The world of brass bands owes Paul Hindmarsh a great debt of gratitude. Without him, the story of 25 years would have to be retold. He has achieved this with a single-minded dedication, enthusiasm, and patience. He has commissioned many composers to write for the medium, many of whom were new to the genre. Through the BBC in Manchester and now at the RNCM, Paul has developed the Brass Band Festival into the most ground-breaking annual festival of its childhood in the world.
As a journalist and author, Paul Hindmarsh has become a valued critic of important recent repertoire for brass band, and it will be his writings that we will be judged by subsequent generations. In particular, he has been tireless in his advocacy for the music of Wilfred Heaton, and without his work, many of that fine but elusive composer’s less well-known scores would now be lost to the world.
For as long as I can remember, the experience of music has been an essential ingredient of my life. I am a dedicated musician with a wide range of tastes and enthusiasms, from medieval troubadour songs and plainsong, through the great classics of the 18th and 19th centuries of composers and performers in many genres. The essence of my musical upbringing in the Salvation Army (in Cambridge and then Croydon) and subsequent training, at the Royal College of Music (Trombone) and Birmingham University, was range and versatility. For over four decades, I have pursued parallel ‘careers’ in music – as a professional producer and performer, both activities enhanced and informed by a steady flow of research, writing and editing..
Paul Hindmarsh and Fiona Milne recording for Chandos in 1983
Between 1976 and 1985, following a period of full-time postgraduate research, I combined the post of Librarian, Scottish Music Archive (now Scottish Music Centre) in Glasgow with professional singing, specialising in the tenor concert repertoire. Having been interested in the voice since childhood, I studied privately in Glasgow with the eminent teacher, Joan Alexander. I became a member of Scotland’s only professional chamber choir of that period, The John Currie Singers, and was the tenor soloist of The Scottish Early Music Consort. From 1985, in Manchester, I joined The BBC Northern Singers. With these ensembles I performed a wide range of choral repertoire from Renaissance polyphony to new commissions, appearing in subscription series, broadcasts, festival concerts (BBC Proms, Edinburgh Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, New York, Jerusalem Festival), tours and recordings).
As a concert soloist, I performed with choral societies throughout the British Isles, and was most in demand for baroque and classical oratorio – in particular the sacred works of Handel and Monteverdi and the roles of Evangelist in the great Bach Passions. This busy area of music performance was cut short late in 1989 following head injuries caused by a cycling accident.
BBC Music Production
In 1985, I joined the BBC in Manchester as a music producer for Radio 3 and in a 21 year broadcasting career across the full range of the station’s output, with an emphasis on British, orchestral, choral, chamber and band music. I established the BBC Festival of Brass (now RNCM Brass Band Festival) in 1990 and received several Sony Award nominations, including the feature Elgar’s final Enigma – Symphony No. 3 , which led to Anthony Payne’s historic realisation of this unfinished work, and a bronze award for a drive-time ‘special’, Who Murdered Mozart? During my time at Radio 3, I also encouraged the commissioning of new music for brass band, including Paganini Variations (Philip Wilby), Songs for BL (Elgar Howarth), Whitsun Wakes (Michael Ball), Prague (Judith Bingham) and The Maunsell Forts (John McCabe). I had a great time producing the Sunday evening series Choirworks (now called The Choir ) and the Saturday afternoon series Discovering Music.
Dimpho de Kopane recording for BBC Radio 3 in South Africa, 2005
Working with choirs and bands from the North of England – Hallé Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Orchestra or Opera North – brought me into contact with some of the world’s greatest soloists and conductors. No wonder I enjoyed my job so much!
Working with bands
Paul Hindmarsh rehearsing Besses o’ th’ Barn Reunion Band in Bury Parish Church, 2018
In 1990, I was invited to become the Musical Director of the famous Besses’ Barn Band. This appointment re-kindled my involvement in the amateur musical communities of the UK. For three years I directed Besses in a range of broadcasts for BBC Radio 2 and 3, its busy concert schedule including festival appearances at Lichfield, Chester, Newbury and Harrogate, and in contests (including the ‘Open’ and ‘National’ championships). From time to time, I work as a guest conductor or coach with North West bands. I am pleased and proud to have commissioned over 30 works for brass band through the BBC, the Brass Trust Heritage Trust, which I founded in 1996, and The John Golland Trust. The trusts has supported new commissions by John Pickard (Eden in 2005 and Rain, Steam and Speed in 2017), Lucy Pankhurst, Simon Dobson, Gavin Higgins, Kenneth Hesketh, Daniel Hall among others. In 2005, I was both surprised and honoured to receivethe Iles Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians for Services to the brass band community.
