Consisting of 5 young, but experienced musicians from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Blackweir Brass was established in early 2016. Formed during their first year at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Blackweir Brass are a dedicated and versatile brass quintet. They have spent over three years honing their musical style and group sound. As students of the RWCMD, they have been fortunate to have the guidance of many experienced, not to mention inspiring, professional brass musicians. These include Kevin Price, Roger Argente, David Gordon Shute, Nigel Seaman, Amos Miller and Dan Trodden. Visiting chamber groups such as Onyx Brass, Septura Brass, the Prince Regents Band and Harmonic Brass München have also given Blackweir masterclasses.
The members of Blackweir Brass are all highly accomplished orchestral and solo musicians in their own right. Between them, they have played with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the Welsh National Opera Orchestra, the Britten Sinfonia, the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka, the Cory Band, Flowers Band, the Band of the Welsh Guards, the Britten-Pears Young Artists’ Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta Academy, Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra, the St Endellion Festival Orchestra and the Rehearsal Orchestra. In February 2019, they were honoured to play at St John Smiths Square in an event celebrating the life of Philip Jones and the best brass ensembles of the UK music colleges. Individually, they have won prizes for both solo-playing and chamber music at the RWCMD.
Blackweir Brass have been lucky to be invited to play twice at St Endellion as part of the Festival’s Winter concert series, Endelienta. Additionally, they have performed at the Wantage Literary Festival, in St David’s Hall, at St David’s Cathedral and twice at Theatr Brycheiniog. Last December, they embarked on an ambitious yet rewarding Christmas Tour, visiting Cornwall, Oxford, Bristol, Cardiff and finishing off with a recital in St David’s Cathedral. As members of the RWCMD’s Hire a Performer Scheme, they regularly entertain guests at private functions, as well as at public events. For example, Blackweir recently played for Welsh Rugby’s celebrations for Sam Warburton’s testimonial year.
Traditional concerts are not the only type of performance that Blackweir Brass are experienced in. In April 2018, they became Live Music Now artists. Live Music Now is a charity, founded by Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Stoutzker, which gives young professional musicians the training and opportunities to perform world-class music to audiences who wouldn’t usually have access to it. As a result, Blackweir have performed in a huge variety of spaces, including hospitals, nursing homes, schools and hospices. This chance to deliver musical outreach and give something back to the community around them has made the group stronger and more in touch with their musical emotions.
Blackweir Brass aim to continue performing together after graduation, while their musical and geographical paths are diverging.