UK composer Duncan Stubbs studied music at the University of York followed by a postgraduate year in Birmingham specializing in music education. His ongoing musical studies resulted in him being the first musician to be awarded the Fellowship of the Royal Schools of Music (Directing –Wind Band division). He achieved a Master of Music degree in composition, and was awarded the Albert Thomas Composition prize, the Primrose Ensemble Composition prize and the Worshipful Company of Musician’s Silver Medal for best composition student.
Duncan joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1983 as a bassoon player in the Central Band of the RAF. He was commissioned as a Director of Music in 1990, being one of the youngest ever commissioned Directors of Music in all three UK Services. He went on to command all three RAF Bands, and completed two tours in the Music Headquarters with responsibilities for all aspects of training and administration. Duncan held the post of Principal Director of Music for the RAF from 2009 – 17. In addition to conducting annual UK concert tours he also led the RAF on major ceremonial events, including international tattoos and Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee Celebrations. Additional televised broadcasts include conducting at Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall London.
A highlight of Duncan’s career was writing and conducting the wedding fanfare for the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. In 2017, Duncan was awarded an Order of the British Empire at Buckingham Palace for services to military music.
His wider experience includes producing and recording commercial CDs, arranging for film scores, and composing published works for wind band, brass band and smaller ensembles.
Duncan enjoys working with musicians in schools, universities, conservatoires, and community bands. He is chairman of the National Concert Band Festival, where he uses his skills and experience to broaden the musical opportunities and aspirations of Wind Band musicians throughout the UK. He is currently the resident conductor of two wind bands, he frequently leads wind band workshops, and coaches on several residential summer courses. He adjudicates at both brass and wind band festivals and continues to write and arrange music.