Young composer to be honoured at major UK Brass Band Festival

A national competition which aims to find talented young composers has been won by a 17-year old schoolboy who took both first and second places and will now have his winning piece played at a major event in the brass band calendar.

This year’s Nock Deighton Challenge, an annual competition sponsored by local Shropshire estate agents, Nock Deighton and set up two years ago as part of the Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival’s commitment to youth work, has been won by Daniel Hall from St Austell in Cornwall.

Daniel, who started playing cornet at the age of 11, won the competition with a march he called ‘Invaders from the North’. His second and completely different composition, ‘Lance’, gained second place.

Back in his home town Daniel was appointed principal cornet of the St Austell Junior Band shortly after joining and two years later, aged 13, he was invited to join the Senior Band. Daniel now plays in the St Austell Town Band, which he recently conducted in a programme consisting of 10 of his original works and which has adopted a number of his compositions.

The talented young composer has already won other national competitions and recently had a fanfare he composed recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Now he will have the opportunity to see his latest winning piece developed and played on Saturday 19th July by the Jaguar Landrover Band at the Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival which will place over that weekend at the Museum of Iron, Coalbrookdale.

Runners-up Callum Bain from Perthshire and Andrew Hebditch from Rutland will also have the opportunity to hear their compositions played by other

This year’s Nock Deighton Challenge, which attracted entries from all over Britain, was judged by Dennis Masters, a nationally acclaimed conductor, adjudicator and composer. He said: ‘The standard this year was very high and it was a great privilege to be asked to judge work of such quality. The
composers of the winning entries in particular showed a high level of understanding of the brass band genre’.

Neil Fury, Chair of the Gorge Brass Band Festival committee, said: “Although the age limit for the competition was raised this year, it is interesting to see that all the winning entrants are under 18. This augurs well for the future of brass band composition when such quality is produced by young people like these.”

Nock Deighton MD, Graham Taylor, said: “We were absolutely delighted to have been able to support the Ironbridge Gorge Brass Band Festival again this year in its quest to find a talented young composer. Being at the heart of the local community, with a 180 year Shropshire heritage, we are always happy to support fantastic initiatives such as this. We’d like to offer our huge congratulations to Daniel, Callum and Andrew, and look forward to hearing their music come to life at the festival in July.”