Ian Foster

Tuba Player & Teacher



Everyone is adapting to a new way of teaching online.

73144FDC FA7C 45A8 BF1F 0A9DDFB2EC6E


These are sad times for so many people. As we brace ourselves for an unknown few months it’s vital to keep music well and truly alive. I am fully set up for online brass lessons, using Zoom as the main programme of delivery.

Get in touch for a consultation and stay safe.

318908EE 785D 4CBC 98EF 01ED8F3A987D


Review of the new Pacific Tuba Concerto performance with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra.

“Ian Foster was the tremendously accomplished and devoted soloist, deft, noble and virtuosic.”

Click for full concert review by Christopher Morley


We have been busy giving local children the chance to learn to play trumpet, P-bone and baritone as part of our outreach work at Rugby School. On Wednesday over 160 performed in the Temple Speech Room to a full house. It’s very rewarding to see young people gain so much confidence from playing an instrument. We even had jazz improvisations! Well done to all.

Here’s the stage all set;

518461E2 3BF4 45FC 8A41 4F638A103C21


I’m delighted to be performing Edward Gregson’s hugely popular Tuba Concerto on April 26th 2020 in the Cripps Theatre, Northampton.

003A4CBB A78A 47BB BBD1 907ADEB655F2


I have been enjoying working for ‘The Music Agency’, playing CC Tuba in film/TV concerts at Symphony Hall, Birmingham and in Wales. Fantastic brassy music from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Game of Thrones.


Recent performances and recordings on the cimbasso include:

Arabian Opera Orchestra – Andrea Bocelli tour, Dubai

Limelight Orchestra – Cover songs, UK Tour

Verdi Requiem – Lichfield Cathedral

Royal Shakespeare Company – King Lear, Imperium Parts 1 & 2, shows and recordings used in the West End production

2702FB9B F021 4008 98D4 641C8DFAED4B


In February 2020 I had the pleasure of performing the world premiere of Ian Rae’s ‘Pacific Concerto’ for Tuba and Orchestra. This substantial new work was written in memory of tuba player Richard Elliott and was accompanied by the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra. Sheet music can be purchased through the composers website.

Merritts Hill Music

582B3DE0 0CF6 47A3 8854 031AFAF6B88A


I’m delighted to announce 3 new teaching appointments.

K.E.S Stratford upon Avon

Bilton Grange Preparatory School

Rugby School

Looking forward to working with these excellent music departments to deliver brass tuition.

This Summer also saw the return of ESO (English Symphony) Youth Orchestra. The young musicians played repertoire including Borodin Symphony No 2 with confidence and style.


Recent highlights include playing the sousaphone in the Swan Theatre in Vice Versa, tuba/euphonium in Julius Caesar and tuba/euphonium/cimbasso in the epic production of Imperium by Robert Harris, currently playing in the West End.

EF16A9B7 A0BE 4151 94FB BCA6A2DD5B3B 0DEF60BD 51DF 4E25 AFF3 1C113812561A E7FCB35B 3CA5 4105 8EC6 92F4DA0496D5


The RSC’s production of King Lear played at the Brooklyn Academy of Music this Easter. A superb venue to return to and it was a great chance to use the new handmade cimbasso by Alessandro Faccin.

C39865EB 6871 4700 8C49 78CF03C59261 16E7CABA 295B 4653 81FC 025C7922263F


Following a fantastic tour around China, Hong Kong and New York (BAM) I’ll now be playing tuba, cimbasso and bass trumpet in the brand new production of King Lear at the RSC directed by Gregory Doran.

Music composed by Ilona Sekacz, it plays in Stratford upon Avon from August 20th and The Barbican, London from November 10th.

Full info by clicking on the photo of Tony Sher (King Lear) below.

Tony Sher

International Tour

In February 2016 we fly off to perform Henry IV and V with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Beijing (National Centre for Performing Arts), Shanghai (Grand Theatre), the Hong Kong Arts Festival then 6 weeks at BAM in New York.

Click on the photo for full information.


The Birmingham Music Service, part of Services for Education, are celebrating the life and work of Richard Elliott on November 22nd at 6pm in the Birmingham Conservatoire (ABH).

Featuring Brass Bands, Wind Bands, a Tuba/Euphonium Ensemble, Plantsbrook Brass and a Staff Brass Ensemble, this will be a wonderful evening of music to celebrate the inspirational work that Richard delivered in the Midlands for many years. Friends, colleagues and ex-students will be taking part.

King and Country - Royal Shakespeare Company

Following 6 weeks at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon we are taking Henry IV and V on tour.

This winter it transfers to the Barbican in London, then onto Shanghai, Beijing and NYC in 2016.

Find further tour and ticket details by clicking on the photo of the band.

