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Franks, Rod (15th May 1956-20th July 2014)

He was an English trumpeter and teacher born in Shipley, West Yorkshire, England, who began by playing the cornet when he was six and had his talent soon recognised.

He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and started out by performing with brass bands such as the Brighouse & Rastrick and Black Dyke Mills band.  He then moved to Norway to become a Principal Trumpet in the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

On his return he joined up with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble in 1984 and became a co-founder of the London Brass and the English Brass Ensemble.  In 1988 he became became a member of the London Symphony Orchestra and after two years was appointed Principal Trumpet.

His numerous recordings with various ensembles can be heard in the classical repertoire as well as on film soundtracks such as Star Wars Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Siths.  CDs he appears on are Nicholas Jackson: Trumpet and Organ Works, Music of Hope, Philip Jones Brass Ensembles’ Greatest Hits and Vol. 1 & 2 of the London Trumpet Sound.

As a teacher he held international masterclasses and taught students at the Guildhall School of Music, The Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music.  He has also assisted in the design and development of trumpets.  He held the position of President of Pemberton Old Band and President of the Norwegian Brass Band Association.

In 2002 he became very ill with a tumour in his ear but his life was saved by major surgery and he resumed playing again.  In gratitude to the hospitals and good causes that helped him he released a solo CD called Saving Face, which contributed all its profits to charities such as Friends of Guy’s Hospital and the Ronnie Moore Sickness and Benevolent Fund.

Sadly be died in 2014 after being in a car accident when he was returning from a visit to the Open golf tournament in Liverpool.  He was 58 years old.

Here he is giving an LSO trumpet masterclass…