Sunday, 2 November 2014

 Soloist/Presenter: Brett Baker

Accompanied by Ruth Webb (Piano) and

Black Dyke Band directed by Dr Nicholas Childs

Peel Hall, University of Salford, Thursday 28th November 2013

The evening event provided an invited audience with an opportunity to hear some of the outcomes of Brett Baker’s postgraduate research, undertaken at the University of Salford in partial fulfilment of the award of Doctor of Musical Arts.

Brett’s study has focused on the historical development of virtuoso trombone repertoire in various genres, combined with an evaluation of the impact of this material on the works for solo trombone that have been brought into the Brass Band literature.

Over the course of the evening, Brett’s fluent presentation, in which he gave a historical survey of the development of the trombone solo, was interspersed by some extremely fine solo playing including extracts and entire performances of some seven key works, accompanied by band or piano. In addition to the live performances, an early rendition of Leona Polka, recorded by Leo Zimmerman in 1905 was featured in the presentation. In the remaining selection, Brett performed Trombone Polka (Boulcourt), St Crispin (Rimmer), The Switchback (Sutton), Recitative and Romance (Heath), Romanza (Geehl), Dance Sequence (Wood) and the final movement of Sonata (Bourgeois).

The lecture recital concluded with a world premiere of the brass band and trombone version of Rob Wiffin’s “Concerto for Trombone”. In recognition of Brett’s tireless work, both as an international ambassador for brass music-making, and trombone performance in particular, and for his work in support of youth music and the Black Dyke movement, Dr Nicholas Childs brought the evening to a close by presenting Brett Baker with the Pondasher Award for services to the band over the past 14 years.


Professor Peter Graham commented on Brett’s achievement, saying “We are delighted to have Brett on the staff team at Salford University and to see him progressing so well with his research. He has recently undertaken leadership of the Musical Arts Pathway in the undergraduate music degree programme and we are delighted to be able to support some of the new initiatives he is bringing to the well-established music programmes at Salford”.

Undertaking the DMA at Salford University has been especially rewarding for Brett. He noted that “Salford has long been regarded as the home of band musicianship within the Higher Education sector and I am delighted to be playing a part in its ongoing success, both in my research and in my new leadership role which builds on my existing position as Performance Fellow for the Music and Performance Directorate”.


On completion of the doctorate, Brett will be joining the ranks of some of the most highly esteemed practitioners in their field, with composers, performers and conductors holding Salford’s DMA/PhD including Doctors Nigel Clarke, David King, Nicholas Childs, Robert Childs, Howard Evans, Stephen Cobb, Peter Graham, Robin Dewhurst, Luc Vertommen, Eddie Severn, Neil Yates, Pete Meechan, Nick Grace, Dorothy Gates, Rachel Smith, Richard Rock, Martin Ellerby, James Dickenson, Goff Richards, Kenneth Downie, Chris Davis, James Gourlay and Roy Newsome.

Also currently on board with their doctoral studies at Salford are brass specialists including David Thornton and Adam Frey, and composers Rodney Newton, Phil Seward and Hummie Mann. DMA programme leader Robin Dewhurst said “It is a real privilege to be able to support candidates of high calibre, such as Brett, as they progress towards their doctorates. Having close association with musicians of such distinction is proving to bring a wide range of benefits to the current student body as we are able to involve alumni in the presentation of special master-classes, recitals and workshops.”

By Robin Dewhurst University of Salford

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