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Musical Director- Iain McKnight

Iain was born in Reading in 1985, and moved to St. Austell, Cornwall in 1989, aged four. He commenced Cornet lessons at St. Austell Band in 1996 at the age of 11, and moved to Tuba the following year. In August 1997 he joined the St. Austell Youth Band and was invited to join the Championship section St. Austell Town Band in February 1999. Whilst living in Cornwall, Iain was also a member of the Cornwall Youth Orchestra, Cornwall Youth Brass Band, City of Truro Wind Orchestra, Carrick Wind Orchestra and the Fascinating Rhythm Dance Orchestra. On moving away to study in September 2003, he joined the East Yorkshire Motor Services Band.

Iain moved to the Leyland Band in April 2005, where he achieved every bandsman’s life-long ambition by winning the ‘Nationals’ title in October of that year. During his time at Leyland, he performed twice at the Royal Albert Hall in London, was part of the band’s first ever European Championship contest in Belfast, toured Switzerland to much critical acclaim, performed several times for BBC radio and television, recorded numerous CDs and gave regular performances across the UK to many appreciative audiences. After two busy but happy years at Leyland, in June 2007 Iain made the difficult decision to take a break from full time playing in order to concentrate more fully on arranging, composing and conducting.

In 2001, Iain was the winner of the under-18 category of the National Association of Brass Band Conductors' Composition Contest, and in 2002 he won the J. F. Wills Memorial Cup for Brass Band arranging, in a contest organised by the Cornwall Brass Band Association. In May of that year, Iain was commissioned to write a ‘song of welcome' for the visit to Cornwall of H. M. Queen Elizabeth II in her Golden Jubilee year. The composition, Dynargh Kernow – Welcome to Cornwall, was performed in Her Majesty's presence at the National Trust's Trellisick Gardens, near Truro, by an all-Cornish string, percussion and vocal ensemble, conducted by John Harries, head of the Cornwall Music Service.

Alongside frequent performances, Iain has also had some of his music recorded. In 2003, St. Austell Town Band recorded his arrangement of Christmas carols by Cornish composer Thomas Merritt (on the album Nativity for Brass) and one of Leyland’s more recent CDs, By Arrangement, includes the march Iain wrote for them after they became national champions, The Goat, as well as arrangements of music by Saint-Saëns and Schubert.

Iain holds a first class honours degree in Music from the University of Salford, where he specialised in conducting with Professor David King and Nigel Weeks and composition with Professor Peter Graham. In 2005, he won the Elgar Howarth prize for composition and in 2006 was awarded the Lomas award for academic achievement as well as the Roy Newsome award for conducting. In winning three of these prestigious prizes, Iain became the first person in the Music division’s 30-year history to have received more than one academic award during their term of study. He is currently working towards an MA award in composition, also at the University of Salford, and in September 2007 will start a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Manchester Metropolitan University.

In October 2006, Iain accepted the offer to become Musical Director of the Lostock Hall Memorial Band near Preston, and since then has overseen many memorable contest and concert performances, as well as working hard to build on the band’s stability and develop their work level and repertoire.

In August 2007, Iain accepted the offer to become Musical Director of the Flixton Band.

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Musical Director- Iain McKnight

August 2007 - June 2008

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