Philip Lawrence


Phil started playing the trumpet at the age of eleven, and took seven short years before playing his first professional engagement with the Liverpool Philharmonic. He freely admits to not starting in bands, but went the way of the orchestral player having lessons in school from Jack Stokes (father of Bill) and then studying with Bill Flood and eminent local pro freelancer. At sixteen he began study with the legendary Alan Stringer who had set a new standard in the UK orchestral playing from the late 1940’s.

Composing music had always been on the agenda right from school age, it lacked opportunity though, and it was a little later at FE College where it manifested itself on a par with trumpet study. It became clear to Phil as in a blinding flash one day, that he should join a brass band to achieve a higher degree of technique. So British Rail Edge Hill Band (then a mere 120 years old) became a seat of learning for some four years under Bob Dean as second man down. Later moving onto Soprano, a seat later to become a favourite.

It came time for further hard study of the trumpet. Having already gained two ARCM’s in teaching & performance at Mabel Fletcher Tech and beginning some teaching with in the borough, it became obvious that nothing short of total study commitment of the trumpet (& composition & conducting) would do. He gained a place as a PostGraduate at the RNCM, and joined Manchester CWS on arrival in Manchester. This was the period just after Rex Mortimer, and the principal conductors at the time being Maurice Hanford, Frank Renton & Jim Scott. Within the first two weeks at the RNCM he was sent to the Ulster Orchestra for a month as sub-principal trumpet. Within the time at the RNCM he worked with the BBCPO, The Halle, Opera North, Liverpool Phil, Manchester Camerata. Also composing brass fanfares for the Duchess of Kent, and odd ditties for BBC Northwest Nationwide.

Whilst at college he conducted several ensembles in lieu of absent lecturers, and took the baton at CWS on occasion. The piccolo trumpet became a tour-de-force also and he was regularly engaged for B minor masses and Magnificat’s & Messiah’s, as well as several performances of the dreaded Brandeburg 2, or several dreaded performances.

It was clear that mountains of work were not available in Manchester. Having played off stage with the Royal Opera on their first tour out of London for 25 years in New Palace Theatre, and a chance meeting with James Watson then playing with Philip Jones, he thought it time to move to the Smoke. Instantly work happened with the Royal Opera, Philharmonia, two West End shows, Wren Orch, BBCSO, Philamusica, Saddlers Wells, and various sound tracks. However, this is not always sustainable. He took the solo platform for two years and became an endorsee of Signature Trumpets and appeard at the Cheltenham Festival, Bromsgrove, recorded a piccolo album with Ian Tracy at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, and performed the Arutunian Concerto at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, which got rave reviews in the Daily Telegraph.

A computer was bought in 1989 and by 1992 he had launched Victorian Virtuosi play a long album, and completed his first ten music tracks for TV ad’s on the box. Since then Phil has completed around sixty music tracks for ad’s and programmes and redesigned the Classic fm logos for when they broadcast from abroad, and now looking at two film scores going into 2001. He has also held close associations with the Aveley Newham Band, Tilbury Band, Castlepoint Band, and more recently BNFL.