About Jack

Jack Capstaff, born 1994, is an up and coming conductor and composer of a wide variety of musical genres and ensembles. Having studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama under the likes of Peter Reynolds, Dr. Robert Spearing and Michael McCartney for composition and Dr. John Traill for conducting in the contemporary music department, Jack’s specialism lies in the creation and performance of contemporary repertoire but firmly believes in the use of skills transferable from this endeavour to that of more classical rep and beyond.

Conducting Since 15

Jack has been conducting since the age of fifteen and cut his teeth with the York Railway Institute Golden Rail Brass Band. Whilst in York, Jack was the musical director of a number of pantomimes and went on to study composition and conducting at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Brass Bands

Whilst at university, Jack took his first foray into Brass Band conducting at a more senior level, taking on the Foresters Brass 2000 band. Within the first year, Jack and the band gained entry to the prestigious Spring Festival with an “alternative” entertainments program, much of which was arranged by Jack himself. Whilst in Cardiff, Jack also led the City of Cardiff M2 band where he was able not only to help develop a band as well help players to progress to play with the more senior City of Cardiff M1 band.

Residential Conducting

Now back living in Yorkshire, and as well as some freelance orchestral conducting and teaching work, Jack now holds two residencies; one with Derwent Brass and the other Harelquin brass.

Jack the Composer

As a composer, Jack has had the opportunity to write commissions for some excellent, and varied, ensembles, such as Black Diamonds, which was commissioned for an anniversary concert by Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band under Leigh Baker to commemorate the closure of the village mine, and Fahla, commissioned by Sinfonia Newydd in collaboration with Artes Mundi and premiered in the National Museum of Wales. Other commissioned works include pieces for student’s final recitals for their Masters Degrees, and pieces for varied ensemble sizes – from Solo to Symphony Orchestra.

Jack the Performer

Jack also made progress within his musical career as a player, playing with some of the top brass bands in the country including the likes of the Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band, the Yorkshire Imperial Metals Urquhart Travel Band, the Shepherd Group Band (whose Junior, concert and senior band Jack developed his playing through the years with), BTM and the City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) band.

Mobirise

Jack Capstaff - Conductor

Jack currently holds a residency as the Music Director of Derwent Brass, Derbyshire's Premier Brass Band.

Derwent Brass are an innovative brass band with a rich history of creating and crafting programmes and concerts which push and progress the Brass Band Genre.

Jack has worked with Derwent Brass since 2018, enjoying contest and concert success while continuing freelance orchestral and Brass Band work, and work with Harlequin Brass.

Jack has a wide experience of conducting; from classical repertoire with orchestras, brass bands and choirs, to coaching jazz ensembles as well as experience in the performance and interpretation of contemporary western classical music with a large variety of ensembles.

Jack is keen to take on any challenge in order to keep learning as he looks to conduct and rehearse a variety of styles of music and from there learn more about the interpretation of working of different genres.

He believes that there is always more to learn and hopes to continue encouraging the collaboration of different genres of music. 

Mobirise

Jack Capstaff - Composer

Jack finds his voice in composition stems from an understanding of serial techniques as well as those of spectralist composers and often employs limited aeleotorics. Whilst in composition Jack enjoys expressing himself in more modern voicing, he often puts pen to arrangements, transcriptions and orchestrations of more classical rep as well as writing new works to specific styles or with briefs in mind.

Jack has been commissioned for the York 800 celebrations of 2012 with a performance by massed bands from the area, for the switching on of the York Christmas Lights, by the world famous Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band and by Synfonia Newydd, a commissioning body in Cardiff as well as some excellent soloist and small ensembles.

When writing specifically for an ensemble, Jack likes to take the time to attend rehearsals before, during and after the writing process to get a feel for ensembles specific requirements as well as to try to understand the personalities of the players within the group and gauge specific technical abilities to create a work specifically tailored for the players commissioning it.

Jack has held composer in residence positions for several brass bands and ensembles and whilst prioritising time for conducting, still finds time to both compose new works of his own desire and work on music for various ensembles.

Through lockdown, Jack spent a lot of time creating and crafting new music for Derwent Brass, including Musica De Los Muertos and looks forward to creating more innovative music for the brass band medium in the months to come, including a feature length edition of Hans Christian Anderson's the Snow Queen, performed with live narration and animation.

You will find some of Jacks recent compositions on the Compositions page.

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