PMR 2024

News, schedule and faculty bios

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Tentative sample schedule:


Guest Conductor: Dr. David Thornton

Dr. David Thornton is regarded as one of the foremost euphonium players and teachers of his generation and has a global reputation. His work as a soloist, conductor and educator is renowned throughout the brass playing world to have a distinct hallmark of extreme virtuosity, professionalism and an ability to connect with audiences like few others in his field.

His work within the brass band world has seen him at the top flight for almost twenty years. He has held solo euphonium positions with the Fairey Band (1997-2000), the Black Dyke Band (2000-2010) and the Brighouse & Rastrick Band (2011-2015) having won five National titles, three British Opens and one European Championship during this time. David is currently the solo euphonium player with the world famous Foden’s Band.

Born in Nottingham in 1978, David began his euphonium lessons at just eight years old and only five years later became the first ever euphonium player to gain a place at Chetham’s School of Music, one of the UK’s most prestigious institutions for specialist musical education.

Since then his success has earned him many awards, such as scholarships from the Countess of Munster Trust and the Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe, a hatrick of solo awards at the National Euphonium Conference 1995, 1997 and 1999, first prize at the Verso Il Millenio International Euphonium Competition, but most notably as the International Euphonium Player of the Year 2001.

David is constantly working to seek out new solo repertoire in as many different guises as possible. He has given world premieres by composers such as Philip Wilby, Peter Meechan, Simon Dobson, Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen, Peter Graham, Phillip Venables, Lucy Pankhurst, Richard Rock, Kit Turnbull and D. Edward Davis.

As a recording artist David has released four solo albums. His debut CD, ‘Three Worlds’, was awarded Solo CD of the Year for 2004 by the British Bandsman magazine. David released his second solo album, ‘Devil’s Duel’ in May 2007, Sempre Libera in January 2014 and Parallel Realities in March 2015. Furthermore, David features as a soloist on 30 different albums of band music, including ‘Epic Brass’ and ‘Jubilee Brass’ – live recordings of two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall.

Considering David’s relatively young age, his achievements in education are also quite remarkable. He tutors at the RNCM, the University of Huddersfield and Chetham’s School of Music. His current and former students already hold principal positions in many leading bands around the UK.

David is a course director for the Bolsover Brass Band Summer School and has been a course tutor for the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, National Youth Brass Band of Wales, National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain, National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain, the International Brass Band Summer School (Swansea) and the Wessex Band Summer School. David is also a fully certified member of ABBA.

David Thornton is a Sterling Musical Instruments performing artist and consultant and plays exclusively on the Sterling Virtuoso Euphonium. He also holds an undergraduate degree from the Royal Northern College of Music and a DMA from the University of Salford.

Guest Soloist: Amy Ewen (Baritone)

Amy Ewen is the Principal Baritone for the Amersham Band.

She received a First Class Honours degree from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (2016 – 2020) under the tutorage of Matthew White and Philippe Schwartz. During her studies, she was a member of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. She enjoys performing in prestigious venues such as Symphony Hall, Royal Hall and the Royal Albert Hall, and is most recently heard on the BBC Children in Need charity album “Got It Covered”. Amy also appeared as a guest soloist alongside Peter Moore and Philip Cobb at the Great Birmingham Brass Festival 2020, where she performed Peter Graham’s “Concerto for Baritone”.

Amy is the founding member of the tuba quartet, When Tuba Come One – winners of the 2019 International Tuba and Euphonium Association Ensemble Competition, the 2020 Bernard Brown Brass Ensemble Prize and the 2020 Town Hall Symphony Hall Prize. She is also a founding member of the brass quartet, Northern Quarters, where she continues to promote the baritone in unique instrumental settings. Amy also enjoys performing her baritone across other genres, such as orchestral pop with Ollie West & the Wildflowers and also in Birmingham Opera Company’s 2019 production of “Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk” with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

Amy was the Principal Baritone for the world-famous Brighouse & Rastrick Band and became the first female baritone player to be appointed in the institution’s 140-year history, at the tender age of 21.

Guest Percussion Directors: Dr. Michelle Colton & Alejandro Céspedes (Oregano Percussion)

Dr. Michelle Colton

A versatile percussionist who has performed throughout North America, Asia, Europe, and Central America. She often performs with the Canadian Opera Company, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Soundstreams, Esprit Orchestra, Niagara Symphony, and her duo Oregano Percussion. She has also performed with NEXUS, Keiko Abe, and Dame Evelyn Glennie. Her solo album, Unpredictable Nature includes original compositions as well as works by TorQ Percussion members. She can also be heard on the JUNO Award-winning album, Detach. She earned her Doctorate and Master of Music degrees from the University of Toronto and her Bachelor of Music from the University of Iowa. She has directed steel pan ensembles at the University of Toronto, Royal Conservatory, and the Toronto District School Board. She has been guest faculty with the Birch Creek Percussion and Steel Pan Academy, Prairie Music Residency, and the Iowa Ambassadors of Music European tours. Dr. Colton directs the University of Toronto Percussion Preparatory Department and serves as the Ontario Percussive Arts Society President. She is an artist/endorser of Pearl/Adams and Dream Cymbals.

Alejandro Céspedes, M.Mus

A percussionist and educator who studied at the University of Toronto and Amadeo Roldán Conservatory in Havana, Cuba. Céspedes performs classical percussion, body percussion, Latin percussion and steelpan. He is the principal percussionist of the Ontario Pops and Casa Loma Symphony Orchestras and has performed with the National Opera and Ballet Orchestra of Cuba, as well as the Niagara, Kingston, TO Live, and Toronto Symphony Orchestras. He has performed with Bobby McFerrin, Jane Bunnett, the Buena Vista Social Club, and was featured at the Toronto Body Percussion Festival. He was a musician/dancer/actor for Venom of Love and The Power of Harriet T! As an educator, Céspedes founded and conducted the steelpan ensembles at Music By The Lake (Toronto District School Board Music Camp) and the Regent Park School of Music, which performed with 2Cellos and events such as the Luminato and Toronto Jazz Festivals. He has also taught percussion at the National Music Camp of Canada, Manuel Saumell and Amadeo Roldán Conservatories in Havana. He has presented body percussion workshops at Lizt Alfonso Dance Company in Havana and McGill University in Montreal. Céspedes is an artist/endorser of Pearl/Adams Musical Instruments, and Humes & Berg.

More Faculty to be announced soon…..