Nominated for Culture award
The Cory Band, established in 1884, has very strong roots within the local community of Treorchy in Rhondda Cynon Taf. Their reputation for excellence has spread throughout the world through their competition successes, numerous recordings, concerts and community outreach activities, and is recognised as Wales’s finest and most innovative music ensembles.
They made history in 2016 by winning a grand slam; becoming the first band in history to be quadruple champions – simultaneously holding the National, Open, European and Brass in Concert titles.
Since 2012 the band has been conducted by Philip Harper, winning another 2 European titles (2013, 2016), 3 Nationals (2013, 2015 and 2016) 4 Brass in Concert titles (2012, 2013, 2015, 2016) and the British Open (2016). In 2014 it became the inaugural winner of S4C's Band Cymru programme. It toured Australia in 2013 and the USA in February 2016, 40 years after its last visit.
In 2001, together with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales it was appointed as resident ensemble to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and in the same year appointed Dr John Pickard as its composer in residence. John Pickard's tenure with the band ended in July 2005 when the band made history giving the première performance of his Gaia Symphony at the prestigious Cheltenham International Festival. The symphony was broadcast live on Radio 3, and lasting over an hour in duration, is currently the largest scale original work in the repertory.
The band is dedicated to new music, raising the profile of the brass band genre and keeping music alive in Wales. It has an active commissioning policy and has performed works by many of Britain's leading composers; John McCabe, Judith Bingham, Elgar Howarth, Edward Gregson, Alun Hoddinott, Karl Jenkins, Gareth Wood, David Bedford, to name but a few. The band's current 'Composer in Residence' is Christopher Bond.
The Cory Academy was established in 2013 with 15 local band members, providing tuition and advice to young players on a weekly basis, as well as recruiting in local schools.