Since the 10-piece brass ensemble format was originally conceived and developed by Philip Jones in the early 1970’s, the ‘tentet’ has joined the ‘quintet’ to become a well-established form of brass chamber music. Since then many groups have appeared, with varying degrees of success and longevity, and I was intrigued to hear of the formation of a new group – Austonley Brass – under the leadership of Garrath Beckwith and James Garlick. The personnel boasts a host of young players from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, and they aim to carry the torch of brass chamber music to a wide audience nationally, drawing new audiences also through a comprehensive educational programme.
Initial impressions are extremely positive; already they have achieved a pleasing homogeneity of sound and ensemble and – most importantly – approach their well-varied repertoire with an intelligence and musicianship which I find very encouraging, and which will doubtless develop further, as they continue to work and mature together as an ensemble.
I was very proud to be a founder member of this tradition, and I wish Austonley Brass every success as they take it forward
Former Principal Trombone BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Philip Jones Brass Ensemble
You absolutely need to hear this group! If you’re a fan of big brass ensembles then this is for you. This a wonderful collection of some of my favourite brass players, making a beautiful and rich sound together. The ensemble exudes the varied and extensive experience of the players, giving a polished, tight and exciting performance
Adrian Morris (1965-2015)
Former principal Bass Trombone Hallé Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra
The opening notes of Ray Premru’s Blues March demonstrates the fine quality of the playing on this recording of stylistically diverse miniatures from Austonley Brass, the new 10 piece brass ensemble created by Garrath Beckwith and Jim Garlick. A conservative choice of music, showed a tight knit ensemble, with a very warm sound quality, particularly at the lower end, good intonation and idiomatic flexibility. I wish the ensemble success in an increasingly competitive and global market.
Former Principal Trombone Philharmonia Orchestra
After listening to a CD copy of recently recorded sound clips of the new 10-piece brass ensemble, Austonley Brass, I am extremely impressed with the very high standard of performance. On reading the personnel list of this group I suppose I should have realised there would be exceptionally high-level, musically, individual contributions offered into the mix and balance of the whole ensemble, but added to that there was a feel of great professionalism. I will look forward with eager anticipation to see and hear Austonley Brass in concert in the near future. This group must be successful.
When a group of good guys who are all great musicians get together as an ensemble, they make amazing music – and that is exactly what Austonley Brass are, and that is exactly what they make – brilliant musical performances!
Dr Peter Meechan
All lovers of good brass music should watch out for the name, Austonley Brass. Founded by Garrath Beckwith and James Garlick, this 10-piece ensemble comprises some of the best brass players in the North of England and features hard-hitting jazz arrangements that will set the senses reeling. However, it’s not all razz and jazz, as they also include music from the classical repertoire as well as quieter arrangements of ballads which demonstrate that brass can be as sensitive as a string quartet. I predict that in a short while, this ensemble will be synonymous with first-class playing and quality arranging. Remember the name, Austonley Brass.
Composer, Arranger, Conductor, Music Consultant, Former Principal Timpanist ENO
It is with great pleasure that I write in support of this new and exciting group, having had the good fortune to work with most of its members at various points over a number of years. Austonley Brass is a 10 piece brass ensemble that boasts a line up of players with proud histories among some of the Uk’s finest brass bands and orchestras.
Upon hearing this group the immediate impression that they make is through quality of sound. A rich and warm ensemble sound from the most gentle pianissimo through to a fortissimo that tricks the listener into believing they are hearing a group of musicians far greater in number. This quality of sound emanates from the very solid low brass line up which is equally at home providing some edge when necessary in the group’s “jazzier” repertoire. Given the background of this group of musicians it is hardly surprising that technical brilliance is also a feature.
From the top end down, technical dexterity is of extremely high integrity and the challenges of extreme register playing are met with aplomb. This group is sure to be an absolute hit with its target audience and I have no doubt that Austonley Brass will be a name associated with high quality brass music for many years to come
Euphonium Soloist - Musical Director (New Zealand)
Austonley Brass were 100% professional from start to finish. They even sorted out arrangements of our repertoire so we could perform some joint items. Their performance on the night was stunning, both technically and musically and they were a real hit with the audience.
Musical Director - Saddleworth Male Voice Choir
Austonley Brass is a new star in the firmament of large brass ensembles. with a dark, rich sound, that is sure to excite audiences of all ages. I am sure these fine musicians would be a hit at any music club or festival.
Director: River City Brass (Pittsburgh, USA), International Tuba Soloist
I would like to say how impressed I was by the performance of the group at our annual Gala Concert at Ecclesall Church.
The sound produced by the dectet was mellifluous and so all-encompassing. You drew the audience in to the musical experience you were offering, and presented music that was able to be enjoyed by every person who was there.
For me the tonality was so important, and the intonation was just perfect – which all contributed mightily to the wonderful sound of the group.
When the choir and band were performing together you complimented the choir totally, never drowning the sound of the voices and always giving support and depth to the items being performed. We were also very grateful that you produced fabulous arrangements of the pieces for your whole group from our vocal copy – very impressive!
It was a pleasure to work with you all, your professionalism shone through every aspect of the time we were working together, and we certainly hope that we can come together again at some future date