He is a percussionist, teacher and author who studied
at university in Northern Ireland.
He began his career as a drummer in jazz bands in the mid 1950s
before being given the position of xylophonist and snare drummer with the
City of Belfast Symphony Orchestra in 1960. After 2 years he travelled to London to work as a
freelance percussionist and in 1963 became the Principal Percussionist of
the Sadlers Wells Opera, where he stayed for 5 years. He left in 1968 to go back into
freelancing and could be heard in the West End on productions such as Sweet
Charity and Maggie May.
Rejoining orchestras he was the Principal Percussionist of the
London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1970 to 1972, followed that with holding
the same post with the New Philharmonia Orchestra from 1972 to 1973, and
then also in 1973 joining the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, who he is
still with over three decades later.
Never giving up on his freelance work though, he has appeared with
virtually every London orchestra and ensembles such as the Philip Jones
Brass Ensemble, co-founded the Guild of Ancient Fifes and Drums, and over
the years has given several premiere performances of works by Sir Michael
Tippett and Benjamin Britten amongst others. Appearing with a range of artists from Frank Zappa in
the movie 200 Motels to Benny Goodman, he has made many recordings including
Festive Brass and Eine Kleine Brass Musik with the Philip
Jones Brass Ensemble, Bernstein: Chichester Palms and Copland: In the
Beginning with the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, Britten:
Peter Grimes with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. As a teacher he is been on the
faculty of the Guildhall School of Music, the Royal College of Music in
London, is the President of the National Association of Percussion Teachers
and has given masterclasses in England, Germany and Croatia. Writing several books he is the co-author
of Play Tuned Percussion and author of Snare drum Grades 6-8, Roll
Review, Snare Drum Rudiments and Graded Repertoire. In 1989 he was made a Fellow of the
Royal Society of Arts.