Ross beats the best to win Radio 2 award

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CARNOUSTIE musician Ross Knight achieved possibly the highest accolade of his career so far at the weekend when he won the overall 2012 BBC Radio 2 Youth Brass Award at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

The college was a hive of brass activity when it hosted the 2012 ‘Olympian’ Festival of Brass.

Brass musicians from Angus more than held their own at the prestigious event. Carnoustie and District Youth Brass Band are the current British Youth Champions and within the band are some fantastic young soloists, none more so than the principal tuba player Ross Knight.

A couple of months ago, the band and Ross were informed that they had been nominated as the BBC Radio 2, Youth Brass Band of the Year and Best soloist in the 18 to 21 category respectively.

An expert panel of five judges had come together and singled them out from all bands and soloists throughout the United Kingdom and placed them at the top of their categories. There was a third category announced of under-18 soloist of the year which went to a brilliant young cornet player, James Fountain, who at the age of 18 is the joint principal cornet player with the famous Grimethorpe Band.

The Carnoustie band and Ross took part in the festival finale on Sunday evening which was recorded by BBC Radio 2. The evening was hosted by the famous brass band guru Frank Renton and the world famous percussionist Simone Rebello. The resident Royal Northern College of Music Brass Band conducted by Dr Nicholas Childs led the evening’s proceedings.

Within the finale the three winners of the BBC Radio 2 youth categories each played a 10 minute performance to a panel of expert judges comprising the world renowned conductor, Richard Evans, top class cornet player and editor of the British Bandsman magazine, Kenneth Crookston, and Katrina Marzella, a world famous baritone soloist who won the BBC Radio 2 title in 2004 and is the solo baritone player with the Black Dyke Brass Band.

First up was James Fountain who played the famous Salvation Army cornet piece ‘Jubilance’ by William Himes.

Next was 19-year-old Ross who is currently studying in his second year at The Royal Academy of Music in London. He chose to play the beautiful and technically difficult tuba piece ‘Capriccio’ composed by Rodney Newton. The performance enthralled the large audience and one could hear a pin drop during his extremely moving and masterful performance. It was clear that Ross had impressed the audience by the applause at the conclusion of his performance.

The third performance was from the Carnoustie and District Youth Brass band with which Ross has remained a player since moving to London. The conductor, Mike Robertson, had chosen two pieces which he knew would show off the strength and prowess of the band.

The first was ‘Enter the Galaxies’ by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, The second piece was one in which the band excels called ‘Dundonnell’ from Philip Sparks Hymn of the Highlands suite.

With the programmes over, the judges had heard three top class performances and they all commented on the extremely high standard and professional playing by all three award winners.

Just before the final piece of the evening which featured the combined ranks of the Carnoustie and District Band joined with the Royal Northern College Band, resulting in a 70-strong brass band, playing ‘Horizons’ by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, the announcement of the overall winner of the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award was made.

Tension was high in the room and Katrina Marzella made the announcement that Ross had been awarded that overall 2012 BBC Radio 2 Youth Brass Award.

This is one further step in his ambition to become a professional tuba player.

Winning this award gives Ross a further solo opportunity when he will give a BBC Radio 2 performance playing as guest soloist with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Mike Robertson who is Ross’s former teacher said: “Both the band and myself are delighted that Ross received the Radio 2 award. He has worked extremely hard over many years and is completely dedicated to becoming a professional musician. I wish him every success.”

The performances of Ross and the band in the festival finale can be heard at 9 p.m. on February 22 by listening to Frank Renton’s famous ‘Listen To The Band’ show and Ross and the Band hope that as many local people as possible will tune in to hear them perform.