Brass bands in Bristol date back to at least 1850, with a number recorded as performing for the opening of the city’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge in 1864. The sound of the brass band has remained a core element of the musical fabric of the city to this day.
City of Bristol Brass Band itself was formed in 1936 by local businessman H S Perry (who also played euphonium in the band) and the former Lord Mayor of Bristol, William George Cozens. Originally entitled “Fishponds British Legion Band”, the band adopted its present title in the mid 1960s.
City of Bristol has been highly successful in both concert and competition throughout its history, becoming ODBBA, GBBA and West of England Regional Champions, and has also represented the city and region in the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain on numerous occasions.
The band has also performed at a wealth of venues across the UK, including the Royal Albert Hall and Alexandra Palace, London; De Montfort Hall, Leicester; The Centaur, Cheltenham; St George’s, Bristol and many more. In 2022, the band will broaden its performance horizons further, having been invited to perform in the Estes Park International Tattoo and Long’s Peak International Celtic Festival in Colorado, USA in September.
City of Bristol is a keen advocate and supporter of new music. In recent years, the band has performed Dr Liz Lane’s “Innovation 216” tribute to Concorde - beneath the wings of the iconic aircraft itself! - at Aerospace Bristol in 2020, before giving the premiere performance of Laura Shipsey’s “Of Far Flung Skies” in a performance at St George’s which was recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3.
In Summer 2022, the band will present its new performance project, “New Horizons”. This will feature the premiere performance of two new works composed especially for City of Bristol by Hong Kong born (and BBC National Orchestra of Wales performed) composer Mandy Leung. The band will also explore new musical partnerships with Bristol Beacon and the Bristol Youth Choir.
In November 2022, City of Bristol will perform excerpts from Sir Karl Jenkins’ “Mass for Peace - The Armed Man” at both Trinity Academy, Bristol and St Elvan’s, South Wales, before performing “The Snowman Live” and our “Christmas Night at the Movies” shows in December.
The band is always keen to work with new partners and venues, and will continue to make music at the highest level and to support our local community in Bristol and wider.