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Gourlay, James (1956-Present)

He is a tuba player and conductor born in Scotland.  When he was young he started out in his musical career by playing the tuba in a local brass band and taking part in various competitions. He became the junior Scottish Champion and went on to attend the Royal College of Music.

After graduating he was given the position of Principal Tuba with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and stayed there for four years, until moving on to take further positions in Zurich’s Orchester der Oper and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Over the course of his career he has gone on to work with The Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, the BBC Philharmonic as a soloist and chamber musician.  Becoming internationally known he has given many premieres of works by many contemporary composers such as Gregson, Horovitz, Bingham and Penderecki and has given numerous recitals all over the world with many leading orchestras.

He also became known for conducting, leading led several international brass bands and ensembles, and is now the Principal Guest Conductor for the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain and Music Director of the Brighouse and Rastrick Brass band.

His recordings include British Tuba Concertos, Tuba Tribute to Fletch, Vizcaya, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble’s Greatest Hits and 20th Century Album and his solo CDs Gourlay Plays Tuba and East Meets West.

Very involved in the field of musical education he is currently the Head of Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and has previously held the post of Head of Wind and Percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he received an Honorary Fellowship.  He has also been a guest teacher at many worldwide schools including the Juilliard School of Music, The Eastman School of Music and the Hong King Academy for Performing Arts, and is a regular judge at competitions.

Here he is performing solo tuba at a brass festival…