Dr L. Brett Baker ARCM – Artist for Michael Rath Trombones, Marketing Lead for Denis Wick & Alliance Products, Soloist, Educator, Adjudicator, Conductor and Presenter.
Brett Baker is an Artist for Michael Rath Brass Instruments, Marketing Lead for Denis Wick & Alliance Products. He an established Trombone Soloist and long serving Principal Trombone for the Black Dyke Band. He is a past President and past Chair of the BTS (British Trombone Society), a past I.T.A. Secretary and the current Chair of the I.T.A. (International Trombone Association) Research Advisory Council.
Brett is also a busy freelance conductor, experienced adjudicator, and very successful teacher, producer and presenter.
Englishman Brett Baker is viewed as one of Europe’s leading brass performers and educators. He is passionate about encouraging new composers to write pioneering new repertoire for the trombone having been involved in over 100 solo commissions for tenor trombone. Brett is Marketing Lead for Denis Wick & Alliance Products, an Artist for Michael Rath Brass Instruments and the longest serving Principal Trombone of the world-famous Black Dyke Band.
He was previously the Course Director of the Singapore and Thailand Low Brass Festivals, and Musical Director of the Bolsover International Brass Summer School. He is a past Chair and past President of the British Trombone Society (2010-2012), and a past Programme Leader and Music Lecturer at the University of Salford (2013-2019).
After being appointed Chair of the Awards Committee of the International Trombone Association he is now Chair of the Research Advisory Council for the ITA and Vice Chair of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators. During the pandemic Brett has produced and managed a series of recitals for Brass Pass TV and managed the JSVB Legacy recording projects.
Brett has performed with celebrated singers such as Alison Goldfrapp and Hayley Westenra, trumpet soloist Alison Bolsam and other trombone soloists such as Ian Bousfield, Wycliffe Gordon, Christian Lindberg and Joseph Alessi. Brett has played many times as a soloist at the International Trombone Festival in the USA most recently in 2023 and also at the Trombonanza Festival in Argentina. He has featured as a soloist at the American Trombone Workshop in Virginia, the Great American Brass Band Festival in Kentucky and the Singapore, Philippine and Thailand Low Brass Festivals.
Brett is one of the most recorded brass soloists in his genre, and as well as making numerous broadcasts, videos and TV appearances. He is also a former Trombone Solo Champion of Great Britain and an Associate of the Royal College of Music, London.
Brett’s research interests includes trombone solo repertoire from the 17th century to the American Civil War period, instrument design through modular construction, performance etiquette and the psychology of performance. He has produced over 40 solo CDs, 8 under his own label of White River Evocations, Brett features on a further 20 CDs as guest soloist under the Polyphonic, Chandos and Doyen labels. He has five sheet music solo albums with Kirklees Music and published many arrangements for trombone and piano with Studio Music.
Originally from the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, Brett was encouraged to play trombone by his father. His early teachers included Bryan Nelmes, David Rudge, Robert Morgan and Ken Harmon, whilst his early ensembles included the Bream and Lydbrook Silver Bands in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire. In 1989, he moved to Flowers Band and joined the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, of which he was principal trombone in both organisations for two years. His teachers at this time were Danny Hannaby of the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, Steve Walkley trombonist of the Fairey and Sun Life Bands and euphonium virtuoso, Lyndon Baglin.
In 1992, Brett was a Brass semi-finalist in BBC’s Young Musician of the Year in Manchester and shortly afterwards he moved north to study at Salford University, simultaneously joining Williams Fairey Band under Major Peter Parkes. At Fairey, his reputation as one of the finest players of his generation was firmly established. He was British Open Trombone Solo Champion in 1993, 1994 and 1995 and trombone tutor at Salford University from 1993 to 1996. He studied performance with Professor David King, whilst also taking Business Economics. His first solo recording, Bone Idyll, accompanied by Williams Fairey in 1996 gained much critical acclaim. His advisor at the time was Denis Wick.
In May 2000, Brett was invited to join Black Dyke Band under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Childs. At ‘Dyke’, he has played on over 100 CDs, and highlights include trips to the USA, Bermuda, Japan and Australia. Brett Baker, has had some impressive contest successes, gaining first at Brass in Concert, with Faireys whilst being the featured soloist, winning the North American Brass Band Association (NABBA), the Grand Shield and the All-England Masters. The Australian ‘Nationals’ and the European Championships. He has won the English Nationals, British Open Championships, the National Championships of Great Britain and Yorkshire Area on a number of occasions.
