Ian Porthouse - Professional Conductor

Ian Porthouse began his musical career aged nine with Flimby Saxhorn Silver Band conducted by Parker Wilkinson in Cumbria. His father was principal cornet and his mother a singer and pianist. He was a founder member of the Cumbria Youth Brass Band. Ian became principal cornet of Leyland Vehicles Band aged 17 and also led the National Youth Brass Band for three years.

A move to Desford Colliery with James Watson proved to be the start of a very successful relationship, gaining the sought-after Nationals hat trick. That relationship continued when Ian was offered the principal cornet position with Black Dyke and another National title followed. Further success came with YBS, their first British Open in 1997 title saw Ian gain the Stanley Wainright award for best soloist and numerous European titles. Ian’s last position as a full time player was with Faireys under Alan Withington, this was also a successful time, winning two Nationals in succession.

At the same time Ian had taken on a new project, conducting the newly- formed Pennine Brass, a band that moved through the sections, gaining the 1st section National title and Championship status within three years. Ian accepted the position of conductor with Tredegar Town Band in 2007, since then the band have progressed to be one of the world’s leading ensembles. They are the only band in history to hold the titles of Grand Shield and British Open Champions in the same year, 2010. Tredegar repeated this British Open victory in 2013. Ian has appeared as soloist all over the world in venues as far afield as Carnegie Hall, New York to the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. He appeared as guest soloist with RLPO under Vernon Handley and on many TV soundtrack recordings including Poirot.

He holds the position of Head of Brass Band Studies at Birmingham Conservatoire. Ian is professional conductor of Brass Band Oberosterreich, the double Austrian champions and music adviser to ECV, one of Switzerland’s premier brass bands. Recent events include appearances in the award winning film Pride, on screen and soundtrack. Tredegar band also became the first brass band to perform with Rambert Ballet on the Gavin Higgins work Dark Arteries at Sadlers Wells Theatre. Ian and Tredegar band continue to work closely with the students at Birmingham Conservatoire, a partnership that has grown over the years and has resulted in some fantastic concert projects.

During 2016, Ian became the first conductor to qualify 3 bands for the European Brass Band Championships, gaining National titles in Wales, Netherlands and Austria.