Dates and line-up announced for Durham Brass Festival

Dead Victorians on Framwellgate Bridge.
7th Durham International Brass Festival.
Streets of Brass: Best of British.
Dead Victorians on Framwellgate Bridge. 7th Durham International Brass Festival. Streets of Brass: Best of British.

Durham will trumpet the return of its popular BRASS Festival this summer.

It’s been announced that the celebration of the best of brass will return to the city for its 11th year from Friday, July 7 to Sunday, July 16.

The week-long festival, organised by Durham County Council, showcases a broad range of brass music, from Broadway to 17th Century Venice. The festival also brasses up some Northern Soul while hosting the BBC Big Band’s tribute to jazz trumpet legend, Dizzy Gillespie.

Highlights include North East stars of the West End Matt Corner (Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys) and Kate Graham (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Billy Elliot) joining the Scottish Swing Orchestra and the BRASS Broadway Chorus, showcasing the region’s best musical theatre talent for swing versions of great Broadway songs from Anything Goes, Hairspray, Chicago, West Side Story and more.

Meanwhile, Venetian Surround Sound brings together Durham Cathedral Choir with early music virtuosos His Majesty’s Sagbutts & Cornetts to perform a tailor-made concert programme designed to the acoustics and layout of Durham Cathedral.

This year BRASS also celebrates the 100th anniversary of one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time, Dizzy Gillespie. The legendary BBC Big Band pays homage to his contribution to jazz, alongside that of other great brass players and band leaders from Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey to Maynard Fergusson and Quincy Jones.

Durham’s BRASS festival director Paul Gudgin said: “We’re delighted to announce the return of BRASS for 2017.

“The festival has become known not only for offering great music and incredible entertainment, but also as a commissioner of new and exciting works and this year is no exception.

“We’re incredibly excited by this year’s new works and the return of some old friends, all of which continue the tradition of brass music in County Durham, but ensure there is something for everyone to enjoy.”

The festival will also see two great North East traditions, brass bands and choral societies, come together on Saturday, July 15 in a new version of William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast. The concert will feature the Reg Vardy Band and a special Festival Chorus in a unique celebration of brass and voices.

This year also sees the first ever Big Band Summer School from Friday, July 14 to Sunday, July 16. Led by American jazz trombonist Jiggs Whigham and members of the BBC Big Band, this intensive three day big band summer school for young, intermediate and advanced players will focus on the music of the great brass big band leaders.”

•For tickets and the full line up visit www.brassfestival.co.uk