Durham University Brass Band’s annual Composition Competition returns for another year!

Emily Thorpe

I love being part of dubb

Durham University Brass Band (dubb) was the first society I joined as a fresher, as I was looking for a way to continue playing my cornet at university but in a different type of ensemble to the ones that I had performed in at school. Brass Band appealed to me as a high-standard non-auditioned group that performs and competes all across the country! Ever since joining, dubb has been nothing but welcoming – most of my friends at university have actually been made through dubb! The highlight of my year was definitely performing at the Unibrass Contest in Sheffield – it was amazing to get to know the band more in all the extra rehearsals and the social at the end of the contest! Returning to performing after years of COVID restrictions was a great feeling, and winning third place at the contest was a real achievement – our hard work had definitely paid off! 

The annual Composition Competition

After being elected as the Publicity and Alumni Officer for 22/23, my second major task (after our dubb-le decade anniversary concert) has been to launch our annual Composition Competition. It has been a great experience so far designing the publicity and managing the social media launch for the competition, and I encourage all student musicians to get involved in this brilliant opportunity to compose an original piece of music!

The competition is open to student musicians and recent graduates (up to one year) at any UK university and is split into two categories. One category is open exclusively to Durham students and recent graduates, and the second class is an open class for all students and recent graduates from any UK university. This year, we again are able to offer a £100 prize and a chance to be published by Modrana Music Publishers for each category! Winning compositions will also be performed in concert by dubb in the upcoming academic year! All that the judges are looking for is an original concert piece or march for a standard brass band orchestration to a 3rd section standard, based on our theme!

Together as an exec we decided on the theme of ‘Celebration’! So far, 2022 has given us so many reasons to celebrate – birthdays, graduations, the return of live music, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and even dubb’s very own 20th anniversary! I would encourage student composers to take inspiration from their own personal celebrations (big or small) as we are looking for a creative and original outlook on the theme!

All compositions are blind judged by our adjudicators Steve Robson (a local composer and concert organiser to County Durham) and Lewis Wilkinson (a dubb alumnus and local conductor to Durham). Both are really excited to see what everyone composes this year – as our theme gives entrants plenty of avenues to explore!

The closing date for entries is the 1st of September 2022, so if you’re stuck for something to do this August why not give composing a go? And hopefully, you’ll find another reason to celebrate when we announce the winners! 

Good luck everyone!

Discover more

Full competition rules can be found here. Entries close on the 1st of September 2022. 

More details and tips can be found on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Entries and queries should be directed to [email protected]

Emily Thorpe

Hi, I’m Emily and I am a second year undergraduate student studying History and Spanish! Aside from this, I am the Publicity and Alumni Officer for Durham University Brass Band, so I spend most of my free time rehearsing, performing, meeting the exec, designing posters or managing the band’s social media!

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