*
banner

Report & Result: 2019 Philip Jones International Brass Ensemble Competition

There is a heavy metal cash prize of £10,000 for the Connaught Brass quintet as they claim the inaugural Philip Jones Prize at the RNCM in Manchester.

cONNAUGHT
  The quintet is made up of final year students from the Royal Academy and Guildhall in London

The London-based Connaught Brass quintet won the inaugural Philip Jones International Brass Ensemble Competition at the RNCM in Manchester on the weekend.

Formed in 2016 and comprising five final year students from the Royal Academy of Music and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, they claimed the £10,000 Philip Jones Prize by the narrowest of margins according to the international panel of jurors, after a titanic three-hour showcase of performances by a trio of outstanding finalists.

RET Chamber Brass from Austria eventually came runner-up to secure the £7,500 Marah Mahlowe Prize, with London Metropolitan Brass taking the £5,000 Founder's Prize.

Extremely difficult

The panel of Jury Chairman Reinhold Friedrich, Barbara Butler, Roger Harvey, Oren Marshall and Froydis Ree Wekre, as well as the knowledgeable audience in the RNCM Concert Hall were certainly treated to ensemble playing of the highest quality.

The Chairman later told 4BR that the decision had been "extremely difficult"in not just in picking a winner, as the trio of 40-minute programmes demonstrated a wide variety of style, technique and artistic maturity.

Connaught Brass, comprising trumpets, Aaron Akugbo and Harry Plant, horn, Robyn Blair, trombone, Chris Brewster and tuba, Aled Meredith-Barrett, opened their set with the bubbling liquidity of Sven-David Sandstrom's 'Heavy Metal'.

It was followed by James Macmillan's three-part 'Adam's Rib', inspired by the reflective wonderment of creativity found within the Biblical text, before closing with a 'pick & mix' selection from 'Porgy & Bess', played with polished precision and a fair amount of Gershwin inspired panache.

Incredible feeling

Speaking to 4BR following a heady night of celebration, trumpeter Harry Plant said that winning such a prestigious award had been "an incredible feeling".

"We originally formed the ensemble in 2016, but the current line-up has been together now for just over a year and a half.

We are all about to enter our final year of study at either the Royal Academy or Guildhall and we entered the competition because we wanted to challenge ourselves on demanding repertoire against the best in the world.

We thoroughly enjoyed this experience and had one mindset throughout to make music in every performance — which is harder to do under the pressure of competition."

Brass band experience

Harry also revealed that both he and tuba player Aled Meredith-Barrett have brass band experience through their connections to Eastbourne Brass and Goodwick Brass respectively.

"We have, so it came in handy,"he added. "To win this competition is an incredible feeling for us all though, and one that will bring us even closer as a group and take us forward as a chamber ensemble."

And as for how the prize money will be spent, Harry laughed. "We've not really thought about it yet but we will be looking to invest it into the development of the group. We may have spent a bit of it last night in celebration though!"

Connaught Brass will now enjoy a busy summer with a performance spot at the Ferrandou Music Festival in France to look forward to, whilst the individual members are booked to play at the BBC Proms, various session work and a number of music courses across Europe.

To win this competition is an incredible feeling for us all though, and one that will bring us even closer as a group and take us forward as a chamber ensembleHarry Plant

High bar

As the Chairman of the Jury, Reinhold Friedrich admitted, the quality of the playing on show meant that it had been a very difficult decision to make.

RET Chamber Brass certainly provided a high-bar marker with a programme that included Victor Ewald's 'Brass Quintet No. 3 in D-flat Major Op. 7' performed on cornets and euphonium instead of trumpets and horn alongside the trombone and tuba, as well as Eino Tamberg's 'Music for five: Irrequieto e dolce' and Anders Hillborg's 'Brass Quintet'.

London Metropolitan Brass also included 'Adam's Rib' and Hillborg's 'Brass Quintet' in their set, alongside Bo Nilsson's 'Wendepunkt' and Eugene Bozza's 'Sonatine'.

The inaugural competition had attracted worldwide interest, with 13 ensembles making it through to the RNCM, where they were whittled down to six semi-finalists and then three finalists.

Throughout the week the ensembles had also benefited from a series of masterclasses, guidance and tuition from members of the jury — part of the inclusive concept inspired by Ursula Jones in memory of her husband.

Result:

1. Connaught Brass
2. RET Chamber Brass
3. London Metropolitan Brass

Become a supporter and help make our future secure.

4barsrest continues to be a proudly independent voice. There are no paywalls to overcome to be able to enjoy what we do to keep our journalism at the heart of the brass banding world. Support us with a one-off donation or subscribe from just £2.50 per month.

Support us    


nYBBS

Scottish Youth work towards virtual grand finale

June 4 • Composer Alan Fernie has been working with members of the National Youth Band of Scotland towards a fantastic musical finale for their virtual 2020 course.


Rong

Rong to reach out to global concert audience

June 4 • There is a chance to enjoy a free brass band concert from Rong Brass this weekend — introduced by a familiar face and featuring some great music.


Elgar

Classic test-pieces revisited No 2: The Severn Suite

June 4 • Prof Stephen Allen takes an in depth look at Edward Elgar's 'The Severn Suite' to find yet more intrigue and debate about its inspiration...


Thornton

'Ear, 'Ear with David Thornton...

June 4 • Brass Band England's latest online development programme sees David Thornton explore how we can learn from listening and how it can make a positive impact on our performances...


Regent Hall Concerts - International Trombone Ensemble

Friday 5 June • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street. (Opposite RESERVED). London. W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ


Foden's Band - Parr Hall, Warrington

Thursday 11 June • Pyramid Parr Hall, Palmyra Square S, Warrington WA1 1BL


Black Dyke Band - Halifax Minster

Thursday 11 June • The Causeway, Halifax HX1 1QL


Black Dyke Band - Black Dyke Arts Festival

Sunday 21 June • The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AD


Foden's Band - Prescot Festival

Friday 26 June • Prescot Church,, Church St, Prescot L34 3LA


Deepcar Brass Band

May 23 • Deepcar Band has a vacancy for a MUSICAL DIRECTOR. We are a 3rd section contesting band, rehearsing Monday & Friday nights.Our bandroom is equal distance to Sheffield, Barnsley & Huddersfield.


Chadderton Band

May 21 • Chadderton Band is a non-contesting band playing at various events throughout the year. We are a friendly band looking for players of all ages and abilities on all sections + EUPH and percussion. Come along to one of our rehearsals.


Forest of Dean Brass

May 21 • We are currently looking for a Euphonium and Front Row Cornet to join our friendly and ambitious 1st Section Band. We undertake a broad range of activities from supporting community events, charities and Contests, coming 3rd at the West of England Areas.


Prof. Christopher Houlding

MMus, GGSM, LRAM
Conductor, Performer, Educator


               

 © 2020 4barsrest.com Ltd