James Blackford appointed Principal Euphonium of Leyland Band

The two time Australian national Euphonium champion makes the move from Leyland’s Solo Baritone chair to Solo Euphonium.

Currently in the UK on a scholarship for the Master of Music course at the RNCM, James impressed with his musicality and technical ability at the Royal Albert Hall where his outstanding contribution helped to secure Leyland a top 6 finish at the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain.

Before arriving in Manchester, James had already built up an impressive CV. 2014 saw James graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Advanced Performance and move to Sydney to become the youngest ever full-time member of the NSW Police Band. During his time in Sydney, James performed solos with several premier wind and brass bands, won the euphonium division of the Australian National Band Championships on two occasions, and travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee to compete in the semi-finals of the 2016 ITEC euphonium artist division.

James’ early successes led him to play as a member of ‘National Australia Brass’, directed by the legendary Professor David King, and as Principal Euphonium with Pacific Brass and Warringah Concert Brass. As a well-established low brass specialist in Australia, James enjoys educating young and enthusiastic brass players and has been involved in several solo and ensemble recording projects, most recently on Tomomi Takahashi’s album ‘illusions’.

Thanks to the support of the John Fewkes Scholarship, the Marah Mahlowe Brass Award and assistance by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, James’ long-term dream of studying in the UK under the guidance of David Thornton and Steven Mead was made possible.

A spokesperson from Leyland Band commented:

“We are delighted to have appointed James as Principal Euphonium! We knew what a talent we had on our hands in our preparations for London, and his solo performances in our Christmas concerts since have been so very captivating due to James’ musicality.

“We would also like to place on record our thanks to Steve Walsh who has held the Principal Euphonium position over the last year. Steve has delivered many performances that were of world-class quality, and we wish him all the best for the future.”