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Edward Gregson

Born: 1945

Nationality: British

Publisher: Novello & Co

Edward Gregson was born in Sunderland in 1945. He is a composer of international standing whose music has been performed, broadcast, and recorded world-wide. He has written orchestral, chamber, instrumental and choral music, as well as music for the theatre, film, and television, and has completed commissions for orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Bournemouth Symphony, the Hallé and the BBC Philharmonic. His major orchestral works include Music for Chamber Orchestra (1968), Metamorphoses (1979), Concerto for Orchestra (1983), Blazon (1991), and Dream Song (2010). However, it is his concertos for various instruments that form the backbone of his orchestral output: horn (1971), tuba (1976), trumpet (1983), trombone (1979), clarinet (1994), piano (1997), violin (2000), saxophone (2006), cello (2007), flute (2013), and cornet (2017), with premieres of concerti for oboe and euphonium upcoming for the 2017-18 season.

His contribution to the brass band repertoire has been of huge significance, from early works such as Essay (1970), The Plantagenets (1973) and Connotations (1977), his ‘middle period’ works, including Dances and Arias (1984), Of Men and Mountains (1991), and The Trumpets of the Angels (2000) – to his more recent Rococo Variations (2008), Symphony in two movements (2012) and Of Distant Memories (2013). He has also written music for brass ensemble including two brass quintets, two brass quartets, Three Dance Episodes for brass octet, and fanfares for various occasions.

His recent music includes Triptych for solo violin (commissioned for the 2011 RNCM Manchester International Violin competition), Tributes for clarinet and piano (recorded by Michael Collins), Aztec Dances for flute or recorder and piano, and Three John Donne Settings (commissioned for the National Youth Choir of Wales), as well as new versions of his Horn Concerto (for orchestra) and Trombone Concerto (for brass band). He is currently working on his second string quartet, commissioned by the UK's Presteigne Festival, where he will serve as Composer in Residence in 2017, and a new thirty-minute cantata for the Hallé Orchestra and Youth Choir.

His music has been extensively recorded, and perhaps of special note is the ongoing series of his orchestral music and concertos on the Chandos label. Volume 4 including Dream Song, Aztec Dances, Horn Concerto and Concerto for Orchestra, recorded by the BBC Philharmonic and Bramwell Tovey in December 2013 is available to purchase from July 2014. Also noteworthy is the survey of his complete brass band music, which Nicholas Childs commenced in 1992 on his then new Doyen label. The latest volume (no. 6), including his new Four Etudes and Cornet Concerto, was released in January 2017.

Edward Gregson has had an impressive career as an academic, from his time in the music department of Goldsmiths College, University of London (1976-96), to his appointment as Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester (1996-2008). He retired from academe in 2008 in order to concentrate on composing. He holds honorary degrees and fellowships from a dozen English universities and conservatoires, and is a Companion and Emeritus Professor of the RNCM. He sits on a number of Boards relating to music education and the music profession, and has been a writer-director of the Performing Right Society for Music since 1995.

Revised June 2017 © Novello & Co

Gregson on Brass

Gregson speaks about the history of the Festival of Brass, its importance, and his contribution to the repertoire at the Royal Northern College of Music, 2017.

RNCM 17 Edward Gregson from on Vimeo.

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