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Three world premieres make annual Durham brass festival shine

The programme for the 2014 Durham brass festival has been unveiled with music across the county

Launch of Brass: Durham International Festival 2014
Launch of Brass: Durham International Festival 2014

Three world premieres are in the offing as the programme for annual brass festival in Durham is revealed.

Indie rock band British Sea Power collaborated with another music group for the first time, finding common ground with Durham’s NASUWT Riverside Band.

The result, Sea of Brass, will be premiered at the Gala Theatre on July 17 ahead of a planned autumn tour.

Composer John Kefala-Kerr is the man behind ‘multi-media opera’ Steamsong which is to be performed at the same venue on July 12 and 13.

Inspired by the record-breaking run of the locomotive Mallard in 1938, it will feature theatrical and vocal performance, projected video, digital sound and live instrumental music.

Performing the work will be a music ensemble led by conductor Simon Fidler, a chorus comprising members of the Voices of Hope chamber choir and Emmerdale actress Zoe Lambert.

The composer’s sound installation, Book of Bells, was an attraction at Durham Cathedral during last year’s festival which coincided with the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition.

This year, on July 18, the cathedral will play host to Fractal Sparks, a performance of Jo Hamilton’s forthcoming second album, Sparks, with accompanying visual effects.

That concert will also feature a brass-inspired concert by Lantern s On The Lake with the Durham County Youth Big Band.

As ever it’s a rich and varied programme with other highlights including jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis, Onyx Brass, The BBC Big Band, The Brighouse and Rastrick Band and The Stars from The Commitments.

Coun Neil Foster, Durham County Council canbinet member for economic regeneration, said: “Brass is one of the highlights of our cultural calendar here in Durham.

“It always offers a fantastic choice of live music to suit all tastes, covering everything from unique collaborations by established and new artists to lively and colourful performances on the city’s streets.”

The Streets of Brass will add life to Durham city centre from JUly 13-20 while bands and street theatre companies will entertain in the Big Brass Bash at Spennymoor on July 17 and Chester-le-Street on July 18.

A brass-inspired Samba Blow Out! will take place in Crook on July 11 with a performance by Runaway Samba, a new youth band created by Jack Drum Arts and comprising young players from across the Durham dales.

The festival is from July 11-20. Details on www.brassfestival.co.uk

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