Howard Taylor pic


Howard Taylor’s musical career began as a cornet player in the Salvation Army in the South West of England.

He conducted the Plymouth SA Youth Band at 17 until securing the Musical Directors job at the Plymouth British Legion at just 21 years of age.

In 1993 Howard was appointed Musical Director of Championship section Bodmin Band subsequently leading them to three successive South-West and Cornish Championships.

In 1997 Howard left the UK to become Musical Director of the TVNZ Auckland (Waitakere) Band in, New Zealand, leading the Auckland Band to NZ National Champions in 1999

After five successful years in Auckland, NZ, the Brisbane Excelsior Band (XLCR) appointed Howard as Musical Director in 2002. Since then, he has led XLCR to remarkable contest successes including 8 State Championships, 8 Australian A-Grade Championships and 3 New Zealand Championships.  Howard also led XLCR to the British Open and the All-England Masters, two prestigious events in the United Kingdom.

Howard has won 13 National A Grade Championship titles in Australia and New Zealand with three different bands and 12 State titles with four bands.

He was Musical Director of the National Band of New Zealand for three years, touring NZ with James Morrison in 2007 and Europe in 2009 until leaving for the UK in 2010 to work as a conductor with the world-famous Fairey Band.

Howard returned to Brisbane Excelsior as Musical Director in 2013.

His ground-breaking work with bands includes regular trips to Tonga to work with school bands and conductors (starting the first National Youth Band of Tonga in 2016) and mentoring and adjudicating opportunities throughout Australasia. 

Howard has been employed as Musical Director with Brisbane Festival and Qld Music Festival, most recently working with the aboriginal community in Yarrabah, North Qld, accompanying singers Paul Kelly and Katie Noonan.

He holds a Master of Music from the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, and is now the Conservatorium Brass Band Director.

Howard runs his own company, Taylormade Music Australia, national distributors for a range of quality musical instruments.


ron prussing pic


Ronald Prussing (Ron) is one of Australia’s most distinguished brass players, teachers, and conductors. His professional trombone career started in 1970 when he was engaged as an extra by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra whilst still a student at the Sydney Conservatorium High School.

In 1978, he was appointed Principal Trombone of the then Elizabethan Trust Orchestra (now the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra). In 1980, he was appointed Associate Principal Trombone of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and then Principal Trombone of that orchestra in 1986, which position he still holds.

Over these years, Ron has held Trombone Tutor’s positions at the Canberra School of Music, Lecturer in Trombone at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and Adjunct Professor of Trombone at the Newcastle Conservatorium of Music.

During all this time, Ron has been heavily involved with brass bands. He started conducting bands at the age of 19 when he became the Musical Director of the Petersham Band of the Salvation Army. In 1983, he became the Musical Director of the Sydney Congress Hall Band of the Salvation Army, one of Australia’s premier SA bands. Ron held this position for 17 years. During this time, Ron led the SCH band on numerous tours within Australia and three International tours to Canada and the USA, England, and New Zealand.

In 2001, Ron was appointed the Musical Director of one of Australia’s premier community bands – Waratah Brass. During his time as their MD, they won the NSW State A grade championship several times, placed 2nd three times in the National Band Championships, and won the prestigious Earn Keller entertainment concert six years in a row. They were rated the premier band of Australia by Four Bars Rest during this period.

In 1986, Ron was appointed the Musical Director and Chief Conductor of the Sydney Youth Orchestras. He led them on a successful tour of Spain that same year.

More recently, Ron has conducted Pacific Brass (a brass band of invited players) in numerous special concerts involving many outstanding guest soloists, including Rodger Webster (past Principal Cornet of the Black Dyke Mills Band) and Philip Cobb (then Principal Trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra).


Steven Stanke pic


Steven Stanke began musical studies on trombone and later string bass at the University of Southern Queensland (then, Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education) in 1980. He studied conducting with Peter Rorke, trombone with John Redfern and bass with Walter Noller. He later studied composition at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music with Mary Mageau and Gerard Brophy, music theory and analysis with Shirley Trembath and Alan Lane and conducting with Alan Cumberland. Further studies included conducting with Mats Nilsson (Sydney Conservatorium of Music) and conducting with John Hopkins and PhD research with Elliot Gyger (University of Melbourne). He has conducted The Queensland Orchestra, Bucharest Sinfonia (Romania), United States Marine Band (on the steps of the Capitol, Washington, DC), ADF Bands and numerous community orchestras.

Steven has taught music at primary, secondary and tertiary levels in Australia and the United States. He has performed with numerous community orchestras and bands and, professionally, with the Royal Australian Air Force Band and the Royal Australian Navy Band. He is active in community opera and orchestras, holding Artistic Director positions with Sydney Independent Opera, Symphony Central Coast and Lyric Opera Central Coast. Steven was also director and conductor of the University of Newcastle Conservatorium Orchestra. From 2015 to 2019, Director of Music – Navy, which included managing all six Royal Australian Navy bands and supervising national and international music events.

Steven has written for many ensembles, including military band performances at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (Melbourne), Nanchang International Military Tattoo (China), Invictus Games (Sydney), Waterford Massed Bands Festival and recordings by the Royal Australian Navy Band. His PhD research included the editing and performance of an unperformed three-act opera by former Director of Melba Conservatorium, Fritz Hart. Steven has also transcribed many full-length operas for performance by small companies with limited resources. Baton Music, Netherlands, publish his orchestral transcriptions for the wind band, and his original composition, Rumbalara Rising, will be recorded by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra in June 2021.

Steven has maintained an unwavering and passionate commitment to the arts through more than three decades in musical training and performance. He is particularly interested in developing sustainable orchestral and operatic performance and participation in changing and challenging artistic environments. He intends to provide community and visiting artists with the courage and resources to design and present musical performances that reflect their abilities and potential.