New Patron for City of Cambridge Brass Band

Discussion in 'Bandroom News - User Submitted' started by Bryan_sop, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. Bryan_sop

    Bryan_sop Active Member

    James MacMillan to become Patron of the City of Cambridge Band

    The City of Cambridge Band is delighted to announce that James MacMillan, the eminent Scottish composer has accepted the Band’s invitation to become its Patron.

    Mr MacMillan was approached about the position by Peter Bassano, the Band’s Musical Director who was appointed in the spring since which time the Band has pursued a more serious artistic policy than that normally associated with bands. The Band
    has quickly set up over the next year, a series of eleven church concerts throughout Cambridgeshire with programmes which are weightier than usual but so far have proved to be highly appreciated by the audiences.

    The Band is particularly keen to promote concerts of good contemporary band music much of which remains rarely, if ever performed in concert. Cambridge is an obvious place where this music, carefully programmed might resurface and still attract a respectable audience. Along with retaining the Band’s core audience for lighter music, Peter Bassano is anxious that the Band should quickly become identified with the more profound side of the repertoire and believes that James Macmillan’s patronage will go a long way to help achieve that.

    Peter Bassano, a former Head of Brass at the Royal College of Music comments:

    “Some twenty five years ago when I was trombone player with the newly formed brass quintet Equale Brass we asked Sir David Willcocks to become the quintet’s Patron. There were two reasons for asking Sir David, I knew him well because he was Director of the Royal College of Music where I was a professor and secondly because both of our trumpet players - John Wallace and John Miller - had been undergraduates at King’s College when Sir David was organist and choir master there. We discovered that having a well known patron gave a respectability to an otherwise unknown ensemble and helped to be taken seriously in more elevated musical circles.

    When I started conducting a few years later, as a conductor of Besses' o' th' Barn Band I asked Simon Rattle to become Besses' Patron, which he did, (as far as I know, he still is); as a result several festival engagements came our way and I was able to commission new works from Tim Souster, Joe Horovitz, and Andrew Powell. When I was at the RCM further commissions for band were provided by Chris Batchelor, Simon Dobson and Gabriela Swallow. More recently, Sir Thomas Allen, an old friend became Patron of my Wendover Choral Society, having his name associated with WCS has helped enormously with raising the Choir's artistic profile and, I believe fund-raising too. In the case of Sir Thomas he has helped in a practical way too by last year singing the role of Don Giovanni at a WCS concert.

    I couldn’t be more thrilled by James’ acceptance of the Band’s offer to become Patron. As a composer and conductor I hold him in the highest esteem. I have worked with him on many occasions, the first time at the Edinburgh Festival when he conducted my old orchestra, the Philharmonia in his formidible Confession of Isobel Gowdie during the same Festival I heard concert of choral music - a retrospective of his output from student days, all most impressive.
    James was appointed Director of the Music of Today series of pre-Royal Festival Hall contemporary concerts designed to whet the appetite of a conventional symphony orchestra audience for modern music. Last year I collaborated with him for concerts as part of the Aldburgh Easter Festival in works by Debussy, Britten, Mozart - MacMillan’s Seven Last Words From The Cross and the brass work Adam’s Rib. As well as Adam’s Rib James has already written a number of works for brass including early brass band work Festival Fanfares I hope that he might eventually find time to revisit the medium.”
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2006
  2. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Hope he writes something for the band, but I have a feeling you couldn't afford to commission him!
  3. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Here's hoping you can convince him to write a brass band piece. A superb coup, well done.
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    That's great news: if there's one name that always crops up in discussions about contemporary composers and brass it is James MacMillan. Hopefully hearing what a good band is capable of will spur him into action ;)

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