A4 Brass Quartet: from Finland to Devon

Next week, A4 Brass Quartet are set to give a dazzling performance at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards.

Since winning the RPS Henderson Chamber Ensemble Award in 2018, Jamie, Jonathan, Michael and Chris have gone on to record their second studio album, tour Helsinki, and inspire a new generation of young brass players in Devon! Read on to find out what they've been up to this autumn...

We have recently returned to home soil after a highly enjoyable trip to Helsinki, Finland for a weekend of concerts and workshops with Töölö Brass. There we gave two public concerts: one standalone performance at the Sibelius Academy, and one in the picturesque 'Red Church' (above), joining forces with Töölö Brassto for three solos and a massed item, all for a large and appreciative audience. This was the second time we travelled to Finland after appearing as guest artists at the 2018 Lieksa Brass Week, the biggest brass music festival in the Nordic countries.

Following the success of our debut CD Mists of the Mountains, we completed our second studio album to be released in 2020. This project was kindly supported by City Music Foundation, who have offered us invaluable guidance over the last 12 months as CMF artists. Our new album takes a completely different approach to Mist of the Mountains, focusing on our concert music which includes popular pieces Autumn Leaves and Candide Overture. It also features our tenor horn player Jonny's Toccata 2 (which you can watch here on YouTube) and works by the winners of our inaugural Composition Competition: The Black Dahlia by Daniel Hall, and Kentaro Sato's stunning Tsunagari.

We were also invited back to Devon to lead a day of music making in association with the Bideford Town Band. The band invited youngsters of all abilities from across Devon, with the aim of inspiring a new generation of brass players. We were delighted that following our trip, a new youth band in the area was set up: a direct result of our day spent working with the youngsters!

Other highlights this autumn include a concert for the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester at St Bartholemew's Hospital in London, and the world premiere of Paul Saggers' work The Eagle Has Landed, which came runner-up in our 2019 Composition Competition.

Coming up, we have concerts at Wimbledon International Music Festival (22 November) and St Martin's Church, Stamford (24 November). We're delighted to be invited to the 30th Anniversary of the RPS Awards, playing an arrangement of Mendelssohn's Saltarello from Symphony No. 4. The Society commissioned and first performed this work in 1833, and we're excited to breath new life into this timeless piece of music.

If you're coming to the celebrations, we look forward to seeing you there!

The Royal Philharmonic Society Awards take place next Thursday 28 November 2019 at Battersea Arts Centre, London. Tickets are still on sale for RPS Members, those in the classical music profession, and the general public.

Click here to book tickets and view this year's shortlist.