Black Dyke Band (Saturday 29 Jan 7.30pm)


Fredrick Schjelderup A Fantasy of Joy

Philip Wilby The Light Fantastic

Malcolm Arnold (arr Farr) Four Cornish Dances

Interval (20 minutes)

Arthur Butterworth The Royal Border Bridge

Philip Sparke Fantasy for Euphonium

Bruce Broughton Heroes

i. Ignition
ii. The Sea of Tranquillity
iii. Return

Brett Baker trombone
Daniel Thomas euphonium
Nicholas Childs conductor



Brett Baker (trombone)

Brett Baker is viewed, around the world, as a leading brass performer and educator. He is one of the most recorded brass soloists and is particularly passionate about encouraging composers to write pioneering new repertoire. Illustrating this, in 2018 he premiered Nigel Clarkes Outrageous Fortune for Trombone and in 2020 he premiered Oliver Waespi’s Scene Change at the RNCM Brass Band Festival.

It was back in 2000 that Brett was invited by Professor Nicholas Childs to join the Black Dyke Band, going on to achieve enviable concert and contest successes most recently the Open Brass Band Championships in 2014, the European Brass Band Championships in 2015 and Yorkshire Area in 2017, 2018 and 2020. Brett has also continued to play for other ensembles and Concert Bands. In 2020 Brett won the ITA Presidents Award for solo performance and services to the International Trombone Association.

Brett is General Manager of Geneva Group, an ambassador for Michael Rath Brass Instruments, Trombone Tutor at the University of Salford (Manchester) and Principal Trombone of the world-famous Black Dyke Band. He was Festival Director of the Singapore, Thailand and Philippine Low Brass Festivals from 2013-2017. He is a Past Chair and Past President of the British Trombone Society and after many years as Awards Chair, Brett is now Chair of the Research Advisory Council for the International Trombone Association. He increasingly works as a conductor and adjudicator in festivals and in band competitions.

Daniel Thomas (euphonium)

Born in Abergavenny and raised in Rhymney in the valleys of South Wales, Daniel studied euphonium in Manchester at the RNCM. He joined the Black Dyke Band, taking over from Ian Yates as the band’s second euphonium. Since starting his studies in Manchester, Daniel has participated in and won both the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award and the Euphonium Artist Competition at the ITEC (International Tuba Euphonium Conference) festival, held in Knoxville, Tennessee.

He became Black Dyke’s Solo Euphonium in December 2016, occupying the seat previously held by many of his playing idols, such as Morgan Griffiths, David Thornton, Robert Childs, John Clough, and Gary Curtin. In 2017, Daniel won the Best Instrumentalist prize at the Yorkshire Regional Championships and in 2019, he was awarded the Geoff Whitham award as the outstanding euphonium player at the British Open Championships. In 2020, Daniel graduated from the RNCM with a Distinction in his Master’s degree.

Complementing his playing career, he currently works as a Performance and Development Artist for the Geneva Instruments Group.

Nicholas Childs (conductor)

Hailing from Wales Professor Nicholas Childs is heralded as a leading figure in the world-wide brass community and has achieved the highest international reputation as a performer, teacher-clinician, conductor, interpreter and advocate of new music and producer of pace-setting recordings. His current tenure as Principal Conductor and Director of Music of the Black Dyke Band has been marked with continued contest success, most recently in claiming the 2014 British Open and National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain, being given the Harry Mortimer Maestro Award for his outstanding ability as a conductor and being named the 2014 Conductor of the Year by and Brass Band World.

His commitment to new work and enlarging the musical literature of the brass world has seen him premier many new works with the Black Dyke Band by leading British composers, and his recordings with Black Dyke Band have been heralded as the very best in the brass band world, including multiple CD of the Year awards. Among these are outstanding collections of the music of Eric Ball, Edward Gregson, Peter Graham, Wilfred Heaton, and Philip Wilby.

Representative honours that have been given to Nicholas include an Honorary Doctorate from Leeds Metropolitan University where he served as Professor in Music and Recording, the Iles Medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians in recognition of services to brass bands, and the Freedom of the City of London.

Black Dyke Band

Since its formation in 1855, the record of achievement of the Black Dyke Band can be considered without parallel in the Brass Band world. Everything that has been accomplished stems from a core principle held by all band members, past and present, that the Band exists to promote the very highest quality of musicianship at all times.

In October 2014, Black Dyke Band was crowned National Champions and Zoe Hancock won the Best Instrumentalist prize. Although the Band have not entered the competition every year, this was the 23rd occasion that they have won the title. In May 2015, they became European Champions for the thirteenth time, and Gary Curtin won the Best Instrumentalist prize. In September 2014, the Band were awarded first prize at the British Open Championship held in Symphony Hall, Birmingham along with Best Euphonium prize awarded to Gary Curtin and Best Soloist prize awarded to Zoe Hancock. Although they have not entered the competition every year, this was the 30th time that they had been declared British Open Champions.

