In celebration of his recent 70th birthday, Edward Gregson is to be the guest of honour at the Swedish Brass Band Festival, to be held in Varnamo, Sweden, from 13-15 November. All the set test pieces to be played at the festival are by him, and there will also be music from his pen at the Gala Concert. The set works for the three competing sections are Dances and Arias (1984), Occasion (1986), and Partita (1971), with pieces from his ‘New Horizons for Brass Ensemble’ as the choice for the young brass players. Gregson will also be adjudicating at some of the festival and will be conducting ‘A Swedish March’, which he wrote in 1975 for the International Wind and Brass Summer School in Jonkoping.
Gregson has a long association with Sweden. He first visited the country in 1964 for a Student Conference (the result was his first brass band composition, the march ‘Dalaro’. He returned in the early 1970s as a guest conductor with Stockholm’s Solna Brass, featuring a number of his works. In the 1980s he again returned to conduct a concert, broadcast by Swedish Radio, with the Gothenburg Brass Band. Among his own works he conducted on that occasion were ‘Dances and Arias’ and the Horn Concerto, with Ib Lanzsky Otto, the then principal horn of the Stockholm Philharmonic, as soloist.
The composer says: ‘it is an honour for me to be the guest at the Swedish Brass Band Festival. I greatly admire the brass band tradition in Sweden, and although it is not as large an organisation as say in Norway, it has produced many fine players, and continues to have an enthusiastic following. I look forward to renewing my acquaintance with the many friends I have there.’