Spanish euphonium success in Jeju

José Manuel Vázquez Calatayud of Spain has joined a prestigious list of past euphonium winners of the Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival Brass Competition.

  Jose Manuel Vazquez Calatayud with his fellow finalists

The worldwide appeal of the euphonium as a major brass solo instrument was certainly seen at the latest Jeju International Wind Ensemble Festival.

The 17th edition of the event featured separate competitions for euphonium, bass trombone, tuba and percussion (rotating bi-annually with trumpet, horn, tenor trombone and brass quintet), with a record 42 euphonium players entering from around the globe.

Unanimous winner

The unanimous winner in the view of panel was Jose Manuel Vazquez Calatayud of Spain, with the Japanese duo of Akira Kimura and Yuki Yamazaki claiming the podium prizes.

The international panel of seven jury members listened to performances in three rounds featuring music by Rolf Willhelm, Andy Scott, David Gillingham, Jukka Linkola and Georg PhilippTelemann.

18 performers went through to the second round where three were eventually chosen for the final, which came with the added attraction of cash prizes worth USD $8000, $6000 and $4000 respectively.

Here, the Jeju Philharmonic Orchestra provided the excellent accompaniment each of whom performed Edward Gregson's fearsome 'Euphonium Concerto'.

Wonderful endorsement

Jury Member and former Artistic Director of the Festival, Steven Mead told 4BR: "This was another wonderful endorsement of the importance and prestige of the competition.

Once again the standard was excellent and the three finalists produced performances of great musicality after an exhaustive qualification process and rehearsals."

He added: "Edward Gregson's concerto was a wonderful test of musicianship in the final — one enjoyed by competitors, the orchestra and the audience.

Congratulations to all 42 participants who have given us a very high display of euphonium artistry here in this year's competition, and a very big thanks to all my colleagues in the jury who've been a pleasure to work."


José Manuel hails from Betanzos and now lives in Palma De Mallorca. He went to Conservatori Superior de Musica de led Illes Balears and studies at the HSLU Hochschule Luzern.

Former champion and jury member Bastien Baumet added: "Congratulations — amazing performance."

One of the first people to offer their congratulations was the concerto composer, with Edward Gregson telling 4BR: "I'm delighted that the Jeju competition chose my Euphonium Concerto as the set work for the finals.

There is no better way for a composer to have his music disseminated internationally than to have over 40 young euphonium players prepare it for the final they hoped to get to."

This was another wonderful endorsement of the importance and prestige of the competitionSteven Mead


He added: "My grateful thanks are of course due to David Childs, who originally commissioned the concerto and who has promoted it so wonderfully through his various performances and recordings and to the wonderful winner and finalists — all of whom delivered performances of such accomplishment."

The premiere recording of the brass band version of the concerto, with David Childs and Black Dyke Band conducted by Nicholas Childs, will be released at the British Open on 10th September. The orchestral version featuring David and the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Ben Gernon, was released on the Chandos label in 2019.

Another of the composer's low brass concertos was heard in a high profile event recently with Scottish virtuoso Ross Knight performing his 'Tuba Concerto' with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.


The Jeju final can be enjoyed at:


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