Participants information

Concertband Maasmechelen (B) – Vlamo held their Championship on March 15 2015 in Heist-op-den-Berg in Belgium and the Winner, Concertband Maasmechelen, will be representing Belgium in the ECWO 2016. Concertband Maasmechelen, the wind orchestra of the Academy of Maasmechelen, was inspired by the wind orchestra Limburg Maas. This top orchestra of the Limburg coalmines, more specifically the mine in Eisden, was a trendsetter in many ways during the years after the Second World War. Quality was paramount, including concerts and competitions both in Spain and Italy. After the closure of the Limburg coalmines the orchestra was dismantled. A few years after the end of the orchestra, the wind band came back with a new name: Concertband Maasmechelen.

The annual projects and concerts at home or abroad have played an important role in the expansion of the orchestra. A cooperation with the famous Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in 2011, for instance, resulted in a 15-day concert tour throughout the United States with well-received performances in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. In 2012, the Concertband Maasmechelen won the International Certamen de Bandas de Musica Ciudad de Valencia, Spain. During the Christmas period in 2014, Concertband Maasmechelen performed successfully in the finest concert halls of Changhai, China. Sunday March 15 the orchestra played together with soprano Fenna Ograjensek and performed work of Flemish composers: Jan Van der Roost and Kevin Houben. Concertband Maasmechelen convinced the jury and claimed the winning title of the 2015 Vlamo Open Championship for Wind Orchestras . They will represent Belgium at ECWO, the European Championship for Wind Orchestras.

Civica Filarmonica di Lugano (CH) – Founded in 1830, Civica Filarmonica di Lugano is the oldest Lugano Association. Civica Filarmonica di Lugano has 80 musicians and we are happy to have them joining us for ECWO 2016.

Through-out its 185 years of history, Civica Filarmonica di Lugano has won the Federal Music Festival title seven times. The competition, which takes place every five years in Switzerland was last held in 2011 at the crowded Tonhalle concert hall in St. Gallen. Civica Filarmonica di Lugano triumphed in the excellence category, earned a standing ovation for more than three minutes and the award for the best Swiss symphonic wind orchestra. Civica Filarmonica di Lugano prevailed over 530 bands (composed of more than 25,000 musicians) with a score of 192 points out of 200. It played a compulsory piece, “Divertimento” by Oliver Waespi (winning 96.33 points) and its choice of “An American in Paris” by George Gershwin (for 95,67 points).

At the awards ceremony, more than 7,000 enthusiastic spectators paid tribute to the 90 musicians from Lugano, performing under the conductor baton of Maestro Franco Cesarini and confirmed the musical level of excellence. Being the best Swiss symphonic wind orchestra is a source of great pride and satisfaction for the musicians who can see their level of musical excellence reconfirmed. This award also publicises Civica Filarmonica di Lugano’s name, promotes its city, Ticino and the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland through one of the countries’ largest and most important national associations – the Swiss Windband Association.

 

Landesblasorchester Baden-Württemberg (D) – Landesblasorchester Baden-Württemberg has been invited to the competition, and have accepted. They will be representing Germany in the ECWO 2016. Since its founding in 1978 by the Concert Band Association of Baden-Württemberg, the Baden-Württemberg Wind Orchestra (LBO) has presented itself as one of the most successful symphonic bands in Germany. The repertoire includes original compositions as well as transcriptions of classical works. Premieres of new works and performances in chamber music ensembles are also frequent elements of the program.

Numerous international prizes and CD productions document the ongoing excellence of the band. Its 80 musicians come primarily from all over Baden-Württemberg. On four intensive weekends each year the band rehearses its upcoming concert program. Because of its high musical standards, the band has become one of the most sought-after performance opportunities for high qualified and dedicated musicians.

