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2021 winner - Anna Lapwood

NYBBGB Garrick Conducting Competition finalists announced

Written by The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain on November 23, 2023

After a three month competition, The NYBBGB’s search for new conducting talent has closed and the finalists announced. Mark Bromley, NYBBGB CEO said:

“This is now our second young conductors’ competition and I am pleased to announce that this year it is funded by the Garrick Charitable Trust.

I’m also delighted that British Army Music are hosting the competition which will also include an open brass workshop in the afternoon to introduce our new members to the band.

If you can get to Tidworth and would like to support the young conductor finalists in the morning and spend the afternoon listening to the NYBBGB under the baton of Lt Col Dave Barringer in the afternoon we’d love to see you. Admission is free.”

The competition had a wealth of entries, including young people from China, Belgium, Cyprus, the USA and UK.. Alongside Professor David King, Dr Robert Childs had the task of judging all entries and said:

“The standard of conductors this year was very high. Both Professor King and myself had a very difficult task reducing the high quality field down to just four finalists.

Both of us would like to thank all the entrants for their interest in The NYBBGB and wish them all the best of luck in the future. We’re sure the final will be exciting, and a close contest between the top four conductors.”

From the fifteen who entered, the final four have been selected and are: Andreas Ashikkis (25), Felicity Cliffe (29), Joshua Parkhill (24) and Craig Sanders (28).

The competition final will be held on 13th January 2024 and hosted by The NYBBGB’S partner British Army Music at at the Garrison Theatre in Tidworth, Wiltshire.

Each of the finalists will be given 35 mins to rehearse one of the following well known brass band works; Resurgam – Eric Ball, Music for a Festival – Philip Sparke, Shine as the Light – Peter Graham, Dimensions – Peter Graham.

For more information on the day go to our WhatsOn page.

Conducting Competition Final Four

Andreas Ashikkis

Andreas’ conducting journey started in Corfu, Greece, where he pursued his first Master’s Degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Ionian University. During his time there, he conducted the student orchestra, the choir, and some smaller ensembles, and held two significant positions: Assistant Conductor of the Philharmonic Society of Corfu Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor of the Ionian Conservatory Youth Orchestra.

In 2021, he relocated to Slovakia with the support of the Erasmus+ to continue his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts in Slovakia. There, Andreas was mentored by Marián Lejava and completed his final presentation with the ensemble Cappella Istropolitana.

Since 2022, Andreas has been based in the UK, where he has conducted student, amateur, and professional orchestras such as The Hallé and Manchester Camerata. During his time in the UK, Andreas has discovered the joy of conducting brass bands, and has had the opportunity to perform with them multiple times – one of the most memorable moments was when he conducted the RNCM Brass Band at the Brass Band Festival in early 2023.

Felicity Cliffe

Since 2015 Felicity has been involved with numerous conducting programmes and courses, recently culminating in a masterclasses with the Royal Opera House Orchestra, Richard Hetherington and Paul Wynne Griffiths on excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Eugene Onegin’.

Felicity completed her undergraduate degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance with oboe as a first study and cello as a second study and is currently studying for a Master’s in conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music under the tutelage of Mark Heron and Clark Rundell. She’s conducted the RNCM Young Explorers’ Orchestra in a children’s concert and assisted renowned conductors such as Vasily Petrenko and John Storgårds with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Later this term she will continue to undertake assistantships with these orchestras as well as conduct the RNCM Repertoire Orchestra and give concerts with the Salford Symphony Orchestra and Leeds Haydn Players.

It’s Felicity’s ambition to develop her conducting experience and skills as much as possible. In the future she hopes to perform with professional orchestras around the world as well as the youth and community ensembles who form such a vital and inspiring part of our musical ecosystem.

Joshua Parkhill

Joshua began his musical training at an early age through the Salvation Army and their YP Band learners programme. He began contesting as a teenager, and has played solo trombone at various contests with the Dallmelington Band, Whitburn Band and Ever Ready Band. He is also a recent First Class graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he was taught by Simon Johnson, Jonny Hollick, Davur Juul Magnussen, Lance Green and Alastair Sinclair. Throughout his time studying at RCS he was awarded the Governor’s Recital Prize for Brass, Robert McCreath Prize for Outstanding contributions to Brass, David James Brass Prize and also was awarded the Mary D Adams Prize for Chamber Music with his trombone Quartet SlideShow.

He first began conducting in 2021 with Brass Sounds Inverclyde looking to re-energise the band with fresh ideas, focusing on building confidence and musicality post pandemic. Under his leadership they have gone on to win the Scottish 4th section in 2022 and were also Scottish Challenge 4th Section Winners that year. In March 2023 they achieved 3rd place in the Scottish Championships 3rd Section and are looking to improve on this result at the upcoming regional contests in 2024. Joshua is also the Resident Conductor of UNISON Kinneil Band who compete in the Championship Section.

Thanks to music and playing a brass instrument in particular, Joshua has been able to travel and perform internationally with professional orchestras and ensembles all over the world. This is something he never imagined would be possible, and hopes to inspire other young people to not let anything hold them back from following their musical passions and seeing where it takes them!

Craig Sanders

During his time at The Royal Hospital School, Craig was inspired by the school’s bandmaster, Roger Jones to pursue a career in the Royal Marines Band Service (RMBS) and he joined in 2011 at the age of 16. On completion of basic military training, he studied Percussion under Professor Matt King and in the summer of 2014 Craig was awarded the prestigious ‘Princes Badge’ for the most all round recruit of troop 1-11. Following training he was drafted to Lympstone in Devon where he achieved his LRSM in Percussion performance.

Craig has had a distinguished further education in music, starting with a First Class Honours Degree from the BMus(Hons) course at Plymouth University to currently studying on the Royal Marines School of Music Bandmasters’ course with tutors including Malcolm Binney, Barry Forgie and Paul Patterson. Whilst on the course he has had the pleasure of conducting The Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood, Portsmouth and RMSoM.

As a performer, Craig has played with brass bands such as Friary Brass Band, Aldbourne Brass Band and Flowers Brass Band, performing in all of the major brass band contests. He is keen to continue to improve as a conductor, and aims to continue conducting within the RMBS, maintaining his studies on the Bandmasters’ course and undertaking the LRSM in Wind Band Direction in March 2024.

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