Five Minutes with the Buck Brass Trio
Daniel Walton – Trumpet | Timothy Ellis – French Horn | Richard Buck – Trombone
Musicians’ Company Brass Ensemble prize winners the Buck Brass Trio is one of the finest young brass ensembles in the UK. Since forming at the Royal Academy of Music in 2012, the trio’s popularity has grown rapidly thanks to their ever-expanding repertoire and determination to deliver a crowd-pleasing experience, whether they’re performing at a prestigious venue or at a private event.
You’ve built up an impressive repertoire. How do you select new music?
When we began in 2012, the only major piece of music for the Brass Trio was Poulenc’s famous Sonata for Trumpet, French Horn and Trombone. We saw having such a small repertoire as a blessing as it has given us the opportunity to build a repertoire based around our interests and tastes. Initially, this meant we had to spend many long hours in the libraries at the Royal Academy of Music, Senate House Library and SOAS searching for repertoire for three instruments/voices yet surprisingly there was a significant amount of repertoire that we could transcribe by major composers.
Does having a large repertoire help you win more work?
One of the joys of being in a position to build our own repertoire means that we can offer audiences something new and fresh and this seems to appeal to concert promoters and audiences.
Tell us about some of the new repertoire for brass you’ve helped pioneer
Over the years we have enjoyed working with young and established composers. One of the joys of working with composers is collaborating with them to discover the potential colours, technical possibilities and textures of the Brass Trio. A highlight for us was working with Timothy Bowers for our first major new work in 2013-2014. He has composed a vast amount of repertoire for brass instruments and we were able to learn from his experience and intimate understanding of brass chamber music. We are extremely fortunate that Timothy (Ellis) is also a skilled pianist as he studied piano at the Academy for four years and we have performed a number of piano trios and plan on exploring this genre more over the next year.
What have been your musical highlights of 2018, both as a group and as individuals?
2018 has been successful for the ensemble as it has been our first year in the profession and we have had a busy diary of events performing at new venues including the 1901 Arts Club, Carlton Club and Lambeth Palace. In the last year Daniel has started a new Head of Brass position at an International School and Timothy has performed as guest Principal Horn with the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras.
How do you use social media to get noticed?
We have used Facebook over a number of years to reach out to new audiences who aren’t able to travel to our concerts. This has included an annual advent calendar where since 2014 we have produced 25 videos of Christmas carols and songs meaning our audience can have a healthy musical diet in December!
Did winning the Brass Ensemble prize bring you more exposure?
Absolutely! We have been extremely fortunate to perform at a number of events in the City of London and the UK as a result of winning the competition. It has also been rewarding to meet the diverse membership of the Musicians’ Company and fellow young musicians of the Yeomen Programme!
Do you have any hidden talents away from the concert platform?
As previously mentioned Timothy is a fantastic pianist however he is also a professional photographer and a keen wind surfer. Daniel is an enthusiastic cyclist and traveller and I (Richard) am currently training for a couple of marathons next year.
What do you have planned for the next year?
2018-2019 is going to be an extremely exciting year for us as we have a busy calendar of concerts and a number of projects which include our debut album recording, entering competitions and our young women’s composer competition (details to be announced in mid-October).
For Buck Brass Trio’s latest concert dates visit www.buckbrass.com
Interview by Suzy Willmott @suzywillmott