Competition Success and Critical Acclaim
In October 2014, Black Dyke Band was crowned National Champions and Zoe Hancock won the Best Instrumentalist prize. Although the Band have not entered the competition every year, this was the twenty-third occasion that they have won the title. In May 2015, they became European Champions for the thirteenth time, and Gary Curtin won the Best Instrumentalist prize. In September 2014, the Band were awarded first prize at the British Open Championship held in Symphony Hall, Birmingham along with Best Euphonium prize awarded to Gary Curtin and Best Soloist prize awarded to Zoe Hancock. Although they have not entered the competition every year, this was the 30th time that they had been declared British Open Champions.
In 2009, and again in 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Band became Champion Band at the English National Championships. They were named English National Champions in 2014 having won the National Brass Band Championships in October of that year. In recognition of its continued success, services to music in general and the region in particular, the Band, was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City by the City of Bradford in 1976. This honour was reaffirmed in 2008.
For almost a century and a half, the Band have received acclaim from music reviewers world-wide. William Littler the columnist and music critic of the well-respected ‘Toronto Star’ quoted, “If the band had played no more than the fanfare from Strauss’ Festmusik der Stadt Wien, it would have slackened my jaw. Virtuosity of this order takes the breath away”.
Caroline Franklin praised the Band’s appearance at the 2003 Newbury Spring Festival, commenting, “The audience had, like me, gone along to this return visit by the famous band simply from the love of the sound they produce…..an afternoon of great playing – surely Black Dyke will be back”.