I left the BBC in 2006 to set up my own production company specialising in music journalism, CD production and music editing and in 2012 I started to publish my work and that of others. I have been Artistic Director of the RNCM Brass Band Festival since 2005. For 10 years (2007-17) I served as Director of Concerts for the Manchester Mid-day Concerts Society at Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, and was privileged to curate the Society’s centenary season in 2015. Since 2016 I have served as the chair of the European Brass Band Association Music Commission, which overseas the musical aspects of the annual European Brass Band Championships.
In 2006 I was invited to become Editor of Brass Band World, a monthly magazine for the brass band community. Between 2010 and 2018, I enjoyed serving as Editor of The British Bandsman, writing regular features, reviews and reports for this long established magazine, which celebrated 125 years in 2012. I am a regular contributor of programme for major recording companies, including Chandos, Hyperion and the World of Brass labels. As consultant editor for Faber Music’s prestigious Brass and Wind Band Series (2008-18), I enjoyed developing brass and wind repertoire.
Writing and research
Since the mid-1970s, historical and analytical research has provided an additional dimension to my musical life. British music of the past 150 years has been my special field of interest. My Thematic Catalogue of the music of Frank Bridge (1879 – 1941) became the standard reference work on this composer. It was substantially updated and revised in 2016 as Frank Bridge: The Complete Works.
A number of articles and CD notes on Bridge ‘s music have followed, including the acclaimed orchestral music series from Chandos, for which I was also the music editor and programme consultant. Along side this, I have prepared many hitherto unpublished works by Bridge for publication, and also works by his pupil Benjamin Britten for the concert hall, including Johnson about Jordan and King Arthur (Suites for both orchestra and brass bands).
I am currently working on the composer Wilfred Heaton (1918 – 2000), whose complete works I have edited for publication in the Wilfred Heaton Edition.
Trusts and Committees
I have been privileged to serve on a number of musical committees. Whilst living in Scotland, I served on the Scottish Music Council and the BBC Scotland Music Advisory Committee. I was a member of the Executive Committee of the British Federation of Bands for Three Years as a Trustee of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and the Wilfred Heaton Trust. I am currently a trustee of the John Golland Trust in addition to the Brass Band Heritage Trust.
Arrangements, editions and realisations
Richard Rodney Bennett: Flowers of the Forest Revised scoring (Novello / Studio)
Arthur Bliss: Greetings to a City, adapted for brass band (PHM)
Frank Bridge for Thames Publishing / Elkin (now Music Sales)
16 editions of previously unpublished piano, chamber music and songs, including Violin Sonata in E flat with completion of unfinished second movement.
Frank Bridge for Faber Music Ltd.
Five Entr’actes ( The Two Hunchbacks ) Suite for orchestra
Isabella (Symphonic Poem)
The Pageant of London (Suite for Concert Band)
Midnight (Symphonic Poem)
Oration (Cello Concerto)
Frank Bridge for PHM Publishing
Four Pieces for String Orchestra (including Valse Intermezzo and Scherzo Phantastick ) arranged and edited
Coronation March (1911)
Six early songs – in progress
Morceau Caracteristique for violin and piano- in progress
American Overture, arranged for brass band (MS)
Fanfare for DW , adapted for brass band (MS)
Johnson about Jordan, Suite for orchestra (Faber Music)
King Arthur Suite for Orchestra (1937) (Music Sales)
King Arthur (Scenes from a radio drama) arr. For Brass Band (Music Sales / Faber Music)
Occasional Overture , arr. for brass band (Faber Music)
Frederick Delius: Two Aquarelles, arranged for brass band (PHM)
Diversions after Benjamin Britten for brass band by Pankhurst, Dobson, McGhee, Higgins (PHM)
John Golland: Tuba Concerto, arranged for tuba and brass band (Studio)
Wilfred Heaton (WHT – Wilfred Heaton Trust, PHM – PHM Publishing, SP & S – The Salvation Army)
Annie Laurie , Variations for cornet and brass band (PHM)
Babe born this day, arranged for unaccompanied SATB choir (PHM)
Balulalow, arranged for unaccompanied SATB choir (PHM)
Beulah Land ( Suite), realised from sketches (SP & S, Judd Street Collection)
The Children’s Friend , Variations for brass band (PHM)
Eternal Decision for unaccompanied SATB choir (PHM)
Five Bagatelles for brass quintet (PHM)
Five Little Pieces for brass band realised from sketches (PHM)
Full Salvation (Concert March), realised from sketches (PHM)
Glory! Glory!(March) for brass band (PHM)
The Golden Pen (March-Fantasy) for brass band, arranged from sketches (PHM)
arranged for Concert Band by Alastair Wheeler
Lento, arranged for brass band (PHM)
arranged for string orchestra
Le Tricot Rouge (Concert March) (PHM)
arranged for concert band by Alastair Wheeler
Little Suite for recorder (or flute) and piano (PHM)
arranged for cornet / trumpet and piano
arranged for flute or recorder and strings
arranged for trumpet or cornet and brass band
Meditation on Aberystwyth (PHM)
Music for brass Sextet (Toccata) (PHM)
Partita for Band (PHM)
arranged for Symphonic wind orchestra (PHM)
Suite for orchestra (WHT).
