Prof. Nicholas Childs
Taking up the baton as a conductor, Nicholas has had phenomenal success with many bands, including highly acclaimed national championships. His current tenure as Principal Conductor and Director of Music of the famous Black Dyke Band has been marked not only with continued contest success, but with a series of innovative concerts and world premieres of major works for brass band with a variety of soloists and musical combinations.
He continues his advocacy of new music within the outstanding catalogue of brass and wind band recordings he has recorded and produced in his award-winning firm, Doyen Recordings. Not content with these activities, Dr. Childs is in great demand as a teacher, clinician, and consultant throughout the academic community. He serves as Senior Tutor in Brass Band Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he has taught for over twelve years. Further honours have come with his appointment as Associate Conductor of the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain, and as Trustee of the Brass Band Heritage Trust.
In recent years Childs has premiered with Black Dyke Band new works by leading British composers, including: Michael Ball – English Suite, Cambrian Suite; Arthur Butterworth – Sinfonia Concertante; Martin Ellerby – Concerto for Trombone and Brass Band; Philip Wilby – Concerto 1945 for Cornet and Brass Band, Concerto Grosso, and Concerto for Tenor Horn and Brass Band. In June 2000 he directed Fodens in the premiere of Edward Gregson’s significant work, Trumpets of the Angels. He followed this with the Royal Northern College of Music Brass Band’s first presentation of Danceries by Kenneth Hesketh. With Dr. Philip Wilby as Composer-in-Residence of Black Dyke Band and Dr. Peter Graham as Associate Conductor of this famed ensemble, Childs has presented innovative concert programs with new and appealing music. Representative of these achievements was Graham’s Call of the Cossacks performed at the 2002 Gala Concert of the European Brass Band Championships, Brussels. With Black Dyke Band Childs has featured in some of the most recognized brass festivals, including several joint concerts with the International Staff Band, especially the Gala Concerts in London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Childs has pursued a series of pace-setting recordings of much of this new music, including Doyen releases showcasing the music of Michael Ball, Arthur Butterworth, Peter Graham, and, with the International Staff Band, the music of Wilfred Heaton. In the autumn of 2003 he and Black Dyke will release a dynamic new recording celebrating the centenary of the dean of 20th-century brass band composers, Eric Ball (1903-1989). With Black Dyke Band as Band-in-Residence at the RNCM, Childs has been able to promote the widest range of literature, several concerts of which have also led to broadcasts on BBC Radio 3. One program representative program included the January 2002 concert featuring Philip Wilby’s Atlantic, Michael Ball’s Cambrian Suite, and Kenneth Hesketh’s Alchymist’s Journal, the concert later broadcast in June, 2002.
As one of the world’s most recognized masters of the euphonium and brass specialist, Childs has performed and taught throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, the Far East, Canada, and the United States. He has appeared with such groups as the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, United States Marine Band (“The President’s Own”), and the Canadian Brass. In addition, he has been featured with nearly every major brass band throughout the world and many wind bands, especially in university settings with the United States, where he has been equally acclaimed for his teaching and clinic work.
With his roots in the British brass band tradition, having first been trained in the Tredegar (Wales) Youth Band, Childs continues to give important emphasis to the development of the brass band movement. This comes via his commitment of the training of outstanding young musicians both at the collegiate level and within the National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain. He has taken his teaching and conducting skills to a variety of outstanding brass bands outside the UK. He has served as the director of The National Youth Brass Band of Denmark, and has gained national championships in France, Norway, Wales and Scotland. He has reached the pinnacle of success with two recent National Championships of Great Britain, 1999 with Fodens, and 2001 with Black Dyke Band. His company, Doyen Recordings, in cooperation with SP&S, Ltd., maintains the largest catalogue of brass band recordings, The World of Brass, with Doyen recording the widest range of ensembles, from Wind orchestras to the finest Brass Bands.