Among the LBO´s most recent successes was its first prize in gold with distinction in the Concert Division at the World Music Contest (WMC) in Kerkrade/Netherlands in 2005. In the overall rankings, the LBO placed fourth, higher than any other German band had ever placed. In 2011, the band also won the 2nd International Symphonic Band Competition in Berlin, receiving 99.5 out of 100 points from the judges. The mission of the Baden-Württemberg Wind Orchestra (LBO) is to present original works for symphonic wind band in an exemplary fashion and, by doing so, contributing to the development of this genre. At the same time it aims to set a musical example to the many wind bands in the region. Educational concerts with specially chosen themes provide these bands with helpful tips for their daily work.

 

Rødovre Concert Band (DK) The Danish Concert Band (Rødovre Concert Band) was founded in 1968, and today it consists of 65 musicians. Since the mid-seventies, the orchestra has made tremendously progress resulting in several National Championships, The Nordic Championship, 1st prizes in several international competitions and in 1990, a European Championship. Two days after celebrating its 25th anniversary in 1993, The Danish Concert Band won the Europäischer Wettbewerb in Trier, Germany. The orchestra has performed several times on the Danish Radio and in the concert hall, in Concert Hall Aarhus, Concert Hall Odense and Concert Hall Tivoli and 3-4 times a year locally in Viften. Over the years, the orchestra has commissioned a number of compositions from both national and international composers, among them Søren Hyldgaard and Johan de Meij. Furthermore, the orchestra has experimented with genre, concert concepts, and the use of music as a means of communication. The orchestra has also undertaken a social responsibility and has, since 2010, been involved in a musical developmental project for marginalized children in Denmark. At least every second year, The Danish concert Band goes on a concert tour in Europe, and so the orchestra has played in large concert halls in Scotland, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Schweiz, Luxembourg, France, Austria and The Czech Republic. The orchestra has recorded 16 CD’s with a wide-ranging repertoire, first compositions, concerts with soloists and world premiere recordings. In November 2015 they won the Danish Nationals.

 

Jazeps Medins secondary music school symphonic wind band Riga (LV) – JMRMV symphonic wind band will be representing Latvia in ECWO 2016. We are happy to have a Baltic country with us. JMRMV symphonic wind band is one of the oldest symphonic wind band`s in Latvia. Shortly after founding the school in 1927, when it discovered the woodwind and brass class, they established a training orchestra in 1947, which carries the name of Jazeps Medins. From the beginninig of the orchestra it has worked with many famous conductors like Gunars Licis, Janis Kronitis, Nikolajs Savkovs, Ivars Trofimovs, Maris Martinsons, Janis Purins, Peteris Plume, Leons Amolins etc. The history of the orchestra includes several successful periods, as well as less successful operations which are moments when the orchestras existence has been threatened. Over the past five years, the orchestra has become a serious player among the Latvian amateur wind orchestras. Under the guidence of the conductors Janis Retenais and Andis Karelis, the orchestra has set high achievements and goals. During those five years, the band has produced countless of concerts and delighted their audiences with high-quality professionally prepared programs. Since 2010, the orchestra is a regular international “Riga BRASS SYMPOSIUM” closing concert participant, where he has performed together with such world stars like Michael Lind (tuba), Niels-Ole Bo Johansen, Mogens Andresens (trombone), Olivje Darbellay (french horn), Raijer Dorestain, William Richardson, Janis Porietis (trumpet), and always tried to find new Latvian brass talents and the next professionals such as Guntis Supe, Janis Auzins, Janis Grudinskis (trumpet), Janis Kagis, Kaspars Smits, Kaspars Orehovs (tuba), Anna Marija Novicane, Janis Pusplatais, Ugis Strauja (euphonium), Arturs Hrustalovs (trombone). Regularly participating in the Baltic brass band and ensemble forum, the orchestra conductors, creating concert programs, has collaborated with the Baltic states and Scandinavian famous brass band conductors such as Timmo Kotilainen (Finland), Peter Side, Priit Sons (Estonia) Vigants Rekasi, Egidijs Alishausks (Lithuania ), Alexander Koops (USA). Also the orchestra regularly produces a variety of Christmas programs in collaboration with the high school choir and conductor Janis Baltins, as well as the Independence Day program, which includes a repertoire with an appropriate selection. The orchestras repertoire includes entertaining pieces, ranging from jazz, rock n roll and rock style, that are easily to comprehend and listen to. The woodwind and brass orchestras repertoire is very extensive and interesting to every visitor. Also the orchestra is an excellent practice location for the future wind orchestra conductors, in the 4th year of school for students who learn orchestral conducting, has the experience of working with this orchestra.

