6 August, Royal College of Music, 7pm


Members of NYBBGB rehearsing during Easter residency © Joy Newbould

Eighty of the finest, most committed young brass players in the UK – all aged between 14 and 19 and drawn from across the country – take to the stage on 6 August to celebrate 70 years of The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain (NYBBGB).

In a typically adventurous programme, the concert is led by internationally acclaimed conductor Martyn Brabbins (whose earliest musical training was in a brass band). They are joined by soprano Nardus Williams, who sets a new bar for the future becoming the first prominent singer to guest with The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain.

Already known as one of the leading commissioners of new music for brass band, the centrepiece of the 70th Anniversary programme is the world premiere of a specially commissioned new work, Hyperlink, by renowned Scottish composer Peter Graham.

Also featured are two of Martyn Brabbins’ own colourful works for brass band, Here and There and There and Back and John Pickard’s 1995 symphonic suite Men of Stone. There are also cherished masterpieces of twentieth-century brass band repertoire including Eric Ball’s Resurgam, Denis Wright’s Tintagel, Derek Bourgeois’s playful Serenade, John Ireland’s Comedy Overture, and a selection of Canteloube’s Songs of the Auvergne with guest soloist Nardus Williams.

The celebratory concert begins a new chapter in the history of The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain under the new leadership of CEO Mark Bromley and Director of Artistic Planning Dr Robert Childs, whoserecent appointments follow the unexpected death of NYBBGB’s long-standing administrator Philip Biggs in 2019 and the standing down due to ill health of Artistic Director Bramwell Tovey in 2020.

The celebration embodies The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain’s ambitions for the future: to build on its great heritage and provide the best possible opportunities for young musicians to develop their musicianship, play together and inspire others through the highest quality artistic direction, teaching, and musical experience. To do this, NYBBGB aims to bring in a wider range of world-class conductors, soloists and composers; commission and perform more new music; celebrate the great works from cannon; and champion equality and inclusion in all its forms so children from all backgrounds can participate.

The NYBBGB is a vital part of the UK’s thriving brass band community, providing the next generation of players, teachers and music leaders, not just for the staggering 500+ brass bands that exist in every corner of the UK, but also for the world’s great orchestras and for the music industry as a whole.

More than ever before, the NYBBGB aims to further strengthen its crucial role by ensuring inclusivity and equal opportunities for aspiring players, regardless of their background. Through bursaries, grants and free auditions it enables young people from low- and middle-income households to participate. Currently nearly 70% of its membership is drawn from households where the income is below the national average. 16% come from households where the annual income is under £20,000.

Remarkably, the NYBBGB has already achieved a balance in gender equality, with equal numbers of girls and boys generally participating in its Easter and Summer courses, shattering commonly-held perceptions that brass playing is still a male-dominated preserve. It is also working to nurture more female conductors in the sector, including Anna Beresford, who is working alongside Martyn Brabbins in preparing the outstanding National Youth Brass Band for this concert.

Mark Bromley, CEO, says:

“The musicians of the National Youth Brass Band represent the best our country’s teenagers have to offer and we aim to provide an outstanding musical experience for them. With its excellent conductor, soloist and programme, our unmissable 70th birthday concert perfectly encapsulates our plans for the future. On one hand we are raising the artistic bar higher than ever through new commissions and working with world-class conductors, soloists, teachers and composers, and on the other, we are providing more opportunities than ever for outstanding young brass and percussion players to participate.”