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Our Composers

Adam D J Taylor

Winner of the prestigious 2012 Brass in Concert ‘Best New Composition’ award, Adam Taylor is a musician with a passion for brass, orchestral and vocal music - as a performer, conductor, educator, composer, and arranger.

A trombonist by training, Adam studied at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and later as a Foundation Scholar at the Royal College of Music, London. Adam has performed with orchestras such as the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO), Northern Ballet, English National Opera (ENO) and Southbank Sinfonia; as well as with multiple other chamber ensembles, brass bands, show bands and jazz ensembles. 

As a teenager, Adam enjoyed listening to - and notating by ear - his favourite music for school and college ensembles. This led to a life’s passion for arranging and composition. Despite no formal training in the practice, Adam has begun to cement himself as a rising talent in new brass music. 

Adam’s work has been heard across the brass playing world on concert and contest stages, on CD, radio, and television. A recent highlight includes a fanfare commissioned to open the 2019 Walker Cup golf tournament - played by the brass of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (with Adam playing too!).  

Adam is composer in residence at the world famous Wingates Band and at the Haydock Band. In 2017 Adam helped launch a new publishing company, ‘Cantatio Publishing.’ along with his good friend and business partner, Mark Quinn. 

With a wealth of brass playing, teaching and conducting experience behind him, Adam took up the baton at Allerton Brass in Liverpool as Music Director in February 2017. Since taking up post, Adam has helped guide the band to 2 national finals and multiple podium places, taking them from the fourth section of the brass band national ‘league’ to second section. In 2018, Adam was appointed Associate Conductor at the championship section band Wingates, based in Bolton. 

For both performers and audiences alike, Adam believes music is one of life’s most valuable treasures. He has a passion for communicating his own love for music and a humble approach to teaching and sharing. Above all, Adam has a strong drive to continue learning, and an even stronger will to help others better themselves

James Hatton

James Hatton studied cornet with Richard Marshall at the Royal Northern College Of Music and graduated in 2008. While at music college he played with a number of brass bands but principally with Bactiguard Wire Brass where he often featured as both a cornet and trumpet soloist.

James has travelled around the world on tour and visited Norway, America and China to name but a few. He began to play the trumpet as a second instrument while at the RNCM and featured as principle trumpet in the wind orchestra as well as being part of two CD recording which were done at the BBC studios in Manchester.

James completed his teacher training at Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Music gaining a PGCE with Specialist Instrumental Teaching before working for Bolton Music Service and then moving to Guernsey as a Brass Teacher. Since moving to Guernsey James joined the Guernsey Jazz Orchestra on lead trumpet and subsequently become the MD as well as appearing in all of the orchestras on the island. 

James joined Guernsey Concert Brass on cornet in 2015 before taking up the baton in September 2016.  He also travels back to England to perform in brass band competitions with the world famous Wingates band and recently performed at the Royal Albert Hall at the National Finals. 

While at the RNCM James studied composition and arranging as well as 12 tone analysis which laid the foundation to his compositional style. His earlier work was mostly for brass band but recently his work as a teacher has meant a lot of his work is geared towards education and a more varied instrumentation. 

Edward Kennedy M.A. L.T.C.L. F.T.C.L. B.Teaching

Edward Kennedy was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He completed a Masters Degree in conducting at Salford University under professor David King and he has also completed degrees and other major music studies at the Queensland University of Technology and the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

Over the past 30 years, Edward has become highly respected as a successful cornet and trumpet player, band director, music educator, adjudicator, clinician, composer and arranger. Many of his works for wind band are highly acclaimed and have been published internationally by Alfred Music USA.

Edward currently resides in Brisbane, Australia,

Drew Fennell  

Drew Fennell joined the River City Brass in 1998 as Assistant Principal Solo Cornet, and currently occupies the position of Principal Solo Flugelhorn. He solos very frequently with the ensemble, both as a flugelhorn/trumpet player and as a singer. He also worked as Associate Conductor of the ensemble for ten years, and has conducted the River City Youth Brass Band since 2005. He further performs with the River City 6, serves as Wind Ensemble Conductor and Trumpet Instructor at the Carnegie Mellon Summer Pre-College, and is Professor of Applied Trumpet at Grove City College (PA).

