Gregson writes new symphony for brass band


This week sees the announcement of the commission of one of the most substantial ever symphonies for a brass band.

During 2012, The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and the National Youth Brass Band of Wales will be celebrating their 60th and 30th anniversaries respectively and this new work was jointly commissioned by the two bands with funding from Youth Music and T? Cerdd – Music Centre Wales.

Internationally acclaimed Edward Gregson, former Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music, was offered the opportunity to compose a new work for the two bands, and he opted to write a symphony.

“Symphony in two movements for brass band” is a substantial work, lasting some 17 minutes, and is both musically and technically demanding, as befits the occasion and the reputation of the two bands involved.

The composer commented: “When I was approached about a joint commission to write a new work to celebrate these milestones, I was delighted to accept and decided to respond by writing a work apposite for the magnitude of these special occasions, namely a symphony for brass.”
Edward Gregson mainly writes orchestral, chamber and instrumental music these days, but in the past has written quite a lot of music for brass bands and wind bands.

He continued: “In the past twenty years or so, I have written only three works for brass band, so that tells you that this is a sort of return to brass band composition for me.”

Phillip Biggs, Administrator of The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain explained that this was a most significant commission for a very significant year for the NYBBGB: “Since 1952, the year The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain was founded, the NYBBGB has commissioned many major composers and it is most fitting that in this Diamond Jubilee year the NYBBGB has commissioned the internationally renowned composer Edward Gregson. Everyone at the NYBBGB is delighted that Edward has accepted this commission.”

Robert Nicholls, Director of T? Cerdd-Music Centre Wales, said: “It is a pleasure for us to be able to announce this exciting news, and honoured that Professor Gregson has agreed to compose for this celebration. I’m sure the ‘Symphony in two movements for brass band’ will be a valued contribution to the brass band repertoire in general, and I sincerely hope that many bands will have the pleasure of performing the music in the future.”

He continued: “Since establishing National Youth Brass Band of Wales thirty years ago, Tŷ Cerdd has commissioned 20 major works over this period, but this is only the third symphony* for brass band that we have commissioned – so this is a very special moment.”

There will be performances of the new symphony at major concert venues to mark the anniversaries in the Spring and Summer. Venues and dates will be announced closer to that time.

For more information contact Gwion ap Rhisiart on 07779 123885 or gwion@g-ap.biz

*Alun Hoddinott’s Symphony for brass and percussion was the first, followed by John Pickard’s Gaya Symphony.