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A few words from Marilyn Strevens
Guillaume Balay was born at Crozon, Finistère. Very little is known about his early life apart from the fact he was one of fifteen children of the local schoolmaster. At the age of 18 he joined the 19th Infantry Regiment at Brest, as a musician. I presume he showed exceptional musical talent and ability as three years later he was promoted to the 5th Regiment where he would study harmony with Paul Vidal and composition with Vincent d’Indy at the Paris Conservatoire.
In 1894 he was appointed Deputy Bandmaster of the first Regiment. In the same year, after only eight months study, he won the first prize for Cornet at the Conservatoire and made Deputy Bandmaster of the 119th Regiment. In 1898 he was made Principal Conductor. He continued to progress, and was appointed Principal conductor of the 154th Regiment as well. In 1904, he transferred to the 72nd Regiment.
Balay enriched the bands repertoire with his own compositions and transcriptions. At the Caen Military Music Concourse in July 1908, he won the highest prize for the 72nd Regiment’s performance. As a result of of a competitive examination Balay was appointed Chef de Musique de la Garde Rèpublicaine. The band was expanded to 77 musicians under his direction and its fame increased throughout the world
Part Bass clarinet
Standard: Grade 8+
Length: 4 minutes