The award winning Pure Brass is one of UK’s most established brass quintets, performing regularly to critical acclaim. Formed in 2006, the group has quickly built a reputation for its individual approach to the concert platform. Pure Brass is part of the Live Music Now! scheme and has been a recipient of the Enterprise Music Scotland Residency Project, premiering ‘The Vanishing’ by Alasdair Nicolson, Artistic Director of the St Magnus Festival, at the 2011 Festival.
Pure Brass have won a variety of competitions including the Royal Scottish Academy of Music Drama (RSAMD) Governors’ Prize for Chamber Music, which was subsequently made into a recording for BBC Radio Scotland, the Mary D Adams Award and the Norman Cooper Prize at the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.
The quintet has performed in solo recitals in some of the UK’s leading venues, including the Wigmore Hall, the Usher Hall, and Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. In 2012 they closed the Sommernachtspiele festival in Nuremburg, and have performed at festivals such as the Sauerland-Herbst Festival Germany, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the famous T in the Park
The group has a passion for new music and has performed premières at the Scottish Music Centre’s 2012 Composers Marathon, the “Sounds New” Festival in Canterbury, Scotland’s premier contemporary music festival “Plug”, and a sell-out recital of contemporary music at the RSAMD.
Central to Pure Brass’s ethos is providing concerts which are musically challenging but accessible to all. Presented in their own individual style, spoken programme notes are a must, alongside demonstrations and even the occasional bit of audience participation!
Andrew Connell-Smith (Trumpet)
Andrew’s studies began at the University of Nottingham in 2005. During this time he travelled to learn with Murray Greig before moving to the RSAMD, where he graduated with MMus Distinction in 2010. Here Andrew received lessons from John Gracie, Mark O’Keefe, Peter Franks, Bryan Allen and John Wallace, benefiting from this distinguished and varied team of mentors. In his final year Andrew won the RSAMD’s Concerto Competition, performing the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto with the RSAMD Symphony Orchestra in City Halls Glasgow. He also won all of the RSAMD apprenticeship schemes and the 2010 Robert McCreath Prize for the most significant contribution to the brass department over a period of study.
Andrew was a member of the Britten-Pears Orchestra and has performed in the Aldeburgh festival with the Britten-Pears Orchestra, the BPO Brass Quintet, and after a course studying with their principal players, with the Brass section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Andrew has been Principal Trumpet in the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland’s Camerata Ensemble, and in 2011 became a member of the prestigious European Union Youth Orchestra. With EUYO he toured to Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Italy and Switzerland under the baton of Vladimir Ashkenazy and Claus Peter Flor. In 2012 he also participated in the LSO Brass Academy, a concentrated period of both orchestral and chamber study with some of the world’s finest performers.
After graduating Andrew accepted a position covering Principal Trumpet in The Hofer Symphoniker, gaining experience through a season of constant orchestral work in Bavaria. In 2011 he returned to Glasgow to pursue a freelance career, gaining a trial for principal trumpet of the RSNO in 2012. Andrew regularly works with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera.
Ian Archibald (Trumpet)
Born in Greenock in 1982, Iain Archibald began his musical adventure on the trumpet at the age of 10 when he attended a rehearsal with the Stedfast Silver Band. Aged 14 Iain was offered a scholarship to study at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, junior department, where he studied with Eric Dunlea and Maurice Temple. Iain went on to further his studies on the Bachelor of Music (Hons) course at the RSAMD under the tutelage of John Gracie, Bryan Allen, Nigel Boddice, Iain Muirhead and Peter Franks, graduating with a Master of Music (performance) degree in 2005.
Since then Iain has enjoyed a fruitful career as a freelance performer, appearing regularly with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Opera Orchestra, the Paragon Ensemble and solo appearances with John Wallace (Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). Iain is also known on the commercial scene playing with the Kings of Swing Big Band, Lord Cut-Glass and performing lead trumpet on the official UK Blues Brothers tour.
Education also plays a big part in Iain’s life. He currently teaches brass at Jordanhill School and St Columba’s in Kilmacolm. Iain is also an avid conductor, conducting the likes of Croy Silver Band Youth Brass and the Stedfast Silver Band. Iain’s favourite memory of playing the trumpet is when he was crowned supreme overall winner of the Inverclyde music festival 2000.
