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It is for the 6th time that the European Brass Band Association organizes the European Composers Contest. 15 entries have been received from which three best pieces were selected. These finalist’s pieces will be played at the final in the Konzerthaus Freiburg Thursday evening 30th April 2015 by Jugend Brass Band Nordrhein-Westfalen (Youth Brass Band Northrhine-Westfalia), conducted by Martin Schädlich.
About the contest
- the composition should be for standard brass band instrumentation and may include percussion;
- the duration of the composition should be a maximum of 12 minutes, and should be of a standard playable at 1st section level;
- the composition must not have previously been performed in public.
And also important, the composer should be a native European or resident in Europe and not be born before 1 January 1980.
The composer’s are not doing it for just the honour, although being played on an European stage is undoubtably a dream come true for every composer. There are also money prizes available: EUR 2500, 2000, 1500 and 500 (audience prize) and 500 (band prize), as well as special awards for the finalists. On Thursday afternoon (30th of April) the three finalists are attending a rehearsal where each are given 30 minutes to give the conductor and/or band some advice, only if necessary of course.
Martin Schädlich prepared the three pieces with his band and commented:
“We received the music in the middle of February. All three compositions are very individual pieces. On the technical and rhythmical side very demanding and a great challenge, but it is good fun to work with the pieces. The musicians from the YBB NRW are working extremly hard on their own and in the rehearsals with me, to bring out the musical ideas, lines and sounds of the composers. I was very clear with my musicians, that our task is not to find the best composition or to choose a piece that we like the most, but to bring the best out of every composition. Every composer, that joins this competition deserves this way of working. Of course we need to give a band price as well, but we will do it with an individual note of everybody, right after the rehearsal with the composers.
I'm looking forward to meet all composers personally and to hear their comments and reactions!
SO, WHO ARE THESE YOUNG COMPOSERS?
Christian Overhead (UK/The Netherlands)
Christian Overhead was born in Northamptonshire, England in 1989 into a banding family. At an early age, he joined a local trainingband at Thrapston Town. From there he moved to Rushden Windmill and then Raunds Temperance. He was with Raunds throughout its rise from 4th Section to Championship, filling the principal cornet seat for four years.
During his mid-teens, Christian began to take an interest in composition, studying orchestral and brass band scores in his spare time.In 2013, he made the move to The Netherlands to study composition in The Hague under Martijn Padding and Cornelis de Bondt. Last year, however, he decided to part ways with the Conservatorium, and now receives private tuition from respected Dutch band composer Rob Goorhuis. He is also a member of Brass Band Schoonhoven.
Christian has reached the final of several composition competitions, including the Ohio Brass Arts Festival, John Golland Award (at the Royal Northern College of Music) and the Slide Factory Trombone Festival. At the latter, his piece, Amid a Kaleidoscopic Mist, won the jury prize. He also composed Fanfare in Orange for Cory Band’s recent tour of The Netherlands.
Christian started on his composition just before he heard about the contest and thought that this was the opportunity to send it in.
Christian about his composition ‘Symmetricoil’:
“The piece draws inspiration from my work as an engineer. I have tried to musically depict the various sounds and overall atmosphere one might experience in a workshop or factory. As you can imagine from a piece such as this, it is highly rhythmic and, at some points, violently percussive. There is a hint of joviality in the opening section which is a nod to one of my co-workers who always managed to remain upbeat whatever the circumstances. The central slow section explores how the mind wanders whilst carrying out a monotonous task (which mine frequently did!) - this appears as a calm dreamlike passage amidst the chaos of the surrounding sections.
Dedicated to my former colleagues, who supported me during rough times (and watched me daydream whilst operating heavy machinery!)”
Ludovic Neurohr (Switzerland)
Ludovic Neurohr was born in 1983 and started playing the cornet at an early age with his village brass band, Marcelline, and studied under Géo-Pierre Moren from1995 to 2002. He has won numerous prizes during cantonal and national solo contests and, in 2003, became Swiss Junior Cornet Champion and all categories Swiss Junior Champion on flugel horn. From 2001 to 2005, he was repiano cornet with Brass Band 13 Etoiles, with which he has won many competitions.
Ludovic studied music at Tibor Varga Music Academy in Sion from 2003 with Claude-Alain Barmaz, obtaining a diploma in teaching the trumpet and a professional diploma in the theory of music in 2007. He also studied the piano for three years, as well as orchestration and chamber music.