Duchy Brass

Jenny Thomas at Duchy Brass is highly recommended if you are after quality used brass instruments. Often reconditioned to better than new quality, Jenny offers a superb, friendly and professional service.

Her prices are very reasonable and I have been using a Besson ‘New Standard’ Euphonium supplied by Duchy Brass in the Royal Shakespeare Company this year. I will be taking this instrument on tours of China and NYC as I am so pleased with it. It was excellently packaged and sent very promptly with a personal touch to her service.

It’s great to have a choice between new and quality used instruments and Jenny definitely fills a gap in the market with style.

Click on the logo below for further information:


I’ll be guesting as principal EEb Bass with the well known Championship Section Jaguar Land Rover Band on March 8th playing The Torchbearer by Peter Graham.

“The Midlands Area Brass Band Championships are one of the most hotly contested competitions in the UK.

Each year, over 80 bands compete in the five sections for the chance to represent the area at the National Finals in London or Cheltenham, and to determine the grading positions for the following year.”


As well as tutoring the brass players in the Birmingham Schools’ Ensembles I’m looking forward to coaching the tuba section of the City of Birmingham Brass Band and the ESO (English Symphony Orchestra) Youth in Malvern this February.


Following the sad death of Midlands tuba player Richard Elliott, long term colleague and superb composer/arranger Ian Rae is currently writing a brand new Tuba Concerto for me in Richards memory.

With a Brass Band accompaniment this is sure to be a fantastic lasting tribute and also an accessible piece for tuba (EEb bass) players around the country.

Further details to follow. In the meantime here is a link to Ian Rae’s publishing company. Some fantastic brass and wind band repertoire.



As we come to the end of our 2 month tour of Henry IV at the Barbican in London here is a photo of the band onstage. There is talk of a return next year so keep your eye on the RSC Website for news of this and other productions.

London band


Join Sinfonia Viva for a New Year’s Eve celebration at the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham, Wednesday 31st December at 6pm. Includes music by Korngold, Tchaikovsky and Ellington all on a water based theme.

Further details below.



I’m delighted that two more students have gained places in UK Music Colleges. Members of the Birmingham Schools’ Brass Band, Wind Orchestra and Concert Orchestra, Josh and Dan follow in the footsteps of several others from Birmingham choosing careers in music. Congratulations to them for their hard work and dedication.


Brand new video’s of orchestral excerpts, tuba works and clips from the critically acclaimed debut CD ‘Handel to Valhalla’. This playlist will be regularly updated with practice tips, new recordings and a video blog of the RSC season at The Barbican Centre – London.

Click on the photo to follow.


Summer 2015 see’s a return to the Cotswolds to play in the Longborough Festival Opera staging of Tristan und Isolde.

Performances are on the 12th, 16th, 18th and 20th June 2015 and tickets can be purchased on the Opera’s website

“Among the UK’s country house opera destinations, Longborough stands out as possibly the most audacious, unlikely and lovable”
Jessica Duchen, The Independent, July 2014


The RSC’s production of Henry IV continues to tour the UK before going to The Barbican in London this November.

Alhambra Theatre Bradford (28th October – 1st November)

Theatre Royal Bath (4th – 8th November)

Marlowe Theatre Canterbury (12th – 15th November)

Barbican (29th November – 24th January)

The Band
Sketch of the band by Nick Lee


16th September 1959 – 27th July 2014

Richard was part of so many people’s lives and influenced hundreds of musicians in Birmingham.

He was the man that started me on my musical journey, handing me a battered old tuba in school allowing me to follow in my brother’s footsteps and support my journey as a student and then as a professional musician. He came to watch almost every gig. He came to CBSO concerts, RSC shows and always loved the thrill of meeting other pro players in the pub afterwards. He was in awe of them and didn’t fully realise that he was actually every bit as good as any of them. His performances on the tuba with the Birmingham Philharmonic and Gemini Brass were always highly polished, rhythmic and totally professional in every way.

He chose a route of teaching. First at Hodge Hill School then for many years at Plantsbrook in Sutton Coldfield where I teach brass and run the brass ensemble. The kids loved him. He gave them incredible opportunities including legendary trips to his spiritual home – Belgium. It was often the real making of them. Pupils were treated as young adults and there was a remarkable mutual respect. His work with the Birmingham Music Service was inspiring. He tutored and conducted several ensembles and had the knack of getting young musicians to play beyond their abilities. A rare talent.

He also fully supported adults, running Sutton Brass in his social club every Wednesday.

He passed on his passion for Mahler and Wagner to me and also a taste for Belgian Beer. Although he didn’t manage to hook me on his love of trains I secretly enjoyed the many journeys we took whilst completing my PGCE. Obviously we ‘had’ to go on train journeys to Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Oostende to complete my paperwork! Not only was he my mentor but also my closest friend.

