Malcolm Arnold Fantasies Competition – Winners Announced

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The Malcolm Arnold Fantasies Competition, initiated by The Wallace Collection, sees four outstanding brass musicians selected to contribute to a unique recording project and perform at the forthcoming Malcolm Arnold Festival on 15th October 2016.

The audition panel included John Wallace and Anthony George of The Wallace Collection, and after completing an audition tour which took place at 4 venues across the UK (Royal Academy of Music, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Royal Northern College of Music and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), the winners have now been selected.

Stuart Beard – Tuba (Royal Academy of Music)*
Michael Gibbs – Horn (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama)
Illiam Quaine – Trumpet (Royal Northern College of Music)
Benny Vernon – Trombone (Royal Academy of Music)

*In addition to selecting the four players to record the Fantasies and perform at the Malcolm Arnold Festival in October, further recognition was given to the best overall performance which was awarded to Stuart Beard.

The recording project brings together Arnold’s works for brass, to create a CD – The Magic of Malcolm Arnold Vol. 1which will be released under The Wallace Collection label at the Malcolm Arnold Festival in October, marking the 10th anniversary of Sir Malcolm’s death. 

As a significant reappraisal of the life’s work of Malcolm Arnold, the recording will incorporate performances from The Wallace Collection, The National Youth Brass Band of Scotland (which originally commissioned Little Suite for Brass No 1 in 1963), RCS Brass and the four winners of the Fantasies Competition – who will record the Fantasies for Horn, Trumpet, Trombone and Tuba and, in so doing, pay tribute to the rejuvenation of these works through their rediscovery at the outset of their careers.

John Wallace and Anthony George reflect upon the competition:

“Every participant was a great credit to their respective institutions. The competition across the UK was intense and the final decisions were far from easy, requiring great deliberation between us both. We were genuinely very impressed by the high standards we found throughout the auditions, and from our privileged position of being able to see these talented players in action at all the venues, we feel that the UK’s potential future for brass playing is so very bright.

We are extremely grateful for the support of all the hosting venues, institutions and personnel who have enabled this part of our Malcolm Arnold project to become a reality.  We also offer our thanks to The Malcolm Arnold Trust for its enthusiasm for our initiative, helping us to integrate the project into the forthcoming Malcolm Arnold Festival.

All the performers involved also deserve our sincere congratulations – they evidently worked extremely hard to present their performances of Arnold’s wonderful music. So, even if they weren’t part of the final selection, we have no doubt that these preparations will have given them all the positive benefit of gaining a closer understanding and appreciation of Arnold’s Fantasy for their specific instrument – a winning outcome for each and every one of the competitors.”

John Wallace and Anthony George

In line with The Wallace Collection’s enthusiasm to promote excellence in brass and to build awareness of the rich repertoire that has been crafted across the centuries, this project has been a major focus for the ensemble’s 2015/16 initiatives. 

Through the creation of the CD, in parallel with performance opportunities for a mix of ensembles, it opens access to a variety of audiences and offers an ideal platform to reignite appreciation of the influential impact on brass music which was generated by this prolific composer.


The CD was released in 2016. Find out more about the final recording – The Magic of Malcolm Arnold Vol. 1

If you would like to purchase a copy, it is available through The Wallace Collection online shop.

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