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Issue 6077

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Death of Michael Antrobus

Sunday 23 October, 2016

British Bandsman has been informed of the death of Michael Antrobus at the age of 73 in Norway, where he moved in 1981 following a successful spell as Resident Conductor of Black Dyke Mills from 1978. 

Obituary

Michael Antrobus (18 April 1943 - 23 October 2016)

One of banding’s true gentlemen and masterminds passed away last Sunday morning. Michael Antrobus lost the battle against cancer and died peacefully in hospital in Oslo. A whole banding nation is now mourning, and all around Europe - especially in Norway - musicians of all ages can’t believe that the great maestro will not conduct another bar.

The Liverpool-born trumpet player and conductor, who had served many years as a musician in the military and in orchestras, as well as being Resident Conductor of Black Dyke Mills Band from 1978-81, moved to Norway in 1981 to work as a teacher at Manger Folkehøgskule. From the very first day he made a huge impact on the Norwegian banding movement. He became the musical director of Manger Musikklag, Eikanger-Bjørsvik, Stavanger Brass Band, Tertnes Brass and several more. He opened the eyes and ears of musicians and audience to a brand new type of music, with concerts and projects and tutoring. Michael gave so many memorable moments from the podium, both with his witty introductions and through his utter dedication to making music. Whenever he was on the podium, the audience knew that they would get something special.

Several generations of players have been under Michael’s wings, all benefiting from his urge to make good music. A part of his career that he loved immensely was conducting regional youth bands. Michael introduced them to the music in a way only a true mastermind could, leaving them all forever thankful.

Michael conducted to the very end of his life; it was only a few days ago he had his last rehearsal with Montebello Brass, preparing - as he said - true music (A Moorside Suite) for the Siddis Brass contest in November! Michael’s five children (or “rugrats” as he called them - Chloe, Margaret, Edward, Nina Mari and Richard) are now surrounded by love from the whole Norwegian banding nation, knowing that their beloved father meant so much to so many.

For me he was the great maestro - a true inspiration when it came to humour, arranging music, conducting, adjudicating contests and how to enjoy life. Michael was a great mentor, always pushing me in my conducting career. But now I have to do it myself; the maestro is no more. May he rest in peace.

Morten Fagerjord

Lillehammer - Norway