Englishman Brett Baker is viewed internationally as a leading brass performer and educator. He is passionate about encouraging composers to write pioneering new repertoire and is one of the most recorded brass soloists. Brett is General Manager of Geneva Group, an ambassador for Michael Rath Brass Instruments and Principal Trombone of the world-famous Black Dyke Band. He is a Past-President of the British Trombone Society (2010-2012) and increasingly works as a conductor and adjudicator in festivals as well as band competitions.
In 2000 Brett was invited to join Black Dyke Band achieving enviable concert and contest successes most recently the European Brass Band Championships in 2015 and Yorkshire Area in 2017, 2018 and 2020. As well as a performance schedule of 60 concerts a year, Brett enjoys presenting workshops, specialising in solo performance and band training and adjudicating. Brett has played as a soloist at the International Trombone Festival (USA) and Trombonanza in Argentina, the American Trombone Workshop in Virginia, the Great American Brass Band Festival in Kentucky and the Singapore, Philippine and Thailand Low Brass Festivals. In 2020 he won the ITA Presidents Award for Solo Performance and services to the International Trombone Association.
Algirdas is in great demand, but we have got him! His bio will follow shortly, but for now take a look at his videos and social media!
Pontypool in South Wales has always been famous for its steel and “Front Row”, but with the rise of Owen Farr, the Music World is beginning to know it for its brass and the middle of the band. Owen began his musical career with the Pontypool Brass Band at the age of six. He soon joined Gwent County Youth Brass Band and the National Youth Brass Band of Wales, progressing to Principal Horn in both ensembles. Owen’s growing talent was recognised in 1995 when he became the British Open Junior Solo Champion and was appointed Solo Horn for the Tredegar Town Band at the tender age of sixteen. He consolidated the precocious promise of his youth by enrolling in what was arguably the centre of excellence for brass musicianship at the time, the Royal Northern College of Music, in 1998. Six months later he joined the famous Williams Fairey Band. Owen thrived in both these environments and was voted “Player of the Year” by his fellow players at the band. He enjoyed many successful solo performances with the band and was also a key member in their two National Finals victories.
2002 was an extremely busy year for Owen; he graduated from the Royal Northern where his talent was recognised by his immediate appointment to the department as Tenor Horn Teacher. He also accepted a teaching post at Liverpool University. On top of this busy teaching schedule, he also went on to form “Sonar Brass” alongside Richard Marshall, Alan Morrison, Nicholas Hudson and Shaun Crowther.
This dynamic ensemble has enjoyed great success, culminating in prestigious broadcasts such as “Listen to the Band” and “Friday Night is Music Night”. Owen is dedicated to improving the pedagogy of the Tenor Horn and is constantly exploring ways of improving teaching methods for the instrument he loves. This can be seen both in the positions he holds in the Birmingham Conservatoire (Lecturer in Brass Scoring and Arranging) and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (Tenor Horn Tutor) and is his work as a Besson clinician where he tours the country raising awareness of the Tenor Horn with his lyrical tone and stunning technical precision. Owen was extremely pleased to be able to return to the “Land of his fathers” by joining the Buy as you View Band in 2004.
Owen is in many ways a musician’s musician, combining amazing skill on the instrument of his choice with a passionate urge to know everything about his profession and develop that body of knowledge even further. The promise of his early talent has blossomed into an assured maturity that ensures Owen’s place in the “Front Row” of brass band musicians, soloists and educators for the 21st Century. Owen Farr is an official Besson tester, involved in the development of Besson tenor horns.
We are delighted to offer a treat for the most ignored but most important section of the Brass Band. Whereas percussion is often seen as a garnish in Brass Bands it really is the driving force behind all the great Brass Bands!
As no-one really knows the name of any percussionists in the brass band world, we are honoured to have Fodens principal percussionist Mark Landon join us on this course as specific percussion tutor.Mark is a semi-professional percussionist and teacher based in the Manchester area. He studied at Huddersfield University under the guidance of percussion teacher Chris Bradley and gained a 2:1 Bmus (hons) music degree. He now teaches classical percussion at Salford University, works for the Warrington music service and teaches at Stockport grammar school as well as running 5 percussion ensembles. He is in much demand as a soloist, and has provided many workshops and masterclasses as well as adjudicating music festivals and solo competitions both in the UK and abroad.
Mark has been the principal percussionist for the Foden’s Brass Band for over 20 years and has toured both the UK and abroad playing solos in many renowned venues. During the year Mark works with some of the country’s best young musicians tutoring them at the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and National Youth Brass Band of Scotland as well as tutoring on brass band summer schools in Bolsover, Armagh (N.Ireland ), Denmark and now Las Vegas! In addition, he also works as a freelance musician playing in shows, Orchestras and chamber music ensembles.