Saturday 27 April • St Laurence Church, Reading RG1 3EJ

London Central Fellowship Band - Hemel Hempstead Salvation Army

Saturday 27 April • Waterhouse St, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1ES

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band

April 13 • We are seeking a ** Euphonium or Baritone ** player to join our ranks! This is an exciting time to join Reading Band having recently qualified for the fourth section national finals for the first time in 65 years!

Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band

April 13 • We are seeking an ** EEb Bass and BBb Bass ** player to join our ranks! This is an exciting time to join Reading Band having recently qualified for the fourth section national finals for the first time in 65 years!

North Lakes Brass

April 12 • 2ND & 3RD CORNET VACANCIES. Due to relocation, we're looking for two cornet players to complete our friendly lineup.. Promoted to the 3rd Section in 2024 we are a mainly contesting band and rehearse every Wednesday from 7:30 - 9:30 in the centre of Keswick.

Prof. Christopher Houlding

Conductor, Performer, Educator


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