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Ten Questions With… Richard Marshall

He has been described as the ‘most outstanding cornet player this country has ever produced’ by none other than Elgar Howarth. His career includes, leading the cornet rank in the Grimethorpe Colliery Band as Principal, for a decade; five solo recordings; performing globally in places such as the Sydney Opera House and New York’s Carnegie Hall and now he holds the position that has been hailed as the ‘hottest seat in banding’- Principal cornet of Black Dyke Band.

When he’s not performing, he is dedicating his time to teaching up and coming brass players from the RNCM, Birmingham Conservatoire and Salford University, as well as supporting the Youth Band movement by tutoring at the International Brass Band Summer School, National Children’s Brass Band of Great Britain and the Yorkshire Youth Band.


1) How did you first become involved with brass bands?

I was introduced to the sounds of brass bands through my father. He was a very good flugel player with the Hatfield Band at the time. I used to go along to rehearsals with him and I loved the sound. Hatfield, at the time was conducted by Mr Ken Johnson, who became my teacher.

Concert dress.jpg

2) If there was one performance you could relive, which would it be and why?

Three spring to mind!

  1. My first British Open victory with Black Dyke on ‘Vienna Nights’ in 2006.

  2. Black Dyke’s performance of ‘Triumph of Time’ at 2014 European Championships.

  3. World premier performance of Edward Gregson’s Cornet Concerto at 2016 European Brass Band Championships.

All unique in their own way, but they will live with me forever.


3) What advice would you give for preparing for a contest/solo event?

‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.’


4) What is your favourite piece to play and why?

My favourite piece of Brass Band music is ‘Resurgam’ by Eric Ball. I adore his music! For me the piece has one of the most iconic cornet solos and I’ve played it numerous times at Grimethorpe and Black Dyke. The opening would still be a great test at any contest now!


5) How do you choose the repertoire for your solo CDs?

I always try and choose solos that I think people want to hear or don’t hear that often, so choosing repertoire for a solo CD would be similar. Another key factor would be to get a good balance of solos as well. All five of my solo CD s have good balanced repertoire (two of which, ‘Blaze and Eminence’  were awarded Solo CD of the Year in 2005 and 2007 respectively).


6) Do you have any tips for dealing with performance anxiety?

Similar answer to number 3. Preparation is the key and don’t practice negativity!


7) Who inspired you as a young player?

Apart from my Father and teacher, Mr Johnson, I’ve always been a massive fan of Jim Shepherd. For me, the perfect gentleman and incredible player. However I have listened to many cornet and trumpet players over the years and my admiration for those players is what certainly helped me develop.


8) What inspired you to want to be a tutor and what do you enjoy most about teaching.

I get a thrill seeing students develop and becoming well-respected players. Over the years, I’ve had many students who currently reside in many of this country’s finest

bands. Another important aspect of teaching as well I feel, is that it makes you a better player yourself.


9) What is the one thing you love most about banding and is there anything you would like to see improve or change in the banding world?

I love the brass band humour and camaraderie. I’ve heard so many funny stories over the years to write a book. The biggest thrill for me is sitting on the end chair at Dyke. As to what I’d like to see improve…maybe putting the brass band scene more in the public eye would be one improving factor for me.


10) What lessons/advice from your playing career would you pass on to an aspiring young player?

Practice hard and be a good person. The latter goes a long way!



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