Junior RNCM Brass Band (Saturday 29 Jan 4.45pm)


Lennon & McCartney (arr Leigh Baker) With a little help from my friends

Harry White Concert Overture

Gavin Higgins Tree Song

Simon Dobson Rebellion

i. It starts with one
ii. A journey across the sea
iii. Songs of Protest

Gregory Davis (arr Reid Gilje) Blackbird Special


Leslie Neish, Juan Ortuño conductors



Les Neish (conductor)

Les Neish has created a career as a tuba soloist and educator with a world-wide reputation.  Known for his musicianship, artistry and high level of communication, Les dazzles audiences with fabulous technique and the real essence of music-making; Fun.

Performing the first solo tuba recital at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and the first tuba player to be awarded the Worshipful Company of Dyers Award at the Royal Overseas League Competition Les has always pushed the boundaries leading him to a performance at Millennium Park, Chicago and recording with pop star Sting.

Away from solo performance, Les is part of the tuba section of the Brass Band of Battle Creek and as a chamber musician is a member of the Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, a group with a 30 year history having performed in over 60 countries.  He has also performed with orchestras throughout the UK, including the Hallé, RTE Concert Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra.

Alongside his performing commitments Les is tuba tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire, RNCM Junior School, Salford University, Huddersfield University and Birmingham Conservatoire.  He has also given masterclasses at the Trinity College and Royal Academy of Music, London. He has served as tutor on the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, Scotland, Wales and Switzerland.

Juan Ortuño (conductor)

Spanish conductor Juan Ortuño is enjoying an exciting career in the UK, where he is principal conductor of the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra and the Gorton Philharmonic Orchestra. He also regularly conducts concerts with Crosby, North Staffordshire, Alderley Edge and Wilmslow Symphony Orchestras.

Juan also enjoys teaching young talented musicians in the Junior RNCM, where he also conducts the symphony orchestra. Upcoming projects include a collaboration with the Manchester University Confucius Institute to create an international Chinese choir.

After finishing his degrees in Spain, Juan was awarded with a scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to continue further studies in the UK. He obtained his Masters degree from the RNCM, where he studied with Clark Rundell and Mark Shanahan, and conducted his final concert with the Manchester Camerata.

Junior RNCM Brass Band

Every Saturday students travel from as far afield as North Wales, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the Midlands to be part of a vibrant community, to study in a welcoming and stimulating environment, and to soak up the creative atmosphere of one of the world’s best conservatoires. To complement an established Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and Vocal Ensemble, the Junior RNCM Brass Band was formed in September 2009 by Les Neish and Maria Molund. Les and Maria embraced the challenge of traditional brass band players and sounds, combined with orchestrally trained musicians (including French horns and trumpets) with gusto, creating a band with a vibrant sound and an eclectic taste. Jon Malaxtebarria joined the band as a conductor in September 2011 and has continued to introduce the band to a variety of styles and composers.

Today’s guest conductor, Juan Ortuño, joined the staff of the Junior RNCM in September 2009 and has worked with all their large ensembles.

To find out more about the Junior RNCM and to book a place at Open Day (Saturday 12 February 2022) contact Euan Au on 0161 907 5264 or email [email protected]

A note on Rebellion by Simon Dobson:

A few years ago my good friend Clive Zwanswiniski commissioned me to write a test work for his wonderful band of tiny rebels in Norway, the Jåtten Skolekorps brass band.

The result was my last commission before the world turned upside down. Rebellion is dedicated to young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and the activists of tomorrow, the young people of our world. The first  movement, It starts with one, charts Greta’s journey from protesting on her own until the world got on board and XR found its voice on a global stage. The second movement is called A journey across the sea telling of Greta’s journey across the ocean (to raise awareness of the greatest fight there is), which began in my home town of Plymouth, where I was lucky enough to be able to cheer her off on her journey.

The third movement Songs of Protest uses songs captured by myself and others during Extinction Rebellion UK rallies and marches around the UK and abroad, including their famous samba band call and responses.