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2014 Brass Festival

View the 2014 Brass Festival programme here (PDF, 623 KB)

Returning for its third year, and still the only annual festival of its kind in Scotland, the 2014 St Andrews Brass Festival welcomes over 150 brass players from across the country for a range of concerts and events exploring all facets of the rich history and exciting future of brass music. The range of musical styles to be performed during the five-day festival draws upon the unparalleled historical depth of brass music which continues to attract listeners and performers from the jazz, classical and traditional music worlds. 

Opening the festival on Wednesday 12th November with a lunchtime concert in the Younger Hall is Fife-born international trumpet virtuoso John Wallace with his newly reformed Wallace Collection. Festival Director Bede Williams is delighted: “it’s a real coup for John to bring his ensemble here; there are few brass ensembles in the world that have not felt the effects of John’s pioneering approach to programming over the past few decades.” The New Wallace Collection, as they are now known, will perform a programme on historical and modern instruments including the Boehme Sextet and the Scottish premier of Eddie McGuire’s Songs of the North with soprano soloists Jenny Stewart and Olivia Clark. Those wanting to know more about John’s most recent research into period performance can hear him speak at the 2.30pm Research Seminar held in the Byre Theatre.

On Thursday evening the Festival carries on where St Andrews Voices left off with a concert of brass and vocal music by Gabrieli, Schutz and Monteverdi performed by the St Andrews Renaissance Singers and St Andrews Brass. Much of the music in this concert will be performed in ‘surround sound’ and in some cases even in quadraphonic sound, utilising all four corners of the historic St Salvator’s Chapel. On Friday evening in the Younger Hall, students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and St Mary’s Music School perform with Nigel Boddice and John Kenny: on the bill are two works which again combine brass with other instruments and timbres. Terry Johns’ Paolozzi’s Window features the traditional brass quintet with piano, requiring a delicate and refined touch from both to execute his exquisitely sensual harmonic language. Steve Foreman’s Clydean Coronaries on the other hand pits brass against bagpipes, not in the typical ceremonial fashion, but in a more virtuosic tour-de-force requiring the solo bagpiper (here played by the Royal Conservatoire Scottish Music Head Joshua Dickson) to integrate with intricate ensemble playing.

On Saturday afternoon the Festival welcomes the extraordinary Carnoustie and District Youth Band. Formed in 2008 and led by the inspirational Michael Robertson, this band has achieved unequalled success in national competitions and even performed at the BBC Proms. Joining them are Kingdom Brass who will perform the Scottish premier of Paul Mealor’s Baritone Concerto with third year University student Sarah Knight as soloist. Also in the concert is a performance of The Severn Suite by Elgar – his only original composition for brass band. On Saturday evening the University Wind Band and Big Band take to the stage in a programme titled A Guide to the Galaxy. For an entertaining evening of music inspired by Space, this eclectic concert brings together brass with woodwinds whilst showcasing the talent of the students studying at the University of St Andrews.

On Sunday the Festival closes with performances by the Alba Brass Quintet and the St Andrews Scholarship Brass Quintet. University Chaplain, the Rev Dr Donald MacEwan will lead the 1100 University Service at St Salvator’s Chapel with the Alba Brass Quintet (frequently seen on BBC Songs of Praise) performing alongside St Salvator’s Chapel Choir and organ.  On Sunday afternoon, the Bell Pettigrew Museum hosts a concert by the St Andrews Scholarship Brass Quintet inspired by Nature. This short, family-friendly event will include Vivaldi’s Winter, Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals, and the first performance of Sidewinder from Snakes by Stuart Murray.  

The concerts on Wednesday lunchtime and Saturday evening are ticketed (view details here ) , all other concerts are free.