facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us

*
banner

James Gourlay recognised as one of America's top 30 arts professionals of the year

James Gourlay's work in rejuvenating the artistic and financial success of Pittsburgh's River City Brass has been recognised by one of America's most influential on-line music publications.

jAMES gOURLAY
  James Gourlay has been the inspirational driving force behind the rejuvenation of River City Brass

The inspirational work of James Gourlay in rejuvenating the artistic and business model of the Pittsburgh based brass band River City Brass has seen him gain the prestigious accolade of being named as one of Musical America's 'Top 30 Professionals of the Year'.

Influential

Given by the influential Musical America website publication, it honours the '30 innovators, independent thinkers and entrepreneurs' in the worldwide performing arts industry that they recognise as having 'made the arts thrive'.

The recipients are regarded as leading forces in the arts field in the USA and beyond.

Founded in 1981, River City Brass was facing an uncertain future when the Scotsman arrived for the first time in 2010.

Obituary

With falling concert attendances and financial pressures, James told the Musical America website that "Pittsburgh newspapers already had our obituary in the top drawer".

However, in the next eight years under his leadership, the audiences as well as the finances of the band have been revitalised to such an extent that over 95% of supporters now renew their annual subscriptions and demand for concert tickets is at a record level.

River City Brass now performs upwards of 35 concerts per year — almost double that of when he arrived — all promoted through a remarkable sales motto of, "We can only eat what we kill" — a reference to their move from being what he calls "a pseudo-symphonic art-music organisation into an entertainment organisation."

So much so that long term supporters regularly get that extra level of customer care — with one 90 year subscriber enjoying a personal visit from James to play her 'Happy Birthday' at her Pittsburgh home4BR

Loyal subscriber base

In the past year alone it has seen a hugely successful concert inspired by Bollywood film music linked to the local Indian community — something that has resulted in a huge increase in what James refers to as, "a fiercely loyal subscriber base".

So much so that long term supporters regularly get that extra level of customer care — with one 90 year subscriber enjoying a personal visit from James to play her 'Happy Birthday' at her Pittsburgh home — whilst proactive promotional activity and ticket deals means that demand for concert tickets continues to increase.

Enviable position

James, who is an adjunct professor at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University, added: "We're now in an enviable position."

Brass bands in all parts of the world may want to take note of how the success has been achieved...

Support us for less than a cup of coffee...

4BR wants to ensure that the brass band movement remains vibrant and relevant. We also want to be able to question, challenge and critically examine those who run and play in it, producing high quality journalism that informs as well as entertains our readers.

So if like us you value a strong, independent perspective on the brass band world - then why not consider becoming a supporter and help make our future and that of a burgeoning brass band movement more secure.

So one less cappuccino then?

Support us    



National Finals

2019 National Finalists confirmed

March 18 • The list of bands who will challenge for National honours in the autumn is now complete following the last round of 2019 Regional contests on the weekend.


Tewit

Results: 2019 North of England Regional Championships

March 16 • East Yorkshire Motor Services, J36 Brass, North Skelton, Bearpark & Esh and Tewit Silver claim the honours in Durham


Chichester

Results: 2019 London & Southern Counties Regional Championships

March 16 • Friary, Amersham, Epsom & Ewell, Chichester City and Simon Langton Brass take the spoils at Stevenage.


Taff Vale

Report & Results: 2019 Welsh Regional Championships

March 16 • Tredegar lead the way in Wales as they claim the Championship title, with section awards going to Goodwick, Newport Borough, Taff Vale and Gwaun Cae Gurwen


Black Dyke Band - Mirfield Parish Church

Thursday 21 March • Mirfield Parish Church, 38 Church Lane, Mirfield WF14 9HX


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama Brass Band

Friday 22 March • Regent Hall (The Salvation Army). 275 Oxford Street Opp. RESERVED. London . W1C 2DJ W1C 2DJ


The Fairey Band - Ensembles from Bramhall High School

Friday 22 March • Seal Rd, Bramhall, Stockport SK7 2JT SK7 2JT


Black Dyke Band - Victoria Hall

Saturday 23 March • The Victoria Hall, Knowsley Street, Bolton BL1 2AS


Foden's Band - Matt Ford - Newtown, Powys

Saturday 23 March • The Hafren Theatre, Newtown, Powys SY16 4HU


Littleport Brass Band

March 19 • Littleport Brass are a second section band near Ely in Cambridgeshire rehearsing every Wednesday evening. We are looking for a soprano comet, Bb cornet and tuned percussionist. We are a friendly, active band working with our dynamic MD Ian Knapton.


Hathern Band

March 19 • Bass or Solo Trombone player required. We are 1st Section from January 2020 and are 10 mins from Junction 24 of the M1


Besses o' th' Barn Band

March 19 • Besses o th Barn Band have a vacancy for a cornet player, with the principal position available for a suitable candidate.. . We are also looking for a BBb Bass to complete our bass section. .


David A. Stowell


Conductor and composer