Book- The Distin Legacy

Distin Legacy Front Cover

 The Distin Legacy: The Rise of the Brass Band in 19th-Century Britain

Author: Ray Farr

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle, UK. Date of Publication: January 2013 Isbn13: 978-1-4438-4240-2 Isbn: 1-4438-4240-0

The rise of the brass band in 19th-century Britain is a historical, social and cultural phenomenon which represents the foundation of the modern international brass band movement. Authors such as Trevor Herbert, Arnold Myers and Roy Newsome mention and acknowledge the relevance of the Distin Family brass ensemble; however, extensive research has produced new information. This book examines the various Distin projects as the main reason why brass bands of today are established in their current form.

Ray Farr (born in Hereford, England, 1948) is an experienced and recognized conductor, arranger and adjudicator. He works with orchestras, wind bands and brass bands on a worldwide freelance basis. His increasing interest in the history of brass bands has triggered research activity, the completion of a Master’s degree in Arts, as well as ongoing studies for a doctorate.

Available from: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 12 Back Chapman Street Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 2XX

Price £54.99


(Click on ‘Distin Diaries’ for a chronological list of events and reports)


Book reviews:

‘The depth and detail of the research is impressive.’

‘Extensive quotations impart a distinctive period flavour.’

‘Behind the documentation a fascinating story of skill, scandal, opportunism and showmanship that could provide rich pickings for the narrative biographer.’

‘There are ten chapters, each devoted to a different aspect of the wide-ranging life and times of this fascinating family. Those detailing the Distin family as performers, builders of repertoire, pioneering instrument suppliers and their crucial role in developing the brass band sound are the strongest.’

The Distin Legacy is well illustrated, and a significant documentation of a pioneering period of brass band history.’

Paul Hindmarsh (British Bandsman Magazine. September 2013)

‘Ray Farr has gathered material from many contemporary sources to bring the picture into focus in fascinating detail.’

‘ He has combed through newspaper reports, tracked down images and scoured the published literature to piece together a very readable account of the Distin family’s activities as musicians, entrepreneurs and manufacturers.’

‘The author has used this account to argue that many characteristics of today’s brass band derive from the Distin legacy.’

Arnold Myers (The Brass Band World Magazine. September 2013)


‘I loved it!’ Professor Stephen Allen (Rider University)