We simply couldn’t resist a good pint, trips to the Barbican to see the LSO and even the odd trip to the casino afterwards (luckily our last visit was a successful one!) He always had a joke on the tip of his tongue and loved sharing them with his many friends and colleagues.

Richards funeral was a real tribute. Over 300 people shared the grief but also in the knowledge that he really lived life to the full.

I sit here playing in the RSC’s production of Henry IV. He came to see Part 1 in Stratford but tragically never made Part 2 as planned. I will simply never forget his charm and support.

He will be hugely missed and my thoughts remain with Cindy and his grown up children Tash and James.

Plantsbrook School are holding a memorial concert on November the 21st at Sutton Baptist Church 7pm. All are welcome.

“It’s music that matters”

Good times


Music and Speeches from Henry IV available now from the RSC shop.

Directed by Gregory Doran – Music by Paul Englishby and Edward Gregson.

Buy your copy here…


The Royal Shakespeare Company’s highly successful production of Henry IV (Part 1 & 2) is transferring to The Barbican – London this winter. Shows run from November 29th to January 24th. This will be the third time I’ve gone to London with the RSC as well as tours to Washington DC, Newcastle and regional theatres around the UK.

For ticket info click on the Barbican logo.


Photos taken on an ESO Youth Course in Malvern…

The students enjoy a weekend of coaching, improvising and activities culminating in a performance of their great work to proud parents.

For further info click on the ESO logo.


Debut CD ‘Handel to Valhalla’ continues to receive international acclaim.

“Ian Foster’s first CD contains one of the most interesting eclectic collection music ever found on a single tuba CD recording.

…there is definitely a pattern of showing what Mr. Foster is capable of from intermediate to advanced repertoire showing all ranges, dynamics, and articulations possible on the tuba as well as its role in an ensemble context outside of the piano.

…Sustained passages in the solo repertoire are lovely and a definite strength.

…this is a fine effort by a very busy English tubist and I congratulate him on adding to the solo tuba recordings of the world with this latest effort”.

Mark Nelson (ITEA Associate Editor)


Plans are in the early stages to perform the European Premier of the superb Tuba Concerto No.1 by American composer Eugene Anderson…

The work is dedicated to Arnold Jacobs and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

More details soon…


It’s been great working alongside old friend Robert Miles this week at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Bob and I studied together at the Birmingham Conservatoire between 1997-2001 before our careers took different paths.

Other theatre news: Prince Charles is visiting next week and the live cinema broadcast of Henry IV Part II is just around the corner!


Some nice photos of the Capriccio performance taken by colleague and trumpet player Andrew Jennings. Richard Elliott (conductor) started me off on the tuba many years ago so this was a fantastic moment for us.


May 2014 will be a month that stays in the memory for a long time.

Last Wednesday the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Henry IV was beamed out to over 30 countries in a live cinema broadcast. A nerve racking but incredible experience to be involved in. The DVD of this performance will be released later this year.

In between RSC and teaching commitments I performed Rodney Newton’s Capriccio with the Birmingham Schools’ Brass Band to a packed audience in The Birmingham Conservatoire. I was delighted to work with these brilliant young musicians and received a lovely letter from the Assistant Head of Service. “You played with such bravura and gorgeous sound quality. The music was so agile and flexible, it was an inspiring performance”.


The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Henry IV is being broadcast live in cinemas around the world on MAY 14th (Part I) and JUNE 18th (Part II) both at 7:15pm.

The music by EMMY award winning and BAFTA Nominee Paul Englishby is superb and uses tuba and euphonium throughout.

Here are the details…


Last year Ian recorded with Orchestra of the Swan, based in Stratford-Upon-Avon, as pat of a project to put all of the Hans Gal Symphony’s onto CD. The Symphony No.1 has a fantastic tuba part and is available to buy/download now.


Last summer Ian performed in a monumental Ring Cycle. It was staged by Longborough Festival Opera in the Cotswolds and was the climax of many years preparation starting with a ‘reduced’ Ring in 1998.

The journey has been rewarded with a nomination for Best Festival 2013 by the International Opera Awards.

Click photo for full award details


Here is the full video recording of the 1812 Overture from the 2013 New Years Eve Concert in Nottingham played by Sinfonia Viva. It was a memorable concert as it includes a huge indoor pyrotechnic show during the Tchaikovsky!

Click on the picture to see the performance…


Ian is delighted to performing in the new musical scores to Henry IV Parts I and II at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) based in Stratford-Upon-Avon this season.

Composer Paul Englishby has used tuba to great effect in the past and these promise to be productions not to be missed. Both parts will also be broadcast live to cinemas across the country.

It runs from March-September before going on a regional tour of the UK and the Barbican Centre, London.