The frame for this orchestra are JMRMV students who have chosen a professional music career and develop their skills in both individual specialty classes at the Latvian leading wind instrument performers and educators and orchestral concerts, which is a very important part of the way to their professional career. Also the orchestra is regularly joined by school graduates and professionals who, for various reasons, have been switched their musician’s career for something else. The band is always open to anyone who wants to create music and to experience the true spirit of a team, cooperating with different generations of musicians and conductors.

 

Christiania Blåseensemble Oslo (N) – At the 21st of March, NMF held the Norwegian Nationals for wind bands, and the winner, Christiania Blåseensemble, was invited to represent Norway in the ECWO 2016. Christiania Blåseensemble (Christiania Wind Ensemble) was founded in September 2008 by students at the Norwegian Academy of Music. The ensemble is created with the intention to offer music students to play in a wind band with a high level. CBE do concerts with standard repertoire for wind bands. Annually, CBE also participates in the elite division in the Norwegian championship for wind bands. The members of the ensemble consist mainly of current students at the Norwegian Academy of Music and Barratt Due Music Institute, and doing projects in different genres, both standard repertoire for Wind bands, symphonic transcriptions and newly written Music by Norwegian Composers.

This year, in the Norwegian championship, we played a piece written for us, by the Norwegian Composer Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen. Christiania Wind Ensemble do have mainly Three Projects annually, and have been working With some of the greatest Norwegian conductors, as Ole-Kristian Ruud, Bjarte Engeset and Cathrine Winnes. So far this year, we have been working With the conductor Trond Husebø.

 

Koninklijke Harmonie van Thorn (NL) – The dutch federation, KNMO, has choosen the dutch participant among the best windbands in Holland for the ECWO 2016, and Koninklijke Harmonie van Thorn has confirmed. The “Koninklijke Harmonie van Thorn” (Royal Harmony of Thorn), also known as the “Bokken van Thorn” (the Bucks of Thorn), was founded in 1812 as the Philharmonic Music Society of Thorn and aquired in 1865, rare for the time, the title “Royal” from king Willem III. Conductor Jean Tonnaer directed the orchestra more than 40 year before handing over the baton to Max Guillaume in 1907. Under his inspiring leadership the orchestra grew to a musical level that was unique in amateur music. From 1945 the orchestra made it’s mark in the history of wind music at home and abroad, under it’s conductors Harrie Ramakers, Henri Arends, Jean Claessens, Leo Sevriens, Harrie Biessen, Will Jacobs and Sef Pijpers. Since 1957 the orchestra has been awarded the national championship nine times in the top rankng of the Dutch Music Association FKM contest. On several occasions the wind orchestra has performed on radio and television and given concerts during the Holland Festival.