Pursuing a performing schedule of around 50 concerts a year, Brett Baker enjoys presenting workshops specialising in performance. He has been guest trombone tutor at The Salvation Army’s Star Lake Music Camp near New York, the National Youth Brass Band of Switzerland, the National Youth Band of Great Britain and the European Youth Band. He is trombone tutor of the National Youth Brass Band of Scotland, Dartington International Summer School and the International Brass Band Summer School, he has been trombone tutor of the Northern Brass Band Trust since 1992, having been its Course Director since 2000. From 2014-2017 he was Course Director of the Bolsover Summer School and in 2015 / 2016 Artistic Director for the Singapore, Philippines and Thailand Low Brass Festivals.
Brett was Chair and Vice-President of the British Trombone Society (BTS), in 2010 he became the societies President. Brett was Chair of the Awards Committee of the International Trombone Association (ITA) for 12 years, previously serving as the Executive’s Secretary from 2005-2010. He is currently Chair of the Research Advisory Council for the ITA.
As a brass clinician he has toured from Brazil to the USA and from the Antipodes to Western Europe. He has given workshops and recitals at numerous educational establishments including Birmingham Conservatory, Trinity Laban College, London, and Leeds University. During his trips abroad, he has performed at The Eastern Trombone Workshop in Washington DC, The Brazilian Trombone Festival, The University of Western Australia in Perth, Sydney & Wollongong Conservatorium’s in Australia, Melbourne School of Music, Australia, the New York Brass Conference USA, Cincinnatti and Cleveland Schools of Music USA, and the University of Toronto, Canada. He has been a guest soloist with bands in Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe, South America, North America and Japan.
Brett Baker has been a guest player with bands such as Foden’s, Yorkshire Building Society (Hammonds), Grimethorpe and Leyland bands, and has performed in Las Vegas, Chicago, Cleveland and New Orleans in the USA, Sydney Opera House, in Australia, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and Wembly Arena in London, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, The Sage, Gateshead and the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester.
In addition to his work as a performer, he is also acquiring a burgeoning reputation as a conductor and adjudicator. Having associations with many youth bands in the North of England, Brett has also achieved contest success with the likes of Northop, Ratby and Longridge bands.
Brett conducted Tongwynlais Temperance at the National Finals and he has been guest conductor of the Royal Northern College of Music Brass Band, and the University of Salford Brass Band, The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland, the European Youth Brass Band, Carlton Main Frickley Colliery and Leyland Band. Brett was conductor of the University of Salford, Symphonic Wind Band for five years. He currently conducts the Yorkshire Youth and North East Midlands Youth Brass Bands and recently guest conducted ‘The Film Orchestra’, in Worcestershire.
As an adjudicator, Brett, is a member of AoBBA serving on its executive as the Vice Chair and has judged many competitions and festivals including the International Trombone Association in the USA and the National Solo Championships in Switzerland. He has adjudicated at the Netherlands, Australian and New Zealand National Finals and many association and regional Championships.
For over 20 years, Brett Baker has been keen to promote new music for the trombone, commissioning over one hundred works from composers and arrangers such as Edward Gregson, Nigel Clarke, Rob Wiffin, Gavin Higgins, Oliver Waespi, Darrol Barry, Jan Van Der Roost, Duncan Stubbs, Kenneth Downie, Stephen Roberts, Ludovic Neurohr, Peter Graham, Paul Lovatt-Cooper, Dorothy Gates, Andrea Price, Lucy Pankhurst, Andrew Duncan, Philip Harper, Philip Sparke, Carl Vincent, Derek Bourgeois, Bill Broughton, Ralph Pearce, James McFadyen, Ray Steadmann-Allen, Marc Owen, Mike Fitzpatrick, Rodney Newton, Goff Richards, Robin Dewhurst, Ty Watson and Martin Ellerby, Barrie Forgie, Keith Wilkinson and Jonathan Bates.
In 2020, Brett was awarded the ITA ‘Presidents Award’ for his solo performances, recordings and service to the ITA.
“Brett Baker is surely at the pinnacle of his glittering career – his strength and depth of sound can give way in an instant to the most heart-warming delicacy, and his phenomenally flawless technique is equally matched by an elegant ability to enhance a melodic line with musicianship and responsiveness.” – Anthony Leggett, Brass Band World