Brett Baker, Black Dyke’s principal trombone is viewed as one of Europe’s leading brass players and teachers and is now a clinician for Michael Rath Trombones. Before the age of twenty-five he had won every major brass band competition. He is currently the most recorded trombone soloist in the brass band movement. He is a past Trombone Solo Champion of Great Britain and an Associate of the Royal College of Music.
Brett is from the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire and was introduced to the trombone at the age of ten by his father. His first teachers were Bryan Nelmes, Robert Morgan and Ken Harmon. In 1989 he moved to the Flowers Band, and the National Youth Brass Band where he served two years as principal trombone. Successes included wins at the Cheltenham and Bath Festivals and becoming a finalist at the British Open Solo Championships in 1990. His teachers at this time were Danny Hannaby, Steve Walkley and Lyndon Baglin.
In 1992 Brett became a finalist in BBC’s Young Musician of the Year, began studies at Salford University and joined the Fairey Band. Brett was British Open Trombone Solo Champion in 1993 and 1994. He was the trombone tutor at Salford University from 1993-1996, studying performance under David King. Brett’s first solo recording “Bone Idyll” with the Fairey Band was completed in 1996. His advisor at the time was Denis Wick. During Brett’s stay in Manchester he established a reputation as one of the finest players of his generation. At Fairey’s he won every major brass band contest including a historic treble in 1993/4. Brett also won the Spennymoor Brass in Concert Entertainment contest where he was the featured soloist and was awarded “Performer of the Year” by his fellow players.
Brett studied at the Royal Northern Conservatoire under Chris Houlding, John Iveson and John Miller, and consequently joined Black Dyke in 2000. Under the Direction of Dr Nicholas Childs, Brett has played on over a dozen CD’s and highlights have included two trips to the USA and Bermuda, winning the National Championships in 2001 & 2004 and the European and British Open Championships in 2005 and 2006.
As well as a hectic playing schedule Brett enjoys presenting workshops and lectures specialising in solo performance techniques and the education of younger players. Brett has been trombone tutor on Star Lake Music camp near New York and tutor with the Swiss Youth Band. Brett is currently trombone tutor of the National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain and has been trombone tutor of the Northern Brass Band Trust in Durham since 1992. In 2006 he became Chairman of the British Trombone Society and Secretary of the International Trombone Association.
Over the last twelve months as a brass clinician Brett has toured from Brazil to Canada and from New Zealand to Western Europe. Brett has given workshops and recitals at Birmingham Conservatory, Leeds University, The National Arts Club USA, the New York Brass Conference and the University of Toronto. He has been a guest soloist with bands in Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Canada, and the USA. Brett has been a guest player with Grimethorpe, Fodens, Yorkshire Building Society and Leyland Band and has regularly performed in the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Halls in London, the Symphony Hall Birmingham and Bridgewater Hall Manchester.
Over the past ten years Brett has been keen to promote new music for the trombone including a joint project with Leeds University and Dr Philip Wilby. Brett has been involved with over thirty commissions including composers such as Robin Dewhurst, Philip Sparke, Philip Harper, Darrol Barry and Martin Ellerby. Brett lives with is Wife Sarah in Cheshire and is increasingly building a reputation as a conductor and adjudicator.