Martin Murphy (Horn)
Martin picked up the horn relatively late, at the age of 15, after studying the trumpet for 3 years previously. He studied at the RSAMD under John Logan (RSNO) David McCleneghan (RSNO) David Flack (BBC SSO) and Hugh Potts (BBC SSO) and has taken part in many masterclasses with horn players such as Fergus McWilliams, David Pyatt and Radovan Vlatkovic. He graduated from the RSAMD in 2011 completing a Bachelor of Music degree with Honours. He has since returned to do a Masters in Performance.
Martin has gained a wealth of orchestral experience playing principal horn in the RSAMD Symphony Orchestra, and regularly works with the RSNO, BBC SSO, Scottish Opera and Scottish Ballet.
Aside from Martin’s love of orchestral playing he is also a keen chamber musician. As well as playing with Pure Brass he is a member of the Stevenson Wind Octet and has recently completed a series of chamber recitals including the trio for Horn, Violin and Piano by G. Ligeti. Martin has played the Gliere horn concerto and Schumann Konzertstűck for four horns with the RSNO, Strauss’s second Horn Concerto with the BBC SSO and Mozart’s fourth Horn Concerto with the Dunblane Chamber Orchestra.
Martin would like to thank the Dewar Award and Wolfson Trust and many other trusts and foundations that have helped purchase his French Horn.
Gordon Seith (Trombone)
Gordon began playing the trombone aged eleven through the Perth and Kinross schools system. He attended the RSAMD Junior Department for three years before being progressing to the RSAMD to study for his B Mus degree. Here he studied with Lance Green (RSNO) Chris Stearn (Scottish Opera) and John Kenny. At the end of his first year Gordon switched his principal study instrument to the bass trombone and continued his studies with Chris and John until gaining his degree in 2011.
Gordon is now studying for his Masters degree at the RSAMD still under tuition from Chris Stearn, but also studying jazz with Chris Grieve (SNJO) and Oliver Searle. This makes Gordon the jazz specialist within Pure Brass!
Gordon has been lucky enough to travel all over Europe and the rest of world playing music. He has recently visited Germany, Poland, Estonia, France, Belgium and Ireland and gone as far afield as Oman in 2011 and the islands of the Bahamas where in 2006 he played with the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band. In his spare time Gordon can usually be found in his garage tinkering with one of his beloved motorbikes, enjoying a quiet drink or hosting an open mic night!
Fraser Russell (Tuba)
Fraser began playing the Tuba in second year of High School after three years of playing the Cornet under the tuition of Michael Robertson. In fourth year of school Fraser was accepted into the Junior department of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama where he studied with Philip Hore (ex - Principal Tuba RSNO) for three years. In 2006 Fraser successfully auditioned for the RSAMD where he graduated in 2010 with a 2/1 BMus (Hons) in Performance. During his studies at the RSAMD Fraser studied with Tony Swainson (ex-Principal Tuba BBCSSO), Chris McShane (ex-Principal Tuba BBC SSO, RPO), and Andrew Duncan (ex-Principal Tuba The Halle).
During his studies Fraser became a founding member of Pure Brass, and has remained the tuba player for the past 5 years. In college Fraser regularly performed with the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra, Academy Symphony Orchestra, Academy Brass and the Academy Wind Band, as well as successfully auditioning for each of the apprenticeship schemes with the BBC SSO, RSNO and the Orchestra of the Scottish Opera. He also reached the final of the Governors’ Prize for Brass in 2010.
Fraser has performed with other ensembles including the SCO Brass Quintet, St Petersburg Ballet, The German Chamber Orchestra (Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen) and World Brass.
Fraser also has a huge passion and commitment to Education and Outreach work and believes that music can have an incredibly positive influence on people’s lives. As well as the outreach work he is involved in with the quintet, Fraser has trained and worked as an Animateur with the Scottish Opera Education Department on their Elephant Angel Project, which travelled the length and breadth of Scotland over February and March 2011, delivering workshops to over 500 primary 6 pupils. He has also volunteered with the Sistema Scotland Big Noise Project in Stirling, and worked as a tutor with the RCS Musicworks outreach project as both a theory and brass tutor.
Super Guy - Wilson (6)
Fancies Toyes and Dreams - Farnaby (8)
Quintet No.1 - Arnold (13)
Farewell to Stromness - Davies (4)
Partita on a Krakow Fanfare - Wilby (11)
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba - Handel (3)
The Golden Section (Trio) - Parker (9)
- La Parade
- Déjeuner sur l'herbe
- Night Hawks
Dances of the Scottish Court - (10)
Love Lost - Quigley (5)
Beatles Trio - (10)
- When I'm 64
- All You Need is Love
12th Street Rag