Coleshill Town Band
Alwyn was born and educated in Norwich. He studied for his degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1968 - 1971 and was awarded the Brass Prize in his second year. At this time he also passed diplomas at the Royal Academy of Music (performance) and Trinity College London (teaching).
On leaving Guildhall he was immediately appointed to the Principal Bass Trombone chair in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Since then he has played Trombone or Euphonium with almost all the British Orchestras. In 1986 Simon Rattle invited him to take up a principal position in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra where he remained for over 20 years until his recent retirement. He still undertakes a fair amount of CBSO work on a freelance basis. A lifelong brass bandsman, he first played with Norwich Citadel SA band and was young people's bandleader for six years. He is also a member of the Association of Brass Band Adjudicators.
He teaches part time at both Birmingham University and the Birmingham Conservatoire and is frequently engaged to coach at other colleges and similar institutions. His experience of educational work in music goes back over thirty years. During this time he has undertaken projects in schools with pupils from primary to college level and various community projects. He also has experience of projects with children and adults with learning difficulties.
As composer and arranger he undertakes regular commissions from the CBSO and other major orchestras and bands, with a number of his pieces being published and broadcast.
Coleshill Youth Brass and Coleshill Beginner Brass
Stephen began playing the trumpet at the age of ten, encouraged by his father, himself a cornet player. Stephen soon followed his father and grandfather by becoming a member of the Hythe Town Military Band, playing in the junior band before moving on to a member of the senior band where he soon progressed to 1st Bb cornet.
His first experiences in the world of brass banding came when, as a cornet player, he became principal cornet of the Kent Music School Brass Band. Soon, he also moved on from the Hythe Town Military Band (a wind band) to the Folkestone Silver Band, a brass band under the musical direction of Mr Joseph Smith. Joe became Stephen’s cornet teacher and the biggest influence on his musical career as he helped Stephen attain ABRSM grade 8 on Bb Cornet and also win a number of solo competitions and music festivals. Stephen’s greatest instrumental achievement was coming 5th in the ‘Alexander Owen Memorial Scholarship’ in 1991, a competition Joe himself had won in 1932. With Joe’s help, Stephen soon moved on to become principal cornet of the City of Canterbury Band and also became the deputy conductor of the band.
In 1991, on the completion of his A-levels, Stephen left his hometown of Folkestone, Kent to move to Birmingham to study music at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
At the Conservatoire, he studied the cornet under international cornet virtuoso Phillip McCann before continuing his studies with Dennis Masters LTCL, a popular and successful teacher / conductor / adjudicator in brass banding in the Midlands. Dennis soon introduced Stephen to the Langley Band, a first section brass band based in the Black Country. In 5 years with the Langley Band, he progressed through the cornet section to become principal cornet, an assistant conductor of the band and also musical director of the Langley Youth Brass Band.
In 1996, Stephen moved on from his post as musical director of the Langley Youth Brass Band to become musical director of the Coleshill Town Band.
By this time in his playing career, Stephen had left the Langley Brass Band to take up the principal cornet chair at the Amington Brass Band. However, due to increasing demands on him as a conductor, he temporarily ‘retired’ from full time playing in bands, although did return to regular playing for six months in 2002 to help out the City of Birmingham Brass Band on solo cornet.
Another significant achievement was, in 2004, the founding of Coleshill Youth Brass and then, two years later, creating Coleshill Beginner Brass as a feeder band. Stephen has led the bands since their inception and has inspired them to become the most successful youth set-up in the Midlands. Leading both bands to many contest and festival wins, producing sell-out concerts and encouraging well-over 200 young people to play a brass instrument.
In 2016, after becoming the longest serving Musical Director in the band’s history, Stephen retired from the position as Musical Director of the Coleshill Town Band to enable him to focus on the now flourishing Coleshill Youth Band and Coleshill Beginner Band.