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Musical Leadership Team

Jack Capstaff - Musical Director

Jack Capstaff - Music Director - Derwent BrassJack Capstaff is a conductor and composer of a wide variety of musical genres and ensembles. Having studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under the likes of the late Peter Reynolds, Dr. Robert Spearing and Michael McCartney for composition and Dr. John Traill, Anthony Negus and consultations with David Jones for conducting in the contemporary music department, Jack’s specialism lies in the creation and performance of contemporary repertoire but firmly believes in the use of skills transferable from this endeavour to that of more classical repertoire and beyond.

Jack has been conducting since the age of fifteen and cut his teeth with the York Railway Institute Golden Rail Brass Band. Whilst in York, Jack was the musical director of a number of pantomimes and musical shows and under the tutelage of Liz Dunbar for music gained a place to study composition and conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Whilst at university, Jack took his first foray into Brass Band conducting at a more senior level, taking on the Foresters Brass 2000 band. Within the first year Jack and the band gained entry to the prestigious Spring Festival with an “alternative” entertainments program, much of which was arranged by Jack himself. Whilst in Cardiff, Jack also led the City of Cardiff M2 band where he was not only able to help develop a band but also able to help players progress to play with the more senior City of Cardiff M1 band, with whom he played himself for some time.

Upon moving back to Yorkshire, and as well as some freelance orchestral conducting and teaching work, Jack worked with the South Yorkshire Police Band and Ripon City Band, as well as an ongoing residency with the symphonic brass group “Harlequin Brass”, with whom he continues currently. More recently Jack worked with the world famous “Yorkshire Imps” band, before becoming the full time Music Director of Derwent Brass in September 2018.

As a composer, Jack has had the opportunity to write commissions for some excellent and varied ensembles, such as Black Diamonds, which was commissioned for an anniversary concert by Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band under Leigh Baker to commemorate the closure of the village mine, and Fahla, commissioned by Sinfonia Newydd in collaboration with Artes Mundi and premiered in the National Museum of Wales. Other commissioned works include pieces for student’s final recitals for their Master's Degrees, and pieces for varied ensemble sizes – from Solo to Symphony Orchestra. Most recently saw the premier of Jack’s ballet suite “Metamorphosis”, a musical response to the Novella written by Kafka scored for symphony orchestra. 

Jack also made progress within his musical career as a player, playing with some of the top brass bands in the country including the likes of the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, the Shepherd Group Band (whose Junior, concert and senior band Jack developed his playing through the years with), BTM and the City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) band however stopped playing in order to pursue his ambitions of conducting. 

Keith Leonard - Music Director Emeritus

Keith Leonard is the band's Music Director Emeritus following a 25 year tenure at the helm. He is well known in East Midlands banding circles, having been involved with several bands in the area, as a player, music arranger and conductor.

Keith was born into a banding Salvation Army family and was greatly influenced by being surrounded by quality brass band music. He took up the cornet at a very early age, playing in both junior and senior bands  of Peterborough Citadel where his father was the Bandmaster for several years.

As a young principal cornet player Keith was regularly featured as a soloist at musical festivals and events and enjoyed one-to-one tuition from David Read.

Over the years, playing cornet and trumpet, he has been involved playing in Brass Bands, Orchestras, Wind Bands and 'Pit-Orchestras' for live stage shows, but will readily admit that his true allegiance lies with Brass Bands.

Keith occupied the Principal seats in County Youth Brass Band and Orchestra before progressing to playing in Championship Section Brass Bands with several fondly remembered opportunities  of playing under some of the famous names in banding circles in Europe  and the U.K.

Keith's earliest conducting experiences were in the Salvation Army receiving conducting tuition at SA Music Schools whilst still a teenager. Later he was appointed Bandmaster of the Leicester Forestes Band when just 22 years of age.

After being a member of the Leicestershire Symphony Orchestra, Leicester Foresters Band and William Davis Construction Band, (as well as assisting other local band including Ransomes and Desford)  Keith took a sabbatical from musical activity and the demands of top level banding prior to being appointed as Musical Director of Derwent Brass in 1993, one year after it's formation. This proved to be a most fruitful relationship with Keith's relaxed style and demanding of highest standards, combined with the enthusiasm of the members of Derwent Brass, becoming one of the major success stories in Midlands banding. 

A member of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors, Keith is often called upon by other bands in the area and also took on the Musical Director's role at the popular Hathern Youth (B) band including working on an improvement plan over 12 months with the trombone virtuoso Chris Jeans.

His musical activity has also extended into adjudicating at Brass Solo, Ensemble and Band competitions. Keith's son Chris (former Prinicipal Cornet of Hathern Youth and Youth Brass 2000) plays Solo Cornet with the band and has also been the Band Manager since 2017. 

Since retiring from Derwent Brass as the full time Musical Director, Keith together with wife Beverley enjoys spending more time away at the coast and countryside as well as enjoying other hobbies such as motorbiking.


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