It has been announced by the Worshipful Company of Musicians that Ian Porthouse and Bramwell Tovey are the respective recipients of the 2020 Iles Medal and Mortimer Medals.
The awards are presented by the leading City of London historic livery company in recognition of outstanding service to the brass band movement.
The Iles Medal was established in 1947 by John Henry Iles, a former Master of the Company, and is awarded annually to musicians who have made a significant contribution to the brass band movement.
Ian Porthouse is the Musical Director of Tredegar Band and Head of Brass Band Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
First coming to prominence as one of Britain's most distinguished cornet players, he was appointed principal cornet of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain at the age of 16. He later held the same role with many of the UK's leading bands, including Leyland, Desford, Black Dyke, Fairey, Yorkshire Building Society and Tredegar.
Following success with Pennine Brass which he founded, he was appointed Musical Director of Tredegar Town Band in 2008. While consistently achieving contest success, including two British Open victories, his development of an imaginative musical ethos has seen the band become a leading creative force in reaching out to new audiences.
This has included a ground breaking link with composer Gavin Higgins and the Rambert Ballet Company leading to the critically acclaimed world premiere of 'Dark Arteries' at Sadler's Wells in 2015.
The band was also invited to perform as part of the South Bank Centre's 'Changing Britain' retrospective festival at Queen Elizabeth Hall and further afield as the first brass band to provide a concert as part of the famous Bruckner Festival in Austria.
In 2015 they performed a major portion of the film score to the BAFTA award-winning film 'Pride' — a rare occasion when a full brass band has been included in a score of original film music, and became the first brass band to be invited to perform at the Old Vic Theatre in London — returning in 2018 to be part of its special 200th anniversary concert celebrations.
Palace of Westminster
In 2018 Tredegar was given the honour of becoming the first brass band to perform in the Speaker's House within the Palace of Westminster — giving the world premiere of 'Legacy' written in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service.
In addition, its CD releases 'Dark Arteries' and 'War Memorials' (with Cory Band) were voted 'CD of the Year' in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Maintaining its regular appearances at the RNCM Brass Band Festival in January 2020, Ian Porthouse conducted the band in virtuoso performances of 'Solemn Processional' (Richard Strauss arr. Hindmarsh), 'A Dialogue of Transmogrified Souls' (Daniel Hall — UK premiere), Ernest Tomlinson's demanding 'Cornet Concerto', with Philip Cobb as soloist, and 'Rococo Variations' (Edward Gregson). The concert was recorded for future transmission on BBC Radio 3.
As Head of Brass Band Studies at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where Tredegar is the brass band in residence, he has enhanced the profile and educational reputation of the course, enabling students to work and be tutored by leading exponents of brass playing.
The awards are presented by the leading City of London historic livery company in recognition of outstanding service to the brass band movement4BR
The Mortimer Medal recognises service in fostering new generations of brass band musicians, having been endowed in 1995 in memory of Harry Mortimer by his widow, Margaret Mortimer.
Bramwell Tovey will receive the Mortimer Medal in recognition of his work as Artistic Director of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (NYBBGB), a position held since 2006.
Alongside his distinguished international career as an orchestral conductor, Bram Tovey has maintained an exceptional level of commitment to the NYBBGB.
He has inspired hundreds of young musicians and has played a seminal role in mentoring a number of members of the band who have gone on to excel in the profession.
Currently the chief conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra, he is also Conductor Emeritus of the Vancouver Symphony, a post to which he was appointed in 2000.
He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and was the founding host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic's 'Summertime Classics' series at Avery Fisher Hall.
In 2008, he received a Grammy award for his recording of the Barber, Korngold, and Walton 'Violin Concertos' with James Ehnes and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. He regularly works as guest conductor with major symphony orchestras in Europe, the Far East and Australia.
His is a renowned advocate of the need for young people to have free and equal access to good quality music education, and instrumental tuition in particular, and in a symbolic act he chose to conduct his debut concert with the BBC Concert Orchestra at Ilford Town Hall in support of Redbridge Music Service, acknowledging the life-changing opportunities from which he himself benefitted whilst at school.
With the award Bramwell Tovey has the distinction of being the first musician to have been awarded both of the Company's medals, having received the Iles Medal in 2003.