Piano Sonata (WHT)
Pilgrim’s Song , Suite or incidental music to The Pilgrim’s Progress , arranged for narrator and brass band (PHM)
Safe in the Promised Land for male voices, brass and piano (PHM)
arr. SATB, brass and piano
Scherzo for brass quartet (PHM)
arranged for brass band (PHM)
A Shepherd’s Carol, arranged for SATB choir (PHM)
Sinfonia Concertante for cornet and band (PHM)
Sweet Hour or Prayer, arranged by WH for trombone and piano (PHM)
arranged PH for trombone and brass band
Three Hymns from A Pilgrim’s Progress for unaccompanied SATB choir (PHM)
Three Piano Pieces Op.2 (1954) (PHM)
Three West Indian Melodies for piano duet (PHM)
Trombone Concerto with brass band (PHM)
arranged for trombone and string orchestra (PHM)
Variations (realised by Howard Snell) (PHM)
Kenneth Hesketh for Faber Musuic Ltd.
The Alchymist’s Journal, for brass band
Elegy, for brass band
Nigel Hess for Faber Music Ltd.
March Barnes Wallis arr. for brass band
Gustav Holst: Capriccio, arranged for brass band (MS)
Imogen Holst: The Unfortunate Traveller, revised edition (PHM)
James MacMillan: The Gallant Weaver arr. for brass band (Studio)
Alan Rawsthorne: Suite, revised scoring, commissioned by Novello (Studio)
Richard Strauss: Solemn Procession, adapted for brass band (PHM)
Variations on a Theme of Michael Tippett for brass band by Tovey, Gregson , M.Ball, Howarth, Wilby (PHM)
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Rhosymedre (Prelude) arr. for brass band (Stainer and Bell)
A Wartime Sketchbook (five extracts from wartime film scores, Oxford University Press) PHM
Music for Children (from Eight Duets for Children, Oxford University Press, MS)
Galop-Finale (Music for Children ) MS
A Companion to Scottish Culture , ed. David Daiches – contributor of a articles on Scottish composers. (Edward Arnold, 1981)
Frank Bridge – A Thematic Catalogue (Faber Music Ltd., 1983)
Frank Bridge – The Complete Works (PHM Publishing, 2016)
The British Brass Band , ed. Trevor Herbert – contributor of chapter on the 20th century entitled Building a Repertoire (Oxford University Press, 2000) George
of the Mind , George Odam, contributor to the wind and brass music of John McCabe (Ashgate, 2007)
Music in Mufty , chapter in History, Harmony and Humanity, the music of Ray Steadman-Allen (SP & S, 2015)
Variations on a Life, the life and music of Wilfred Heaton (in progress)
Eric Ball – A Centenary Appreciation (British Bandsman, February 2003)
Frank Bridge – A Centenary Survey (Music Teacher, July and August 1979)
Frank Bridge – Seeds of Discontent (The Musical Times, January 1991)
Frank Bridge (New Dictionary of National Biography, OUP)
Frank Bridge work list for the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Wilfred Heaton – an Appreciation (British Bandsman, May 2000)
Wilfred Heaton (New Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford)
Wilfred Heaton – The Story of Contest Music (brass Band World, 2007)
Philip Wilby (The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Macmillan)
Wilfred Heaton – Variations on a Life (British Bandsman, April 2018)