University’s accolade for leading musician

Friday 30 October 2015


International trumpet virtuoso John Wallace CBE has been appointed Honorary Professor of Brass by the University of St Andrews.

The new role, within the University’s Music Centre, will see the Fife-born player lead the Centre’s developments in brass performance, teaching and research.

Professor Wallace’s first project will be to co-direct the St Andrews Brass Festival (13 to 15 November) – the only festival of its kind in Scotland – alongside University of St Andrews teaching fellow Bede Williams (pictured above left).

He was awarded an honorary doctorate of music by the University of St Andrews in 2014, in recognition of his contributions to performance, scholarship and education.

On accepting the Honorary Professorship, Professor Wallace (pictured above right) said: “I’m delighted to be returning to work and play with the coming generations in my native Fife where it all started for me and countless other musicians. Fife possesses an amazing musical heritage and the present flourishing climate for music and drama performance at the University of St Andrews is ensuring a future environment of further cultural enrichment.”

Dr Michael Downes, the University’s Director of Music, said: “My colleagues and I are very excited to be welcoming a performer, scholar and musical entrepreneur of John’s stature to the Music Centre. Brass music has been one of the most significant areas of development in our work in recent years under the direction of Bede Williams, and John’s appointment will bring unique opportunities for our talented students to develop their playing still further. We all look forward hugely to working with him.”

Professor Wallace’s drive to unite scholarship and performance has established him as an international soloist, ensemble leader, orchestral and chamber musician, teacher and, latterly, as an institutional leader at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) where, over 12 years, he established programmes in a broad range of artistic disciplines and led the transformation from the Royal Academy of Music and Drama to the RCS.

He joins a growing number of Honorary Professors appointed by the Music Centre who offer strategic guidance on the development of music in St Andrews and contribute to the teaching and performances that St Andrews students and community are able to access.

Under his co-directorship, the St Andrews Brass Festival will this year feature four concerts by the internationally acclaimed Wallace Collection as its ensemble in residence. This includes the first performance in modern times of the 1815 Requiem for choir and brass by Sigismund von Neukomm to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the subsequent Congress of Vienna. The 1815 Requiem was a pivotal piece in the development of brass music and the Wallace Collection on period instruments will be joined by the University’s St Salvator’s Chapel Choir. At this concert on 14 November, world-leading trombonist Ian Bousfield, former Principal Trombonist of the London Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, will perform Ernst Sachse’s Concertino, and the Clydeside Quartet, an emerging trombone quartet from the RCS, will perform Beethoven’s Three Equali.

Elsewhere during the Festival, the massed forces of St Andrews Brass, a non-auditioned group of players from across Fife, will perform a mixed programme of French and Venetian music, joined by John Wallace and Tony George on 19th century period instruments (13 November).

MUSA – the Museum of the University of St Andrews – will play host to Professor Wallace and Bede Williams, both on trumpet, alongside the University Scholarship brass players (13 November). They will perform Field of Battle, a suite depicting war from the perspectives of the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, with music by David Johnson, Storace, Byrd and Gabrieli.

The University Wind Band and Big Band will bring the magic of Disney to St Andrews. The University Disney Society will be on hand to add costumes and decorations so the audience can get up close to their favourite character and dressing up is encouraged (13 November).

On Saturday 14 November brass players from across Scotland are invited to perform with the Wallace Collection. Participants will perform music inspired by the brass music of the Renaissance era with Tony George in his workshopped piece Gabrieli Re-imagined. Jazz pianist and educator Richard Michael will lead participants in a variety of jazz based improvisations, and John Wallace will direct music by Strauss and British composer Chris Wilcox.

View the complete programme for the St Andrews Brass Festival.

Notes to editors:

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews.

Contact Ruth Mackie on 01334 467230 or email [email protected].

About the St Andrews Brass Festival

Now in its fourth year, the St Andrews Brass Festival is the only brass festival in Scotland to programme and perform music for orchestral brass ensembles as well as British style brass band.  It is also the only brass festival in Scotland to not include any competitive element.

About John Wallace

By the age of 25 – having studied at King’s College Cambridge, the Royal Academy of Music and York University – John was the Assistant Principal Trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra, and two years later he was the Principal Trumpet of the Philharmonia, a post he held for almost twenty years.

In parallel with his orchestral career, he performed as a soloist with many of the world’s finest orchestras and conductors, and in 1986 he founded The Wallace Collection, which performs and records brass music from many different periods on authentic instruments.

John’s scholarly work has enhanced understanding of the complex technology of brass instruments and their development over thousands of years. In 2012 he co-authored the authoritative volume The Trumpet with Sandy McGrattan, principal trumpet in the orchestra of Scottish Ballet.

In 2002 he became the Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, as it then was, and led its transformation into the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Under his guidance, the RCS became the only British conservatoire to teach dance and digital arts as well as music and drama.

John was the first player to play the entire trumpet repertoire – contemporary music, nineteenth century, baroque, Renaissance. His artistry has also inspired composers of the stature of Harrison Birtwistle, Peter Maxwell Davies and James Macmillan to write new music for the trumpet, creating a vastly expanded solo repertoire.

Category Awards

Related topics

Share this story