Matthew Ruel

Reading Festival of Brass

Matthew is perhaps best known in the brass band world for his association with the popular online brass band magazine 4barsrest.com and ownership of its online marketplace 4barsrest.shop. He is also the owner of Bandmaster®, the company behind the IP Brass cornet mouthpiece which was designed by Ian Porthouse – Ian is the conductor of the highly successful Tredegar Band.

In support of Ian, Matthew enjoyed a long association with Tredegar Band. He helped them to renew their organisation in a way that supported the future aims and musical direction of the band. This resulted in two British Open Championship titles and a number two world ranking.

At the height of Tredegar’s success, Matthew helped to create one of brass banding’s most successful partnerships with the introduction of Muirhead Wallace Mutes – brass band’s now had a new colour palette to work with.

As a cornet player, Matthew has performed with Tredegar Band in a number of ground-breaking projects including the world premiere of the ballet ‘Dark Arteries’ at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London and a movie appearance in the LGBT+ BAFTA award winning film ‘Pride’.

Matthew is perhaps better known more locally as a former member and regular guest player of Friary Brass Band. Recently, Matthew performed with the band at the 2023 Brass in Concert Championship and 2024 British Open Spring Festival (Grand Shield).

Cornet playing aside, Matthew is in increasing demand as a conductor and band trainer.

It was with the untimely passing of his father David Ruel in 2019, the then musical director of the Reading Spring Gardens Brass Band, that Matthew, at a time of great personal loss, provided the leadership, stability and musical direction needed to move forward and build on the success our membership had been so privileged to enjoy under David’s baton.

In October 2019, Matthew led our band to a first place win in a field of twelve bands. This was also our first major contest appearance since 1982 – a significant achievement in our history and one which David would have been very proud. As a result of this success we were accepted into the third section of the Regional Brass Band Championships of Great Britain in 2020.

The encouragement, support and inclusive approach that Matthew extends to all our members is extraordinary, greatly appreciated and enjoyed.

Don’t just take our word for it:

“I have appreciated the continuing warm welcome I have received and growing sense of fun.”

“I personally find it refreshing to be conducted by someone who challenges us to improve.”

“Thank you Matthew for your help and guidance… looking forward to the future together, you have made the band the success it is!”

“The practices, the contests and the band – I enjoyed it all! Your tenacity, energy and sheer determination to get the best out of the band is amazing!”

Matthew’s exceptional skill in bringing out the best in our band has resulted in qualification to the 2024 National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain (Fourth Section). This success follows the band’s outstanding performance off the number 1 draw at the London and Southern Counties regional contest in March, where we secured second place. Amidst stiff competition from 17 other bands, the band delivered a characterful rendition of Alan Fernie’s ‘Music for Jock Tamson’.

As we celebrate our 125th anniversary year, this accomplishment holds special significance, marking the band’s first national finals qualification in an astounding 65 years!

If you would like to join a hard-working, positive and (most importantly) welcoming brass band under Matthew’s baton, please contact us.