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Associates of Derwent Brass

Contemporary Music Associate - Paul McGhee

"A composer writing on the cutting edge of brass music" (Paul Hindmarsh - RNCMPaul McGhee Derwent Brass Contemporary Music Associate Festival of Brass)

 Paul McGhee was appointed into the Contemporary Music Associate role at Derwent Brass in September 2012, following the success of the band's commissioned composition, entitled 'Episodes, Occurences and Interludes', written to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary. Paul is a very well respected composer and musician who has worked on and off with the band for some time and his radical approaches have opened up a whole new chapter for Derwent Brass to explore.

His associate role with the band is intended to help introduce fresh and progressive music into the repetoire not only from his own pen, but from those of various other composers. The though process behind this being to deliver success in future projects which will hopefully excite current audiences, both within and outside the brass band world, whilst branching out to new listeners.

"A brilliant, uncompromising composer. I regard him as one of the very rare original voices in today's brass band world." (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen International Composer)

Paul was born and grew up in Corby, Northamptonshire and although developed a fondess for music immediately, his real interest began when he took up the Tuba, aged 13. This evolved and in 2002 he began studies in composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff under Andrew Wilson-Dickson. Under Andrew's guidance Paul became fascinated with the music of Frank Zappa, Brian Ferneyhough, Witold Lutoslawski and Sir Harrison Birtwistle. In his final year at college his piece, The Ministry Of Love, was
premiered at the 2006 RNCM Festival of Brass as part of the 'Young Composer Premiere' competition and since successfully graduating in July of that year Paul's music has continued to explore both the textural and technical capabilities of the modern day brass instrument.

In 2007 his piece, Waiting For A Pain Hit!??!!?, was a prize winning entry in the Swiss Brass Band Associations young composers competition. In November 2010 this piece was selected as the championship section set work for the Swiss National Brass Band Championships and received it's premiere performance at the Stravinsky Hall in Montreux, andwas played a further seven times that day to a capacity audience and critical acclaim.

2010 also saw the world premiere of his piece, Clapp!!!!, by Manger Musikklag at the BrassWind festival held in Bergen, Norway with the performance being broadcast on NRK Radio. 2011 saw the British premiere of Clapp!!!! at the RNCM Festival of Brass as well as a new piece, A Slow Fade Through a Soft Cut, being premiered at the Cardiff New Brass Festival by Osloford Brass. The piece explored the textural possibilities of the modern day brass band and was greeted with with critical acclaim. "A ten-minute highly personal essay in slow music - intense and with a powerfully judged climax; This is a work I want to hear again, soon!'" (British Bandsman magazine.)

"Full of intense colours, it slowly but inexorably drew the listener further and further into it's grip, like a viewer looking at the minute detail on the Champman Brother's infamous vision of Hell. It left an indelible imprint on the musical mind." (4barsrest.com)

2012 began with the critically acclaimed premiere performance of his Derwent Brass commission, Episodes, Occurrences and Interludes. The 22 minute work contains 6 inter-linked pieces of music which celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ensemble and contain a series of stories relating to the bands history. Supported by funds from the PRS for Music Foundation, the work featured in some of the band's concert and contest programmes throughout their anniversary year.

"I was totally gripped from start to finish. An astonisghinly brave decision (the whole project) and utterly refreshing to hear. Thank you very much and good luck with future performances" (Philip Harper MA(Mus) PGCE LTCL)

Also in 2012, Paul enjoyed a trip to Rotterdam where his piece, Lullaby, won first prize in the E.B.B.A European Composers Competition. Premiered by Brass Band Groningen to a capacity De Doelen hall the piece was performed in a programme along with the other three finalists.

"An effect laden piece, but quite schizophrenic too - it had both dark and anxious moments, but also brought a smile to my face." (Brass Band World magazine)

"A brilliantly crepuscular bit of musical imagery: You can feel the lifeblood ebbing away from the unfortunate reader by the end of each diminishing bar. A very eerie piece indeed." (4barsrest.com)

"It's distinctive, colourful and complex nature, moving between the sinister and the very witty, bring a certain amount of irony to the title. It's success in the compeition was of little surprise to anyone present." (British Bandsman magazine.)

We have no doubt that Paul will continute to produce some fantastic work and we are grateful for his partnership with Derwent Brass in both an associate and advisory role. The trustees and members of Derwent Brass are grateful to Paul for his passion in working with the band and of course wish him the very greatest of success.

"I'm really excited about taking on the role of Contemporary Music Associate at Derwent Brass. Having worked with them over the last year on Episodes, Occurrences and Interludes I have been impressed by their commitment to the project as well as their enthusiasm towards new music". (Paul McGhee)

"The quiet man of the new wave, who may just become the biggest noise of all' (www.4barsrest.com)