In September 2007, Ludovic widened his musical knowledge by studying composition in Manchester, England, at the School of Media, Music and Performance at Salford University. He obtained a Masters with distinction in October 2008.
As a part-time job, Ludovic teaches music and Theatral Expression at the secondary school in Verbier, Sion and Ardévaz School.
...as a Glow
Concerto n°11 for Brass Band & Percussion on a Theme by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
“Before the explanation of my composition, it would be good to explain the substantive content of the work.
For this creation, I decided to use already existing material. In this case, the theme comes from the monumental work by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi "Stabat Mater Dolorosa". This religious music was written on a liturgical text of the XIIIth century evoking the suffering of Mary, Jesus Christ’s mother, at the crucifixion of his Son.
The beauty of counterpoint and harmonic friction of Pergolesi have definitely decided me to use this piece as a guide. They were in this situation very well adapted to the idea of my creation.
My grandfather is suffering of Bones Metastasis. This disease makes it very vulnerable and causes constant physical pain. With my family, we can see how some situations are much better for him. Sometimes we can see in his eyes like a glow that lets see a spark of joy.
I would like to dedicate this piece to my grandfather. To you, music lover and music fanatic ...
If you’re listening to this piece, just find light and don’t be afraid to meet it ... It’s illuminating your path ...
As I told you before, the piece is dedicated to my grandfather. Unfortunately he is ill but he lives for the moments with his family. When we all are with him you can see in his eyes those sparkles of joy and happiness. Before I go to Freiburg I will visit my grandfather and tell him about the contest and composition.
I am not a composer that puts a lot of instructions in the score. I like the audience to discover themselves and therefore want to leave room for personal interpretation.“
Stan Nieuwenhuis (The Netherlands)
Stan Nieuwenhuis is a young Dutch composer. He grew up in the Belgian brass scene playing for Brassband Buizingen, co-founding Exit Brass! and he recently started conducting Brassband Hombeek. Stan started playing trumpet and piano when he was eight. He studied at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven, where he received his masters degree in trumpet performance.
Meanwhile, Stan started composing and arranging and took masterclasses with Wim Henderickx. Stan’s compositions are mainly inspired by compelling stories, often with origins in the endless stream of information of our times. The euphonium concerto, Uphill, was inspired by the tragic story of a Somalian athlete,while Fall From Grace describes the demise of the Gadaffi empire. Fortune’s Fool and A King’s Lie, on the other hand, are inspired by literature. Stan’s works are being played and recorded by GlennVan Looy, David Thornton, Harmen Vanhoorne, Kristy Rowe, Exit Brass!, Manger Musikklag, Brassband Buizingen, Gunnedah Shire Band, Saitama Premier Brass, Kingdom Brass, Brassband Hombeek, the WDR Brassband from Cologne and many more. Stan doesn’t limit himself to brass band composition and is involved in music theatre, as well as writing pop songs and soundtracks. This versatility marks his musical voice.
Stan about his piece ‘L’Effet Divers’
“It is a concert suite for brassband in 4 seperated movements. Each movement is based on a bizar news fact that caught my eye.The link between the different stories is the bizarness. It is hard to believe that they really happened, which gives these little stories a poetic air.
The first movement 'Terre' is based on an argument between two neighbours about a piece of land. One of the two loses it and starts cutting down trees, burying a car, ploughing the garden and a field of corn, demolishing a brick wall and digging drains.
The second movement '3000' is the story of an old man losing his orientation in the car. He drives for three days and 3000 km around London before he is found by the police.
The third movement 'L'exigence' tells the story of a fugitive maffioso who is so lonely that he decides to accept a life in prison to feel better. His only demand is that the commander of the police arrests him officially.
The fourth and last movement 'Fleurs' is about a rich banker whose last will is to use the millions he leaves behind to brighten up his little hometown with a million flowers.
The music is based on the atmosphere of the stories and their characters but is never meant to tell the story through the music. The news facts were just starting points for my imagination. This composition is a call to look for beauty in small things and seemingly irrelevant stories.”
You are invited to come to the Final of the European Composer Competition on Thursday the 30th of April in the Konzerthaus at 20:00, where you can listen to three brand new brass band compositions and vote yourself your personal favourite composition.
The European Youth Brass Band under the inspiring baton of Uwe Köller will play a great and entertaining second half of the concert.