The Band has long been associated with the highest levels of musicianship and has had many collaborations with composers and musical organisations. Peter Graham, the current Creative Chair of Black Dyke Band, holds a doctorate in composition. He enjoys an international reputation as one of the leading composers of music for brass band with over 100 publications to his credit, which include, The Essence of Time, Montage and On Alderley Edge. His work, Harrison’s Dream, was commissioned by Boosey & Hawkes for the prestigious Millennium National Championships of Great Britain. 

The well-known composer Philip Wilby is the Musical Associate to the Band. Philip attributes the awakening of his interest in composition to Herbert Howells, whose extra-curricular composition classes he attended whilst a violinist in the National Youth Orchestra. His commitment to composition developed further at Oxford University and continued afterwards when working as a professional violinist. He joined the staff at Leeds University at the invitation of Alexander Goehr in 1972. Philip’s teaching activities have taken him to Dartington and Canford Summer Schools, Bavaria, Norway and USA. He has received commissions from California State University-Fresno, St. Paul’s, Norwich and Liverpool Anglican Cathedrals, the BBC and English Northern Philharmonia.

In October 2000, Lady Walton MBE kindly accepted the Band’s invitation to become its first Honorary Patron, reflecting the Band’s appreciation of successful and continued ventures with Lady Walton and the Walton Trust. 

March 2001 saw the Trustees and Members of the Band present its first Honorary Life Member Award to star of stage and screen, Russ Abbott, in recognition of his excellent contribution to the world of theatre and entertainment and as a supporter of the Band over many years.

The Band were proud to be appointed the first-ever ‘Band in Residence’ at the Royal Northern College of Music and is now a Partner of the College. Many exciting projects are planned to further brass activities, including major concerts featuring soloists from the RNCM, open rehearsals that students will be encouraged to attend and new compositions and Gala Concerts.


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