Brass Tracks
  • Brass Tracks

"Brass Tracks delight....
five very talented professional musicians who, apart from excelling in their own instruments, play as one when they are together..... a delightful variety of music....
the quintet handled all these different styles with sensitivity, and proved themselves more than equal to the task.... long, flowing melodic lines with beauty, while maintaining clarity in the complex contrapuntal whole.....
wonderfully clear, rhythmic articulations and assured ensemble playing.....sense of fun showed through ....had the audience spellbound by the virtuosity of trumpeter John Sampson, .....Robert Newth’s talent for arranging was also displayed in his own version of Amazing Grace. This, in its haunting beauty, did indeed bring out the spiritual element contained in the words....
versatile quintet ....each member of the group performed .... superbly, producing some beautiful warm sounds from French horn, trombone and tuba and bright sounds from the trumpets..... obviously comfortable in any style.
This most enjoyable and entertaining evening was rounded off with an encore of ‘Spread a Little Happiness’ by Vivian Ellis. Indeed they did – more than a little! "

Isle of Arran Music Society , October 2016

"an accomplished and enjoyable recital....Handling the contrasting styles of Gabrieli, Vaughan Williams, Gershwin, Piazzolla, the Beatles and Henry Mancini is no easy challenge, but Brass Tracks made a considerable impression on the 100-plus audience through excellent technique and close attention to stylistic detail. The informal but appropriate presentation by members of the group further contributed to an excellent evening's brass entertainment from a quintet well worth seeking out"

Kenneth Crookston, the British Bandsman September 2017

"Brass Tracks held before us "a kaleidoscopic musical brass journey spanning the last 500 years" – and they certainly delivered on their promise..... a thoroughly enjoyable performance, that took us to different eras and across different landscapes..... very family-friendly, and a particularly nice touch was the performers’ acknowledgement and interaction with the children.
Good humour flowed throughout the evening, and ensured a comfortable and easy atmosphere..... Each item was helpfully introduced, often with accompanying humorous anecdotes. The repertoire of pieces was incredibly wide-ranging.... An upbeat feel was always maintained...."

Edinburgh Guide Review August 2018 – Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Brass Tracks / brass quintet


Brass Tracks is one of Scotland’s most exciting and engaging brass quintets.   Based in central Scotland, Brass Tracks is dedicated to making all music accessible, whether it be 500 years old or something a little more contemporary.   Brass Tracks is committed to inspiring  and reaching new audiences no matter how young or old.

Brass Tracks was formed in 2013 by Edinburgh trumpet players, Finlay Hetherington and John Sampson.  The core members come from varied performing backgrounds including, television, theatre, orchestral, chamber music, education and brass bands.  Since Brass Tracks formed it has performed in the usual conventional performing spaces, such as churches, cathedrals, concert halls and theatres.  However, Brass Tracks also enjoy playing in various less obvious performance venues and locations.  This includes, Virgin Trains’ ‘Live at Central’ concert series at Glasgow’s iconic Central Station, leading the ceremony for Fife Sports Awards, launching  Christmas at Gateshead’s Metrocentre, to being on a film set.   In recent times, Brass Tracks have expanded to become a sextet or as an octet for special concerts, collaborating with a number of established choirs based throughout Scotland.

Brass Tracks have also featured in a number of live and studio recordings, from BBC One’s prime-time crime drama, Rillington Place  with Hollywood’s Tim Roth and Samantha Morton to an album by the prog rock artist, Fish (the former front man of the British rock band Marillion).  Over the last few years Brass Tracks, with support from Enterprise Music Scotland, have performed successful concerts at music societies across Scotland, including; Dunfermline, Newton Stewart, Stranraer, Torphichen, Oban, Lamlash on the Isle of Arran and at the Towermill Theatre, Hawick.   This year Brass Tracks look forward to several exciting projects and performances in venues ancient to modern, including their annual appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Finlay Hetherington / trumpet

Finlay trained at both Manchester University and the Royal Northern College of Music studying trumpet under John Miller and the late John McMurray.  In 2005 Finlay completed a postgraduate degree in music education at Edinburgh University and has since worked as a musician and educator across the UK, Far East and USA. Over the last few years Finlay has composed and arranged numerous works for solo trumpet and brass ensemble, including improvisations for an award-winning feature film soundtrack, producing music for BBC education at the Edinburgh Fringe, arranging music for BBC One’s Rillington Place, performed on Channel 4’s Random Acts and he has been commissioned to write several bespoke fanfares, including celebrating the switching on of Edinburgh’s West End Christmas lights and a centenary birthday in Iowa, USA.  Finlay remains dedicated to music education and coaching groups and was the first musical director for the Edinburgh Military Wives’ Choir, worked at St Mary’s Music School as a trumpet and brass chamber music tutor and a brass teacher in a number of Edinburgh City Schools.  Finlay is also lecturer in music and  trumpet tutor at Edinburgh College and a board member with the Edinburgh Youth Orchestra.