The “Koninklijke Harmonie van Thorn” is well-known abroad. In 1959 they almost gained the maximum number of points on the Bree contest (B). In 1962 they became natinal champion on the World Music Contest (WMC) in Kerkrade (NL). In 1982 and in 1986 the orchestra gave several concerts in Valencia (E) and participated in the famous “Certamen Internacional de Bandas Musica Ciudad de Valencia”. In 1982 conductor Sef Pijpers led them to the highest result in the “seccion Primera” and in 1986 under Jan Cober they achieved the highest marks in the “seccion Especial B” and were awarded the special prize “Mencion de Honor”. In 1990 the orchestra took part in the “Concours International pour Orchestres d’Harmonie” in Le Havre (F), where they sensationally obtained the trophy “Coup d’Essai”. At the WMC contest in 1993 the orchestra was awarded the best result for the test piece in the concert division (“Fourth Symphony” by Alfred Reed). In 1997 they again participated in the WMC in Kerkrade and became world champion in the concert division, both times conducted by Jan Cober. During the 2001 conference of the “World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles” (WASBE) in Luzern (CH) the “Koninklijke Harmonie van Thorn” performed again directed by Jan Cober as well as giving numerous concerts at home and abroad. Special care and attention is given to the balance of classical repertoire and new works specifically written for wind orchestra. Several original wind band compositions have been premiered by the “Koninklijke Harmonie van Thorn” including the recent first performance of the first symphony “Gilgamesh” by the young Belgian composer Bert Appermont.

Today the “Koninklijke Harmonie van Thorn” is conducted by Norbert Nozy. Under his direc-tion the orchestra became national champion in the concert division on October 19, 2008 in Venlo (NL) and on May 12, 2013 the orchestra gained 96,83 points at the “Concours Européen” in the Philharmonie concert hall in Luxemburg and won the contest.

 

Eynsford Concert Band (UK) – From England we are happy to have Eynsford Concert Band joining the competition in 2016. Eynsford Concert Band won the National Concert Band Symposium 2014. EYNSFORD CONCERT BAND is a symphonic wind ensemble that has been based in the small Kentish village of Eynsford since 1972. The band has 50 playing members from all over the South East of England that aspire to attain the highest standards of musicianship within a social and friendly environment. Eynsford Concert Band has gained an international reputation having toured Austria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ireland, Netherlands, Malta, Spain and Belgium as well as playing aboard cruise ships in the Fjords of Norway and the Mediterranean where we provided the on-board entertainment.

The band enjoys performing a wide range of concert band repertoire from popular music arrangements and orchestral transcriptions to classic and modern wind band works. We have recorded three CDs, proudly releasing Heritage in January 2010, featuring a Suite by Nigel Clarke written especially for the band. In July 2014 the band had the honour of being crowned National Champion Concert Band following their performance at the National Concert Band Symposium (NCBS) held in Canterbury. This was followed up by accepting an invitation to guest at the 2015 NCBS Gala Concert. The band is firmly rooted in its community and every year raises substantial amounts for local charities, recently helping raise raise much needed funds for both SSAFA (the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) and King’s College Hospital Critical Care Unit.

Eynsford Concert Band is delighted to have Michael Smith as our Musical Director. Michael Smith BA(Mus) LRSM was born in Warwickshire and joined the Army as a clarinettist, serving in England, Northern Ireland and Cyprus before being selected to attend the three year Bandmaster Course at The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall. He graduated in 1996 winning the Commandant’s Prize and the coveted Worshipful Company of Musician’s Medal for best all-round Student Bandmaster of the year whilst completing his Bachelor of Arts Degree and gaining his Licentiate of the Royal School of Music in Conducting. In April 2008 Michael was selected for a commission into the Corps of Army Music and was appointed Director of Music the Band of The Royal Irish Regiment (TA) based in Holywood, Northern Ireland. In October 2010 he was appointed Director of Music The Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers in Chatham, Kent. After just 8 months with the Engineers Band he was asked to take up the much coveted appointment of Director of Music the Band of the Grenadier Guards in June 2011. It was at this time that he also took up the Musical Directorship of Eynsford Concert Band, in their 40th Anniversary year. In July 2013 Michael left the Band of the Grenadier Guards to return to Headquarters Corps of Army Music in a staff officer post and also taking on the role of Corps Secretary, Corps of Army Music. In April 2015 he was appointed Chief Instructor at The Royal Military School of Music where he is responsible for the training of Army Bandmasters and Musicians.