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Learn from the best in brass at this year's summer school

Published April 25, 2017 12.47pm

BRASS is back and for the very first time a brand new summer school, led by star trombonist Jiggs Whigham and members of the BBC Big Band, will be held alongside the festival.

Durham's popular BRASS festival, organised by Durham County Council, celebrates the best of brass across 10 days in one of the North East's most stunning cities.   

BBC Big Band

BBC Big Band

This year, a brand new Big Band Summer School will run alongside the festival from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 July - growing Durham's reputation as the place for brass musicians to congregate, learn, show off and have fun.

This is a chance for players of all ages and stages to get involved and be at the heart of one of the UK's leading celebrations of brass music and players and applications are open now. 

The Sumer School will provide emerging and semi-professional musicians the opportunity to work with director and trombonist Jiggs Whigham, lead trumpet Martin Shaw plus the rhythm section of Robin Aspland (piano), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Tom Gordon (drums). 

Jiggs Whigham is a world renowned trombonist who has played with all the greats from Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Gil Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Jerry Lewis, Judy Garland to Dizzy Gillespie himself. Originally from Ohio, Jiggs began playing professionally at 17 when he joined the Glenn Miller/Ray McKinley orchestra. 

Aside from being one of the best trombonists in the world, he is also an incredibly well-respected band leader and is currently the director of the Berlin Jazz Orchestra and visiting tutor with Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Northern College.
In addition to the big band workshops, there will also be an opportunity to join this fabulous rhythm section, other course members and visiting musicians in two Big BRASS Jams as part of the Festival Fringe.

What it will cost:

  • Youth Band participants (non-residential) - £150
  • Intermediate and Advanced Band (residential) - £385, includes accommodation, breakfast, coffee/tea breaks, lunch and evening meals
  • Intermediate and Advanced Band (non-residential) - £250, includes lunch and coffee/tea breaks
  • Extra night and BBC Big Band concert - £90 - if you would like a ticket to attend the BBC Big Band concert on Thursday 13 July and to stay an extra night.

As part of the wider festival The BBC Big Band are also performing a concert dedicated to Dizzy Gillespie and the great brass big band leaders such as Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Quincy Jones, Thad Jones and Maynard Fergusson on the 13th July.

There are three bands:

  • youth (17-22 years)
  • intermediate
  • advanced band.

Applications are welcome from any musicians who play trumpet, trombone, alto, tenor or baritone sax, piano, bass, guitar or drums. Applicant should be able to play to a standard of Grade 6 or above.  For the Youth band applicants will need to be between the ages of 17 - 22.

If you would like to apply to join the course, please download an application form on Brass Festival website: Big Band Summer School and return it to the address on the form.

More information about that event and the full Festival programme can be found at BRASS: Durham International Festival


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