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Death of Philip Biggs

Wednesday 11 September, 2019

British Bandsman is very sorry to learn of the death of Philip Biggs today. 

Philip was born into a brass band family and started to play the cornet at the age of five. The following 30 years saw him play with bands in the South of England before retiring as a player in the late 1980s. From this point Philip pursued a career in promotion and marketing, taking this up full time in 1996.

Philip’s first notable foray in this new direction was in 1989 when he teamed up with Richard Franklin to be the founders of the All England Masters Contest in Cambridge. The Masters grew in stature and became an important fixture in the brass band calendar until it ceased to continue in 2017.

In 1996, Philip was appointed by the London Symphony Orchestra as Event Manager for the 1997 European Brass Band Championships held at The Barbican Centre in the City of London. In the same year he was appointed Administrator for The National Youth Brass Band of Great Britain and has been instrumental in ensuring the very best tutors are used on their courses to teach and inspire the next generation of brass players. He expanded his role and was appointed administrator of the National Children’s Brass Band – highlighting his commitment to the future brass bands. Philip was appointed Contest Controller of The British Open Brass Band Championship in 1991 by the late Harry Mortimer C.B.E. In August of 1998 Philip was appointed Administrator of The Brass Band Summer School, succeeding Gordon Higginbottom.

Philip was the administrator for such prestigious events as the Spring British Open Festival in Manchester, the Brass Arts Festival at Regent Hall, London, the 2002 International Trumpet Guild Conference at the Royal Northern College of Music and the RNCM Festival of Brass.

As well as his work within the Brass Band field, Philip took pride in presenting brass playing in all its forms. His company, Philip Biggs Brass Festivals (PBBF) engaged world class acts such as Canadian Brass, Boston Brass, The Wallace Collection, Fine Arts Brass Ensemble, Hallé Brass, London Brass and The Don Lusher Big Band in addition to renowned conductors and soloists including Bramwell Tovey, Elgar Howarth, Maurice Murphy, Allen Vizzuti, John Wallace, Vince DiMartino, James Watson, Nicholas Childs, Jens Lindemann, Robert Childs, Roger Webster, Rex Richardson, David Daws, David Childs, Phillip McCann, James Shepherd, Sheona White and Steve Sykes. In recent times Philip also very much enjoyed working with London Symphony Orchestra Brass.

In August 2003 Philip launched The Brass Herald, a five times a year, 92 page all-colour magazine covering all aspects of brass playing, from Salvation Army Bands to Big Bands, Conservatoire Brass to Brass Bands. 

Philip was made a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians of the City of London in April 2003, and in June of the same year the Freedom of the City of London was also afforded to him. In 2004 he was appointed a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians of the City of London.

Philip launched the Great Northern Brass Arts Festival at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester in September 1998 and enjoyed great success with this annual festival. Building on its success, Philip launched the Great Northern Spring Brass Arts Festival at The Bridgewater Hall in May 2010.

A full tribute to Philip Biggs will appear in next week's British Bandsman.