A 1994 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, he studied with the inimitable Anthony Pasquarelli. Fennell performed extensively during this time, including several solo appearances with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic.  After receiving his degree, he served as Principal Trumpet with the Butler, Altoona and Youngstown Symphonies, as well as a six-month appointment to the position of Second Trumpet with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, his solo playing has been heard locally and internationally in recital, and on International Public Radio.

In addition to playing, he has built a solid reputation as a fine composer and arranger, and his works have been performed around the world. He has completed well over one-hundred projects for the River City Brass (formerly River City Brass Band), a dozen of which appear on various RCB recordings. He also created arrangements for numerous other groups, such as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale.

His original compositions have been equally successful. As part of its Twentieth Anniversary Celebration, River City Brass Band commissioned Drew Fennell to compose a new piece for the band. Hometown Miniatures, an evocative musical depiction of life in a small town, has met with universally positive reviews, and is finding its way onto recommended repertoire lists for college and high school bands around the United States and beyond; this includes performances by the United States Army Band ("Pershing's Own") in Washington D.C. Among other works of his, it can be heard on the River City Brass Band's Polished Brass (2002), and a 2007 recording by the New England Brass Band.

In 2003, he was commissioned, by Matthew Murchison, to compose a solo piece for euphonium and piano. After being premiered by Matthew and the RCBB in a version for euphonium and brass band, Prescott Poem was recorded by Mr. Murchison and released on the album Everyone But Me. More recently, he composed a three-movement Concerto (in honor of Anthony Pasquarelli) for solo trumpet and orchestra. He conducted the premiere in 2004, with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic Orchestra, and David Gedris, trumpet soloist. A month later, in November of 2004, RCBB premiered The Oval Office which features narration (created by Denis Colwell and Lanny Frattare) culled from United States Presidential speeches over the last two-hundred years. Lanny Frattare also narrated the performances.

On Veterans Day, 2006, Arlington Anthem was premiered by the Enloe High School Band in Raleigh, NC. Yosemite Portrait: El Capitan (so named for the granite rock formation in Yosemite National Park), was premiered by the Wantagh High School Wind Ensemble (NY) in December, 2007. Premiered in May, 2008, The Very Depths of Me is his first foray into choral music. It was commissioned by the Fox Chapel Area High School Madrigal Singers, Craig G. Cannon, Director. Song of Autumn(commissioned as part of the celebration of Pittsburgh's 250th Anniversary) premiered in performances by the River City Brass Band in October and November of 2008. The Butler Symphony Orchestra named Drew Fennell Composer of the Year for its 2008-09 60th Anniversary Season. The orchestra featured several existing works (Fanfare and Theme'Twas the Night Before Christmas and Hometown Miniatures) as well as a new work entitled Apollo 11, available from this web site, which premiered on April 25, 2009.

In 2011, a piece entitled Letters From Home had it's premiere with the Kittanning Firemen's Band at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The piece celebrates and remembers those who fought in WWII using actual letters to and from veterans of the war. New in 2012 is Lux Aeternam (Light Eternal), written for the Pine-Richland High School (PA) Wind Ensemble.

Fennell is also in demand as a conductor. In addition to many performances with the River City Brass Band and his work with the River City Youth Brass Band, he has been guest conductor at high school honors bands in Pennsylvania and New York, and was engaged to conduct the Salt River Brass for performances in 2004.

Fennell self-produced two recordings. La Réjouissance, (from 1999) features trumpet and organ works from the Baroque Era; it is a joint venture with good friend David Gedris. In 2001, he arranged, composed and conducted all the music for his wedding, which he recorded on a compact disc entitled My Whole Heart. 

In 2004, along with his wife, Krista, he founded the Trinity Concert Series, a successful recital series, held in their church, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Freeport, PA. To date, over twenty free concerts have been presented. 2013 will mark the ninth anniversary of the recital series.

Additionally, he works as producer and editing consultant for various recording projects.

Drew is a 2006 inductee into the Ford City (PA) Area Hall of Fame.