To be eligible for the AMEB’s highest award, Ashley was required to perform a solo concert programme that included a full hour of virtuosic solo playing performed almost entirely from memory. As recounted by the compere Allen Clark, Ashley’s family (and no doubt more than a few members of the audience too) were playing every note with him during the concert, willing him to succeed. The audience were so quiet you could hear a pin drop, listening in captivation as he performed such works as Slavische Fantasie, Fantasia for Euphonium and The Holy Well with technical perfection, class and sublime musicality.
Ashley also had top notch musical support on the night, accompanied by Brisbane Excelsior Band and piano master accompanist Mitchell Lee. A credit to Brisbane Excelsior, the entire organisation is ebullient at Ashley’s success. No stranger to other performance accolades, in 2008 Ashley was both National Champion on Euphonium for a third time as well as “Champion of Champions” for a second.
Qualifying for the FMusA award has been an ambition for Ashley the last ten years, next goal on the list – competing in the British Open in September – a life-long dream.
Editor’s Note: ausbrass.com has received new information from 4barsrest.com that there is another FMus-awarded brass bandsperson out there, Ossie Jellyman, who became a recipient in 2002. 4barsrest has the full story here.