Thursday, August 9, 2018

2018 Launchpad Prize Winners #2


Festivo Winds

(Royal Northern College of Music)

The Players

Leila Marshall - flute
Adam Bowman - oboe
Andy Mellor - clarinet
Sara Erb - bassoon
Thomas Edwards - horn


Festivo Winds are a dynamic group of young musicians from around the world who formed at the RNCM in December 2017. They are a strong group - each member has numerous personal accolades - and together they create a palpable sense of energy and fun. 

The ensemble specialise in the core quintet repertoire, whilst maintaining an interest in arrangements and new works. 

Festivo Winds are the winners of the 2018 Fewkes Woodwind Competition and the June Emerson Wind Music Launchpad Prize. The members are very excited to see what the future holds.

June Emerson Wind Music would like to thank Suzy Stonefield for organising 
the awarding of the Launchpad Prize at the Royal Northern College of Music.


Festivo Winds

Royal Northern College of Music

Thursday, August 2, 2018

2018 Launchpad Prize Winners #1


Rosewood Clarinet Quartet

(Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama)

The Players

Joanna James
Carwyn Thomas
Katherine Nunn
Jason Hill


Based in Cardiff, the Rosewood Clarinet Quartet was formed in September 2017 by Joanna James, Carwyn Thomas, Katherine Nunn and Jason Hill, four Master's students at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Within its first year alone, the quartet has already gone from strength to strength, securing the Wind Plus Chamber Music Prize, being highly commended in the McGrenery Chamber Music Prize, and most recently winning the June Emerson Wind Music Ensemble (Launchpad) Prize 2018. The Quartet have raised money for charity, regularly working with Music in Hospitals and Care, and have most recently played for the College's Open Day. Some pieces the Quartet have played over the past few months include Uhl's Divertimento for Clarinet Quartet, Lenny Sayers' "Bute" and Clare Grundman's Caprice for Clarinet Quartet.
In 2018 they won the June Emerson Wind Music Launchpad Prize.

June Emerson Wind Music would like to thank Kevin Price for organising 
the awarding of the Launchpad Prize at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama.


Rosewood Clarinet Quartet
Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Thursday, July 26, 2018


Jack Brymer (1915 - 2003)

In the winter in the United States there is a problem in concert halls which become so dry with the excessive heating.  In my bassoon case I would put a humidifier,  a sort of rubber tube soaked in water. 'A London Symphony’ of Vaughan Williams has some very pianissimo sections.  In one of these, with Previn conducting on an LSO tour, one of the double basses literally exploded.  It was an amazing noise, followed by the Mancunian voice of Stuart Knussen (father of Oliver, the composer and solo double bass), ‘git off the platform, Robin!’, to Robin McGee, the owner of the ruined instrument.  Previn really enjoyed that.

Once in the Royal Festival Hall we had just finished the first movement of a symphony when Jack Brymer, sitting next to me,  got up and walked off the platform through the violins.  I think Previn must have suspected what was the trouble for he just stood on the podium and waited.  Sure enough, after probably not more than two minutes, back comes Jack, who says in his marvellous, sonorous voice ‘Sorry, AndrĂ©!’ and goes back to his seat to complete the performance of the symphony.

Roger Birnstingl

Thursday, July 12, 2018


The British Flute Society - Summer Flute Festival

Friday August 17th - Sunday August 19th

This year the theme of the festival is all things new in the flute world

The instrument

Its technique

Its music

There will be celebrity recitals, workshops, a flute choir, trade stands
and opportunities to meet players, teachers and composers.

To book a place contact
To join the British Flute Society contact:

The Future Flute Fest 2018 is for everyone who loves the flute.

Thursday, July 5, 2018



Four playing days open to clarinet players of all ages from Grade 5 to Diploma level.

Stephanie Reeve will direct rehearsals focusing on ensemble skills, technique and sight-reading, using a wide variety of repertoire and the full range of clarinets from Eb to contrabass. An informal performance will be given at the end of the four sessions.

Further information from:

Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge CB22 5BP





Gill and David Johnston have masterminded Musicale Holidays since 1977. Their passion is to involve children in meaningful and, above all, enjoyable music-making through a series of fun but structured programmes.
Many of their staff grew up attending a Summer Musicale, and now they are passing on their enthusiasm to the next generation of young musicians.
The courses are run by a dedicated and enthusiastic team of professional players and teachers, whose aim is always to get the best out of the players. At the same time they ensure that everyone has a great time.

COURSES for 2018





For all details contact or telephone 01582 713333

Friday, June 29, 2018

Something to remember about a bassoon's bottom?

Roger Birnstingl remembers...

Cecil James was the solo bassoonist of the Philharmonia Orchestra. He was the nephew of Edwin James who had been 1st bassoon of the LSO and gave the first performance of Elgar’s Romance in 1911. Cecil was a superb musician and played on the Buffet with the lovely nutty tone so difficult to achieve on ‘the mumblephone’, which is what Cecil called the German bassoon.
In 1955 the Philharmonia played at the Lucerne Festival with Fritz Reiner conducting. In the overture to Die Meistersinger there are two bassoon parts. Reiner wanted them doubled, so I was the 3rd bassoon with the 1st bassoon part. We had got through the first part of the overture and I was doubling all the forte passages. We were approaching the Apprentice Music, which uses oboes and clarinets with an important part for the bassoon. I did not know Cecil very well at that time, so when I noticed that he seemed to be having trouble with his bassoon, I thought ‘Goodness, I think I better play’ which is what I did. As I was playing, Cecil put his bassoon on the floor and sat back with his arms crossed.

Reiner looked up, stopped the orchestra and said
‘Vas is with bassoon?’, to which Cecil replied
‘If the young man wishes to play my part, perhaps I should go home.’
Reiner to Manoug Parikian, the leader
‘Vat he say?’
‘Don’t worry, Maestro, just start again from letter B and it will all be alright’.

Alright it was, but I later learned that the Buffet has a cork at the bottom of the butt joint which can be used to adjust the intonation and this is what Cecil had been doing.