The band today continues to strive to produce the finest music and also to innovate. Despite its history, the band has never been stuck in the past, and musical achievement has often gone hand in hand with musical risk taking.

The Band were proud to be appointed the first-ever ‘Band in Residence’ at the RNCM and is now a Partner of the College. Many exciting projects are planned to further brass activities, including major concerts featuring soloists from the RNCM, open rehearsals that students will be encouraged to attend and new compositions and Gala Concerts.

Programme notes:

Frederick Schjelderup - A Fantasy of Joy

Fredrick Schjelderup (b.1990) comes from from Sandsli, Bergen (Norway). He was a member of Eikanger-Bjørsvik Musikklag between 2007 and 2017. Fredrick started composing whilst studying at Manger Folkehøgskule, where he took lessons with Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen. Whilst studying at the Grieg Academy of Music (University of Bergen) his music was performed in various countries around the world. In 2015, a year after graduating, his work Light was chosen as a set work for the Flemish Open (Section C) in Mechelen, Belgium. A Fantasy of Joy, is a modern twist on Beethoven’s famous Ode to Joy and was premiered by  Black Dyke Band at the National Championships of Great Britain’s Gala Concert in 2021.

Philip Wilby - The Light Fantastic

This score celebrates the life, energy, and influence  of  Dr Colin R Harrison CBE, eminent scientist, industrialist and inspirational leader and latterly Capitular Canon of Ripon Cathedral, who died in 2019. It was commissioned by Dr. Harrison’s widow Janina for Brett Baker. Wilby writes:

“In planning the complexities of this score, his widow Janina and I enjoyed memories of his time at the Cathedral. There were some solemnities and some reflective moments, of course,  but also some lighted hearted and happy times.  In consequence of this mixture of memories, I have chosen to write a piece that reuses the pattern of the popular dance suites of the late baroque era. Typically this involves the stately opening and complex inner movement  of a French Overture, followed by a string of dances. These include Kemp’s Jig, a tribute to Shakespeare’s famous clown who danced from London to Norwich in nine days,  a solo Adage, a Duo Jive, and a comedia dell’arte Trio for solemn Pantalone,  lovely Columbina, and  clown Pulcinella.  One of Janina’s abiding memories was of Colin dancing the ‘Harrison Hop’.  She described it thus…‘We learnt the jive, but unfortunately Colin frequently got it wrong  and so he was forced to put in a little hop so as to correct himself and try to keep in time.  One of my last happy memories of him was of him dancing his strange but loveable dance, not one that would score any points in Strictly Come Dancing!”

Malcolm Arnold (arr Ray Farr) - Four Cornish Dances

Four Cornish Dances was composed in 1966, during the period Malcolm Arnold was living with his second wife Isobel in Primrose Cottage at St Merryn, near Padstow. Having recently escaped from a frantic London life, he entered into the spirit of brass bands and other local music making. Arnold wrote:

“The Cornish People have a highly developed sense of humour. Many are sea-faring folk, and it is a land of male voice choirs, brass band, Methodism, May Days and Moody and Sankey hymns. The Cornish, despite or even because of their great sense of independence have been ruthlessly exploited. The deserted engine houses of the tin and copper mines bear silent witness to this, and these ruins radiate a strange and sad beauty. I hope some of these things are present in this music, which is Cornish through the eyes of a ‘furrener’. I am now aggressively, chauvinistically Cornish.”

Arthur Butterworth - The Royal Border Bridge, Berwick on Tweed

One of Butterworth’s best known brass band compositions, this is the third movement of Three Impressions for Brass (Op 36), composed in 1968.

Philip Sparke - Fantasy for Euphonium

This showpiece for euphonium was composed in 1978 and has become a modern classic for euphonium players around the world.

Bruce Broughton - Heroes

Double Academy Award nominee and 10 times Emmy Award winner Bruce Broughton has composed for brass band since his youth in The Salvation Army.  Originally premiered by Black Dyke Band at the Brass Pass Band of the Year Contest 2019, Heroes was also chosen as the test piece for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain last year.

This cinematic work celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the achievements of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. There are three movements. Ignition, which launches the work, propels us into orbit with the composer’s characteristically dynamic rhythmic. In the second, the ethereal beauty of The Sea of Tranquillity provides the soloists an opportunity to show their lyrical prowess. The final Section, Return is a technical tour-de-force, developing material from the earlier sections before a reprise of the Tranquillity melody brings to the work to a resounding conclusion.