The NYBBGB Weston Conductors’ Competition Finalists’ Announcement

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, the UK’s leading brass bands for children and young people which next year celebrates its 70th anniversary, is excited to announce the finalists who will take part in the Band’s inaugural conductors’ competition. The competition, supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation and created to provide an opportunity for up-and-coming musicians to make an impact on today’s youth music scene has seen 28 fantastic entrants from international and diverse backgrounds. After careful consideration we are excited to announce the six finalists.

“The prospect of encountering a new generation of conductors is always exciting.  The NYBBGB Weston conducting competition has attracted a plethora of conducting talent, and I look forward to engaging with the six finalists in January. My aim is to create a collaborative and creative atmosphere in order that all involved have a positive musical experience.”

Martyn Brabbins, Competition Judge and 2022 Guest Conductor.

Anna Beresford

Anna Beresford is 24 years old and from the United Kingdom. She currently studies orchestral and choral conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music. Whilst at Manchester University Anna was choral and orchestral ensemble conductor in the University Music Society and winner of the Proctor-Gregg Prize for Conducting. She is Director of the Macclesfield Mydel Choir and of the Smithy Belles Choir in Hazel Grove, Stockport. Anna is also a freelance conductor for the Northern Film Orchestra, Abney Orchestra, Opera Viva, and more. She regularly assists conductors at the BBC Philharmonic and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestra.

Chris Binns

Chris Binns is 27 years old and from the United Kingdom. He studied trombone at the Royal Northern College of Music and regularly guests with the BBC Philharmonic, Halle Orchestra and Opera North. Chris also completed trials with BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Welsh National Opera. He is Principal Trombone with the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Studying conducting in his fourth year at the Royal Northern College of Music, Chris has had the opportunity to conduct Flowers Band and Grimethorpe Colliery Band and is currently Musical Director of Hebden Bridge Band.

Leon Franzten

Leon Franzten is 23 years old and from the Netherlands. He currently studies conducting at the Royal Northern College of Music. Leon held the role of assistant conductor of the Youth Orchestra of The Netherlands, toured with the Maastricht Academic Chamber Orchestra and conducted in the final concert of the international conducting masterclass with the Banda Sinfonica Portuguesa. He has also been chief conductor of the Koninklijke Fanfare St. Dionysius Opoeteren and the Harmonie St. Antonius Lomm.

Derrick Morgan

Derrick Morgan is 27 years old and from the United Kingdom. A recent graduate of the Masters in Conducting programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he was recipient of the Hugh S Robertson prize for Orchestral Conducting. Derrick has conducted the Edinburgh Symphony Orchestra, toured the Marriage of Figaro with Blackbird Opera and given the fringe premiere of Tom Cunningham’s two mini operas with Edinburgh Studio Opera. He has conducted charity concerts with Ensemble Alba and organised a performance of Mendelssohn’s Second Symphony with the Edinburgh Practice Choir.

Enyi Okpara

Enyi Okpara is 22 years old and British-Nigerian. A law graduate he currently studies conducting at the Royal Academy of Music. Enyi has conducted the Bristol University Symphonia and the Bristol University Chamber Orchestra on their tour of Hungary. Founder of the North London Orchestra, he has also conducted Southsea Chamber Music Society’s resident orchestra. In 2021, Enyi was awarded a Young Conducting Scholarship with Sing for Pleasure, conducting workshops and masterclasses in London, Cambridge, and Manchester.

Lewis Wilkinson

Lewis Wilkinson is 26 years old and from the United Kingdom. He studied Brass Band conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and whilst studying was resident conductor of Filton Concert Brass, with which he won the Welsh Open, and music director of the Parc and Dare Band. Lewis gained a place in the semi-final of the 2020 European Conductor’s Competition in Palanga, Lithuania which unfortunately was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a busy guest conductor with bands at all levels, such as Elland Silver, Easington Colliery, Llwydcoed, NASUWT Riverside and Solna (Sweden). Lewis is currently Director of Music for Fishburn Band.

Culmination and final

The penultimate stage will see the six selected conductors work with a band made up of members of the NYBBGB, being assessed by Martyn Brabbins, Dr Robert Childs and Captain Sam Hairsine RM.  The repertoire will consist of three marches: Mephistopheles, Shipley Douglas; Knight Templar, ‍George Allan and The Cossack, ‍William Rimmer.  For the final stage of the competition, the judges will select three finalists to rehearse one of the following three concert works: Resurgam, Eric Ball; Music for a Festival, ‍Phillip Sparke and Shine as the Light, ‍Peter Graham.

Mark Bromley, CEO commented

“The response to our call for entries went beyond our expectations. I would like to thank everyone who made the effort to submit an entry. Whatever the outcome, the passion of each of our six finalists for brass banding is clear and that alone fills me with hope for the next generation of music leaders. If you are free please do come and support our finalists in January. It's going to be so inspiring.”

A big thank you

The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain would like to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation for their support and everyone who has taken part in the competition, and offer our congratulations to those who have been selected to take part in the final rounds.

Dr Robert Childs, Competition Judge and Director of Artistic Planning commented


“The entrants’ video submissions were really good, I enjoyed watching them all. I was looking for good beat fluidity, musical phrasing and hand independence.

The six going through to the finals also demonstrated a solid understanding of the peculiarities of the brass band score, a good knowledge of the brass band movement and excitement at the prospect of working with the NYBBGB and Martyn Brabbins."

Search for The NYBBGB (funded by Arts Council England and the Department for Education) on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagramor visit www.nybbgb.org.uk to keep up-to-date.

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