WILTSHIRE’S Laurence Davies is a well-respected French horn player, but the musician believes he may have been tricked in to it by his parents, simply because they did not want a trombone in the house.

His parents were both musicians and the young Laurence was encouraged to take an interest in music and attend a number of musical occasions.

Laurence said: “It was either at Swindon’s Wyvern Theatre or The Memorial Hall in Marlborough College where I found my calling.

“I asked my parents what instrument was making the sound that I liked and they answered, ‘the French horn’ – although I wonder if it was the trombone and they just didn’t want one in the house!”

Laurence is now making a welcome return to Swindon this month in his role as principal and soloist French Horn player with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Here Come The Classics is stopping off on Saturday, November 11 starting at 7.30pm at the Wyvern Theatre.

The Calne-based musician has been performing with the famous orchestra for the past 30 years, since he left college.

“What I enjoy most about working with a large group is the feeling of mutual respect.

“We are all very different people off the stage, but when we all pull together musically, we are all equal servants to the music and that is what gives me a buzz.

“Personalities can shine through the music, and a good orchestra should embrace these,” he


The orchestra was formed in 1946 by the famous conductor Sir Thomas Beecham who secured them a residency with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, concerts at top venues like the Royal Festival Hall and the Royal Albert Hall and set them on course for a series of recordings.

The RPO toured America in 1950 performing 53 concerts in 45 cities in 64 days from Hartford Connecticut to Bethlehem Pennsylvania with Betty Humby Beecham, the conductor’s second wife, as concerto soloist on piano. They made their first appearance at the Proms in 1952 under the baton of conductor Basil Cameron.

In 1986 the Royal Philharmonic was the first symphony orchestra to launch its own record label, RPO Recordings, and their repertoire ranged included Tchaikovsky ballet scores, film music for The Tales of Hoffmann, Richard 111, The Bridge On The River Kwai and the Private Lives of Sherlock Holmes and contemporary composers such as Burt Bacharach and Richard Rodgers.

The orchestra have also recorded an album called Symphonic Rock which gives classic rock and pop anthems an orchestral twist and in 2004 the orchestra found themselves a permanent home in Cadogan Hall, from where they regularly tour, record and continue their music education programme.

What inspired Laurence to take up an instrument was his older brother, but he must have had a natural aptitude as he could read music before he could read words.

“I wish I could say I was inspired by something poetic like the Wiltshire countryside or birdsong, but in reality it was my older brother who played the piano exceptionally well from a young age, and I basically followed him in everything he did.”

Along with his music Laurence is very much into archaeology and runs guided tours of the stone rings of Avebury and Stonehenge with his company Oldbury Tours.

At the Wyvern, Laurence and the RPO will be playing familiar works ranging from Schubert to Tchaikovsky, Grieg to Brahms.

There will also be a section dedicated to Remembrance Day called Lest We Forget including Barber’s Adagio for Strings which is frequently played at funerals and even appeared in the movies Elephant Man and Platoon.

The conductor will be John Rigby and tickets are £32 to £35 from 01793 524481 or visit www.swindontheatres.co.uk.