Irvine and Dreghorn Brass Band are delighted to introduce Scott Kerr as our Musical Director.
Photo Courtesy of James McGoldrick
A little more about Scott:
• Scott is a dual graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland achieving a BEd Music degree with Honours of the First Class and a Master of Performance degree. He was also awarded the Robert McCreath Memorial Prize for outstanding services to RCS.
• Currently the Principal Euphonium player for Whitburn Brass Band, Scott was also held the Principal Euphonium seat in Scotland's other premiere band, the Cooperative Funeralcare Brass Band. He also has considerable orchestral experience as the Principal Euphonium for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the RSNO, performing at this year's BBC Proms with the SSO and recording Overlands with RSNO.
• Scott regularly performs as a soloist across the UK and internationally, most recently in London and the Cayman Islands. He is a young and ambitious performer and musician, aiming to continually push the boundaries of performance through imagination and innovation.
60 Seconds with... Scott Kerr!
I’m quite a tolerable person generally, but I guess a pet hate would be chewing with your mouth open.
Lagos in the Algarve with my better half two years ago.
Has to be Lord of the rings...all three.
Either Gustave Caillebotte or Rosa Bonheur.
This changes week on week but all time favourites are Muse (the band) and Mahler(the composer)
Last book you read?
Just finished Dan Brown’s “Origins”
If you could invite anyone to dinner who would it be?
Favourite Sporting Team/player?
Trying to teach myself jazz piano so at the moment - iReal Pro
Dogs or cats?
Euphonium of course.
Last photo you took?
The Eiffel Tower
Brass Highlights to date?
Coming second at the British Open playing Fraternity with Whitburn and performing Pictures at an Exhibition and the Planets suite with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at this year’s Proms in the Royal Albert Hall.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in music/brass banding?
Regularly set yourself long term and short term goals. Use them to motivate yourself to work hard to achieve them . Also listen to as much music as you possibly can from all sorts of genres. Find an artist or player that you really like and inspires you. Try and work out what makes them successful and what is it about them that inspires you and how could you be that role model for someone else. But honestly- hard work, determination and motivation are key.
How do you reflect upon your studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland?
I started the Royal Conservatoire - then RSAMD - in their junior department. It was the vibrant and exciting environment there, as well as the opportunities afforded me and access to some of the UK's leading musicians that cemented my aspirations to study at RCS and become part of the RCS family. Looking back at my years at there, now spanning a decade, I can't really imagine what my life would have been without it - what I would be doing and who I would have became. There is inspiration round every corner in that building from my fellow students, to staff and visiting artists. My first degree was of course the BEd Music degree to fulfil my passion for Music Education. Under the tutelage of Tony Swainson, my interest in performance and performance practice heightened and my ambition to embark on a Masters Degree after my probationary year worked it's way into my plans for the future. Throughout my masters degree I endeavoured to work extremely hard and as such had an innumerable number of opportunities including working professionally, acting as an ambassador for RCS in the Cayman Islands as a soloist, commissioning and recording my music, exploring the business side of the music industry, discovering performance and technology and other collaborative practices, involved in some amazing performances in the Brass department and conducted some exciting new ensembles. All in all...RCS has made me the person and musician I am today.
Performing at many of the major competitions, you will come across a wide variety in writing styles for euphonium. What do you think about euphonium writing in modern band repertoire?
Writing for euphonium can be extremely varied due to the change in instrument design, players constantly pushing the boundaries of range, versatility, and extended techniques and the wild imaginations of the composers out there. I think often the "blockbuster" pieces for the Europeans or British open etc have been written with or commissioned for a particular band. So the solo cornet or euphonium parts are written for some of the worlds top players. I think this is a good thing as it means that every player in every contest will be consistently challenged as composers and players continue to break the boundaries of what is considered "the norm" when it comes to a solo in a test piece - with regards to style, range etc. Just means everyone has to practice a little more!
You appear to strive for innovation in your solo programming, incorporating features like electronics into your work. How important is it to continue pushing the boundaries?
It's simply because I enjoy performing and strive to add something "extra" into every performance. Whether it is a story to tell during or before the piece, or animations sound and light to provide an immersive experience for the audience. Utilising electronics, whether it is a loop pedal, samples, or amplification and effects units is not anything new to audiences, but the implementation and proper use of them hasn't really been explored in the brass world yet. It's something that I hope to develop and explore throughout my career.
What are your musical ambitions over the coming months and years?
It's a particularly scary question as I haven't a clue what the future holds just yet. I have a few ambitious projects in the pipeline involving brass education in Scotland. I hope to continue to develop and perform as a soloist, and continue to perform with Scotland's Orchestras and of course Whitburn Band. I love teaching and so will continue to teach privately and in schools. But who knows. Either way, I need to keep practicing...