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Spectacular Proms debut for RNZAF Band conductor

MEDIA RELEASE, Sept 3, 2013

Spectacular Proms debut for RNZAF Band conductor

The new Director of Music for the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band will make his podium debut in the ensemble’s biggest concert of the year, the Air Force Proms, at the Michael Fowler Centre later this month.

Flying Officer Simon Brew is only the band’s eighth director in its 76 year history. Brew takes the baton from Owen Clarke who transferred to the Royal NZ Navy Band at Devonport after more than a decade in charge. Squadron Leader Graham Hanify, MBE, acted as interim conductor during the changeover.

Originally from Hamilton, Flying Officer Brew has been conducting professionally since he won a conducting internship at New Zealand Opera in 2004. Before that he completed a degree in classical saxophone at Massey University, with further saxophone and conducting study abroad in the Netherlands.

While overseas he performed at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall with the Netherlands Wind Ensemble. Back in New Zealand, Brew has played with Saxcess, Category Five, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and the Auckland Philharmonia. He is well known locally as the energetic conductor of the Wellington Schools Symphonic Band.

Conducting the RNZAF Band, which is based in Wellington, is an amazing opportunity, says Flying Officer Brew. He completed his Initial Officer Training at Woodbourne in July.

“The RNZAF Band has an impressive history and the musicians and I will be striving for inspiring performances.”

Along with traditional proms fare like the Dam Busters March, Rule Britannia, and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance, Flying Officer Brew is also leading the band in arrangements of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Ravel’s Bolero.

The RNZAF Band celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012. Notable performances have been at the 1974 Commonwealth Games at QE II stadium in Christchurch, the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, and the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The RNZAF Band parades regularly at Parliament and Government House during ceremonial occasions.

The 2013 Air Force Proms concert is at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre on Sunday 29th September at 2.30pm. The forces of the RNZAF Band's wind, brass and percussion, will be supported by compere extraordinaire, Nick Tansley, Tre-Belle soprano, Jennifer Little, with some very special guests.r Force Proms has been entertaining the capital for over ten years now and this year is going to be no exception.


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