Sunday, 12 April, 2015
Following two very enjoyable days in Manchester, I am pleased to announce that under my baton, the Cardiff University Wind Ensemble were awarded the joint highest mark in the hardest difficulty category at the National Concert Band Festival Finals at the Royal Northern College of Music. The festival is the largest wind band competition in the UK and we chose to enter at the professional level category, a challenge which the band have really risen to. The judges praised our programme which was made up entirely of music by current and former students of the university, including a piece we commissioned for the festival by current PhD candidate Joseph Hillyard.
I began conducting the band two years ago and during that time we have focussed on programming music of young, British composers from within, and outside of the wind band movement. This academic year we took this ethos even further and began looking at music by current and former students. The band really responded to the repertoire we found (Cardiff University having a reputation for producing a good pedigree of band composers), and we realised we had enough music to record a CD.
With the support of the Cardiff University School of Music, the Students Union, and the Music Society, we were able to make this a reality and just days before competing in the festival we embarked on a hugely ambitious recording project. The band returned to Cardiff and spent two days in the University concert hall which became our studio. The recordings went off (virtually) without hitch and we’re all very excited to share the results with everybody later this year. The CD is made up entirely of music by current and former students and features the wind band version of my 2013 work Put A Tiger In Your Tank:
1) Activate – Matthew Hall
2) On The Edge – Daniel Bickerton
3) Crotalus Cerestes – Richard McReynolds (winner of our 2015 call for scores)
4) Welsh Airs and Dances – Alun Hoddinott
5) Put A Tiger In Your Tank – Martin Humphries
6) The Smile – Matthew Hall
7) Unexpected Reincarnation – Joseph Hillyard
8) Looking In – Tom Davoren
Thank you to everybody in the band for making both the CD and the festival such enormous successes!
We have lots of exciting plans lined up for next year including projects collaborating with the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and the University of Saskatchewan (Canada). Watch this space…