John Sampson / trumpet

John studied at Napier College in the 1970s and has two diplomas in trumpet. As a freelance player his television credits include six series of ‘Rab C Nesbitt’, ‘The Baldy Man’, ‘The Big Picnic’, ‘Border Warfare’, ‘John Brown’s Body, ‘The Satire of the Fourth Estaite’ and the South Bank Show. He was composer and musical director on numerous BBC radio plays including the five episode adaptation of the Bride of Lammermuir . He has performed in nearly every theatre in Scotland from Wick to Berwick and been Musical director at the Edinburgh Lyceum, Traverse theatre, Wildcat theatre and  Lung Ha theatre. He has also completed more than thirty tours of Europe from 1985 – 2000 with ‘Scarlatti’s Birthday Party’ performing in many top concert halls and theatres. As a session player he has performed across many different genres from folk music to reggae and is a member of the Royal Society of Musicians. For the last 15 years he has collaborated with the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and toured extensively in the UK and also in UAE, Europe,Hong Kong and New Zealand.

Fiona McLean/ trombone

Born in Edinburgh, Fiona began playing the trombone at the age of 12.  After leaving school, she gained 2 teaching diplomas from the London College of Music while studying at Stevenson College in Edinburgh.  In 2005, Fiona graduated from London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a BMus Honours Degree on tenor and alto trombone.  In 2006 Fiona completed a MMus on bass trombone and in 2007 became a Guildhall Artist by undertaking a Masters in Musical Performance while her brass quintet ‘Brass Spectrum’ studied as ensemble in residence.  Fiona’s freelance work spans from early music through jazz, including orchestral, theatre and soul band work.  Since returning to Edinburgh in 2011 Fiona maintains a busy freelance career while having a keen interest in orchestration and arranging.  She has a particular passion for chamber music and is the founder of Castle Brass – a large chamber brass ensemble based in Edinburgh.  Fiona currently works as a brass instructor for the City of Edinburgh Council and is the trombone specialist for Napier University and Edinburgh College.

Robert Newth/ french horn

Robert graduated with an MMus from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2018, where he won apprenticeship schemes with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. These have led to regular freelance work with both the BBCSSO and the RSNO.  A keen chamber musician, Robert is the horn player for wind quintet Prismatic Winds, who recently became Live Music Now! artists. He was a guest performer on rock band Mogwai’s most recent album, and has extensive musical theatre experience including credits in London’s West End, UK tours, the Edinburgh Fringe, and for the National Theatre of Scotland.  Robert also works as an organist, a sound designer and is an award-winning screen composer.

Robert Fraser /  tuba

Originally from Penicuik south of Edinburgh, Robert started playing a brass instrument at the age of 12.  In 2003 Robert Studied at Stevenson College Edinburgh before going on to gain a Bachelor of Education in Music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Since graduating in 2008 Robert has held posts as a Brass instructor in Glasgow, Aberdeenshire and West Lothian and currently works for South Lanarkshire and Clackmannanshire Councils as a music instructor. As a conductor Robert has directed many ensembles in his career including Whitburn Heartlands to the 4th section Scottish Championship title in 2015 and then on to conduct the same band at the National finals later that year. As a Tuba player Robert has played with Whitburn Band since January 2004 where he has played at National and European events in London, Amsterdam, Belgium and France.  Robert joined ‘Brass Tracks’  in the summer of 2015.


6.30pm, Monday 13 August 2018, St Mark’s, Edinburgh

7pm, Saturday 21 April 2018, Hawick Tower Mill Theatre

7.30pm, Tuesday 20 March 2018, Corran Halls, Oban (guests of Oban Bach Choir and Orchestra)

7.30pm, Sunday 18 March 2018, St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington (guests of the Garleton Singers)

7.30pm, Saturday 17 March 2018, St Cuthbert’s Church, Edinburgh (guests of the Garleton Singers)

Saturday 9 December 2017, 45 Commando Royal Marine’s Christmas Ball, in Arbroath

Sunday,  3 December 2017 with Edinburgh Bach Choir. 

8.30pm – 9.30pm, Wednesday 9 August 2017, St Mark’s Edinburgh

1:10pm – 2pm, Thursday 3 August 2017, St Mary’s Cathedral, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

7pm, Sunday 30 April 2017, Torphichen Summer Nights

7:30pm, Sunday 19 March 2017, Newton Stewart Cinema Theatre

7:30pm, Sunday 12 March 2017, Dunfermline Arts Guild, Carnegie Hall Annexe

7:30pm, Saturday 15 October 2016, Isle of Arran Music Society

12 noon – 1pm, Thursday 13 October 2016, Greyfriars’ Kirk, Edinburgh

1:10pm – 2pm, Thursday 25 August 2016, St Mary’s Cathedral, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

9 – 10pm, Friday 20 May 2016, Ross Priory, Gartocharn

7.30pm, Friday 6 November 2015, Stranraer Ryan Centre

1pm, Saturday, 2 May 2015, Renfield St Stephen’s , Glasgow

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