Ian’s CD ‘Handel to Valhalla’ has been shortlisted for the Solo CD of the Year Award 2013 by 4barsrest.


Voting closes on the 9th January.

“On the face of it a tuba aficionados niche delight – but in reality a superb exhibition of top class low brass playing from a performer of imposing authority and musical intellect”.


December has been a really good month for several of my brass students. Three from Plantsbrook School gained their Grade 8 (trumpet, trombone, tuba), a tuba student has recieved offers from RNCM, RWCMD and the Birmingham Conservatoire and another pupil is delighted to have been accepted onto the BMUS course studying trombone at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

I’m also pleased that two excellent tuba students have gained places in the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain for 2014.


Ian will be performing ‘Capricco for Tuba and Brass Band’ by Rodney Newton in the Birmingham Conservatoire on May 10th accompanied by the Birmingham Schools’ Brass Band and the UK Premier of Donald Grantham’s Tuba Concerto in June with Birmingham Symphonic Winds. More details to follow.


Ian has been part of the National Youth Wind Orchestra of Great Britain (NYWO) since 1998, firstly as principal tuba then as an audition panellist and low brass tutor on several of the orchestra’s residential courses. NYWO is a wonderful opportunity for young talented musicians to share their skills twice a year working with eminent conductors such as James Gourlay in top venues around the UK and Europe. Audition details can be found on the NYWO website.

2013 Tuba Section students of Ian Foster (From left to right: Jake Allen, Toby Ashmore, Daniel Sturch)

Launch of the new Wessex "Solo" Tuba

Wessex Tubas have released a new ‘Solo’ model of the popular EEb Tuba with a 16.75” bell ideal for quintet playing and solo work. I have been play-testing the prototype and this instrument is superb with a light touch and excellent response. Follow the link below to see pictures, ordering details and sound clips (Newton Capriccio and Hindemith Sonata)


Trip to China in July 2013

Ian is pleased to have been invited as Guest Principal Tuba with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta this July. This will culminate in a performance of Sibelius 1 and Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes by Benjamin Britten. Founded in 1990, the HKS is one of Hong Kong’s flagship orchestras. More details of the orchestra can be found here:

Hong Kong Sinfonietta

Birmingham Opera Company Lands Major Award

Last years monumental performance of Stockhausen’s Mittwoch aus Licht featuring 4 helicopters, a dancing camel and flying instrumental soloists has received the Opera and Music Theatre Prize at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards hosted in London.

In ‘Orchestra Finalists’ Ian was one of 11 flying soloists suspended from the ceiling performing daredevil music by acclaimed composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Ian was grateful to gain permission from the Stockhausen Foundation to record the piece on the morning of the world premier and features on his debut CD.

“one track that is an absolute delight is the surreal, ‘Tuba amongst flocks of birds and swarms of bees’ – a vivid delve into the ever so slightly bonkers world of Karlheinz Stockhausen… Backed by electronic accompaniment, the 11 free association soli vignettes take you into the realms of abstruse ambiguity and potent radicalism. Foster revels in the risk taking jeopardy – emerging triumphant, the listener completely engrossed”. (4barsrest review)

Royal Philharmonic Society

Ian to Visit his Former Music College to Adjudicate BMus Recitals

Ian has been invited to be a panelist for low brass end of year recitals at the Birmingham Conservatoire. This is a particular honour as he studied tuba here under Stuart Birnie between 1997 – 2001.

Tubby the Tuba

On March 16th Ian performed Tubby the Tuba with Birmingham Symphonic Winds to a packed audience in the CBSO Centre (rehearsal home of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra). The event was supported by Wessex Tubas who provided instruments for the kids and parents to try out in the interval – There were several budding young tuba players!

Here is the live performance conducted by Keith Allen (recorded by Paul Arden-Taylor): Play

Ian and Bill Rogers

Mittwoch aus Licht Shortlisted for World Premier of the Year

Last Summer Ian was the tuba soloist in Stockhausen’s monumental Opera Mittwoch aus Licht staged by the Birmingham Opera Group. It has been shortlisted for the world premier prize in the prestigious International Opera Awards 2013.

Others in the category include the Minnesota Opera and Bayerische Staatsoper. The final decision will be announced in April at the Hilton Park Lane, London.


Win Ian's Tuba CD in 4BarsRest Weekly Quiz

There is a chance to win “Handel to Valhalla” along with CDs from Harmen Vanhoorne and Glenn Van Looy in the 4barsrest weekly quiz. Entries need to be in by Sunday 10th February.

"This solo release really is something of a connoisseur's delight"

Ian’s solo CD Handel to Valhalla continues to be warmly received by the critics. Click here to read Iwan Fox’s full review on 4barsrest.com.