Director of Music Ryan Watkins has made an instant impression since taking up the reins at the end of 2019. Within months, the band was placed third at the Yorkshire Regional Brass Band Championships, booking a place in the National Championships at the Royal Albert Hall, although of course this has been postponed until 2021.
He previously conducted Slaithwaite successfully for two years and said on moving to Hepworth: “The opportunity has come at a perfect time and was one I couldn’t refuse”.
“After being invited to rehearsals it was clear that Hepworth was in a strong place and had an excellent atmosphere in the bandroom. I’m relishing the opportunity to take the band forward and help achieve the ambitions of the band’s players.”
Ryan graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with first-class honours, and he is no stranger to Hepworth, having played with the band before taking up principal trombone seats with Fairey’s and Brighouse & Rastrick.
Ryan has also enjoyed branching out into the orchestral world, performing with the Hallé Orchestra, Gilbert & Sullivan National Orchestra and the Manchester Camerata.
In 2012, Ryan was presented with the British Trombone Society “Young Trombonist of the Year” award and progressed to the brass final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2014.
Hepworth player David Clegg said of his appointment: “We’re delighted to have appointed such a talented, charismatic and forward-thinking young conductor to lead us”.
“Whilst at Brighouse & Rastrick, under his musical mentor Prof. David King, Ryan has proved himself to be a musician of the very highest calibre. We have been looking for a permanent conductor for the past year and we believe that Ryan is the right choice to take over the reins, to steer and build our ambitious band to further success.”
“The band is excited by the appointment and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
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