Northumbrian Winds concert band launches with prestigious German tour
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The catalyst for the high-profile European extravaganza, prominent German composer and conductor, Sven Hellinghausen, asked Northumberland musicians if they would like to take part in an international music festival.
A former military band leader, the band’s conductor and friend of Sven, Andy Taylor was extremely excited by the idea.
He said: “Sven’s enthusiasm is so infectious, that I was determined to make this happen.”
When they met to discuss the project, Andy thought it was the perfect opportunity to draw upon the wealth of musical talent from throughout the region and so Northumbrian Winds was born.
This unique opportunity provided by Sven and Andy enabled 40 musicians, drawn from 10 bands from across the North East, to form Northumbrian Winds.
For several months prior to embarking on a ferry to mainland Europe, in early September, they rehearsed a programme of new music, purchased with the help of a small grant from Alnwick Town Council.
In Germany, Northumbrian Winds performed with one of Sven’s community bands, (Bindweider Bergkapelle) at a concert in the old market square Hachenburg, and then joined German Winds and Switzerland’s Musikverin Niederhasli in performances in Cologne Cathedral, and KulturWERK, a prestigious rock and classical music venue in Wissen.
“When we were coming home, the BIG question was what happens next? Andy said, ”We would love to keep this going, but it depends on the will of the musicians and our communities to support the band.”
“Sven and I have created a very special bond, two kindred spirits in love with music and this has extended to all the musicians from Northumberland, Germany and Switzerland who played together. Musical connections make the world a better place.”
As well as being a band leader and conductor, Sven is also a prolific composer.
His new ‘Lindisfarne Suite’ was premiered in Europe during the concert with the German and Northumberland bands playing together to commemorate a 793AD Viking attack on the island’s monastery.
Sven Hellinghausen’s works includes the Francis Mass, composed for Pope Francis' 80th birthday and performed in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and a piece in honour of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, which, after winning a composition competition, was played by the Scots Guards at Buckingham Palace.
Sven said: “It was a great honour and pleasure to welcome our friends from Northumberland to Germany. The universal language of music connects people and peoples.”
Andy added “We launched ourselves successfully with high profile concerts and I felt immense pride being the conductor of Northumbrian Winds and in each and every band member.”