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Philip Wilby (b1949)

Born in Pontefract in 1949, Philip Wilby was educated at Leeds Grammar School and Keble College, Oxford. He attributes the awakening of his interest in composition to Herbert Howells, whose extra-curricular composition classes he attended while a violinist in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. A serious commitment to composition developed during the years at Oxford and, having gained his B Mus in composition in 1971, Wilby continued to write music even while working as a professional violinist (first at Covent Garden and later with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra). He returned to Yorkshire in 1972 and is Principal Lecturer in Composition at the University of Leeds.

In recent years, Philip Wilby has established a very significant reputation in the field of brass band and wind band music. His first commission for brass band—The New Jerusalem (1990) for the National Youth Brass Band—was an instant success and led to further commissions: Paganini Variations (a BBC commission in 1991 for the Grimethorpe Band); Flight for solo flugelhorn and band (Grimethorpe, 1991); Revelation (1995, for the British Open Championships), Vienna Nights, and Northern Lights.

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