Derwent Brass

Derwent Brass is one of four shortlistees for the 2024 RPS Inspiration Award. We welcomed the public to vote for a favourite group here on our website from early December 2023 to early February 2024, and drew the biggest number of votes we have yet received for this award. Voting is now closed, and the winner will be announced at the RPS Awards on Tuesday 5 March at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music. Thank you so much to everyone who voted.

Part of the Midlands’ rich heritage of brass banding, Derwent Brass is a beacon of innovative programming, continuous artistic development and wide-reaching repertoire. Firmly established in the Championship Section, the band dares to step outside the traditional mould to lead the way in brass band music and entertainment. Rooted in the Amber Valley of Derbyshire, the band comprises male and female performers of diverse ages and backgrounds, delivering quality music-making which upholds their number one ranking within the county. Derwent Brass strives to grow its artform with powerful and inspiring musical experiences, offering performances that everyone can enjoy.

Derwent Brass celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2022 with special events that concluded with Under the Stars – an astronomy-themed concert including Holst’s The Planets, augmented with harps, organ, celeste and chorus. The band seized this moment to launch its sustainability commitments to the planet. These have positively influenced the wider brass band community, winning the Making Music ‘Green Award’ in 2023. Over the last year, the band performed with Southwell Choral Society in Southwell Minster, took its innovative ‘Bitesize Broadway’ production of Sweet Charity to the Bolsover Festival of Brass, and gave a Stage and Screen Anniversary Edition show at Derby Theatre, celebrating film and musical scores. During this time, Derwent Brass was shortlisted for the coveted 4BarsRest ‘Band of the Year’ Award and became the inaugural recipient of the Brass Bands England Innovation Award, in recognition of its enterprise over many years. Building on its artistic relationship with Derby Theatre, the band has recently completed a successful 35-show run of Sarah Brigham’s acclaimed production of Brassed Off.

Derwent Brass (photo: Brocklehurst Photography)

‘Whilst I cherish the traditional heart-warming sound a brass band can offer, it’s the versatility and musical innovation that sustains the vitality of Derwent Brass. We continue to push boundaries with our events, creative compositions and collaborations that resonate across genres. Driving progress, being financially prudent, inclusive, and environmentally conscious are not easy aspects to balance, but it certainly makes for an exciting journey to be a part of.’
Steve, percussion and Trustee

‘The activities of Derwent Brass create a unique dynamic, stretching in ambition and artform, but in a way that maintains a sense of belonging, contributing to enduring appeal and accessibility. This past year has been one of its best and I could not be prouder to see its pioneering approach to brass banding and sustainability receive due recognition across multiple platforms. This pride is felt deep across the organisation, its associates, and followers, and into the community where its enterprise continues to attract momentum for new and exciting reasons.’
Matt, associate composer

The RPS Inspiration Award is generously supported by Presto Music.