21 years with the
LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
ingénu/e interviews LPO’s Anne McAneney
Anne was a member of London Brass for 23 years. She joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra as Sub-Principal Trumpet in 2000 and is a Professor of Trumpet at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Tell us about your early life, how did you first become interested in music?
I was born and brought up in Belfast, where at the age of eight I began to have piano lessons. Shortly after this I started to learn the violin. In my teens I exchanged the violin for a cornet and ultimately the instrument I still play, the trumpet.
What attracted you to orchestral music?
I played cornet in a brass band and when the Ulster Orchestra needed extra brass players for the stage bands in a performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, they asked us to play the extra parts. What a piece. I was completely sold on the incredible sound colours an orchestra could make. This was when the trumpet replaced the cornet and the orchestra replaced the brass band in my heart.
How did you fare during the lockdowns?
Lockdown was a bag of mixed blessings. The life of a London orchestra is exceptionally busy, so I normally have little time to enjoy my lovely home in Crowborough. Lockdown imposed a rest period and gave me the opportunity to spend quality time in my kitchen and garden but music is my life and I felt totally cut off. Zoom soon presented itself as a useful means of showing the orchestra playing together through layering all our individual recordings. When restrictions were lifted we managed to come together in small groups and record concerts for streaming, which was life-affirming after the isolation. The final stage of coming out of lockdown saw us performing our concerts in an empty concert hall, which were filmed for streaming on Marquee TV. It was very odd to play a concert without applause at the end. Oh how we missed our audience.
Outside of classical music, what other types of music do you enjoy?
I enjoy most types of music but am particularly drawn to Gypsy Kings, early musicals and pop music from the 70’s and 80’s.
You have been with the LPO now for 21 years. Can you tell us of a few highlights from your career with the LPO?
There are so many highlights but to select a few, ‘All Rise’ touring the UK with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Jazz Orchestra, performing Peter Grimes with Stuart Skelton in the title role and recording the music for the Lord of the Rings films come top of the list.
And do you have any particular fond memories of the residencies in Brighton and Eastbourne?
The LPO have given many concerts both in Brighton and Eastbourne and it always a pleasure to meet members of the audience. Two performances which I recall with great fondness were both at the Congress Theatre. Prior to the refurbishment we played Debussy’s La Mer and because of the leakage of sound from the loading dock at the side of the stage, we gave a very special performance made complete by rather loud seagull calls, just as Debussy would have enjoyed from his hotel room in the Grand Hotel, in the summer of 1905, whilst correcting the proofs of the music he had completed a few months earlier.
Another concert that will long remain in my memory is that of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, when the lighting failed and we played on in total darkness, until one by one we could no longer remember our parts! You have to be prepared for anything when performing live music and I am looking forward to making more happy memories in our Sussex residences.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra has residencies in 2022 at The Congress, Eastbourne and Brighton Dome. See www.lpo.org.uk for details of upcoming concerts.