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Crispian Steele-Perkins My First, My Last, My Everything, September

I am absolutely delighted to introduce Crispian Steele-Perkins as the latest in this series of brass artists interviewed for My First, My Last, My Everything.

Described by Virtuoso magazine as ‘the world's leading exponent of the Baroque Trumpet’, particularly when heard in duet with some of the world's greatest singers such as Kiri te Kanawa, Emma Kirkby, John Tomlinson and Bryn Terfel, he has also recorded with popular artists including Led Zeppelin, Kate Bush, Lulu, Cliff Richard, Bob Geldof and Harry Secombe. In addition, he has performed on numerous TV scores for shows including, amongst many others, Dr Who, Oliver Twist, The World at War, Inspector Morse and Tales of the Unexpected.

In the world of cinema he has participated in more than 80 classic scores such as Jaws, Gandhi, Star Wars Episode IV, Batman, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers and no less than six films from the James Bond series.

Whilst his numerous solo recordings extend from Handel to Glenn Miller, he has featured regularly as a concert soloist in London at the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Boston’s Symphony Hall, the Sydney Opera House and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. His largest 'live' audience was 133,000 at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Crispian collects and restores antique trumpets upon which he has performed and recorded with The Academy of Ancient Music, The Kings Consort and The English Baroque Soloists. Appropriately, he plays the theme tune to one of the BBC’s longest-running and most popular TV programmes, the Antiques Roadshow.


Crispian Steele-Perkins


First Live Musical Experience You Can Recall?

Playing ‘In the shade of the Old Apple Tree…’ in my preparatory school pantomime - aged 10

First Musical Instrument Owned?

Boosey and Hawkes Regent trumpet.

First Music Lesson You Can Remember and Who Taught You?

Self taught until I went to Marlborough College where I was sent for lesson with Bernard Brown.

First Trumpet Owned?

As above B&H Regent. My parents bought it for me because an older brother complained that I was always taking his….

First Music Ensemble You Played In?

Devon Youth Orchestra

First Concert You Can Remember Performing in on Trumpet?

Again, mentioned above, a school pantomime. After that it was in the prizewinners concert in my 1st term at Marlborough where Sir Thomas Armstrong (Principal then of the Royal Academy of Music) adjudicated and remarked how pleased he was to see a young instrumentalist actually enjoying playing and not afraid of it!

First Record You Can Remember Buying?

‘Oh My Papa’ played by Eddie Calvert, ‘The man with the Golden Trumpet’

Who Was The First Trumpet Player To Really Inspire You?

Definitely Eddie Calvert

First Professional Orchestra You Performed With?

Sadlers Wells Opera Orchestra.

First Recording Session You Played On?

I cannot remember, there were a great many of them, but it might have been ’The Ring’ with Reginald Goodall

Conducting the English National Opera (which had previously been Sadlers Wells)

First Brass Teaching Post?

The Guildhall School of Music, London

First Overseas Tour You Took Part In?

A trip to Hong Kong with the ECO (English Chamber Orch) after I left the Opera.

First Ensemble/Orchestra You Appeared with as a soloist?

The Newbury String Players conducted by Christopher (Kiffer) Finzi directing, and the sisters Hilary (Flute)

and Jaqueline du Pres (Cello) in the orchestra !!!

First Ensemble You Conducted?


Can You Recall Your First Paid Playing Job?

Messiah, my first term as a student at Guildhall School, fee 3 Guineas.

First Car You Owned?

A 1934 green Morris 10 called ‘Blossom’


Last Instrument You Purchased?

A Vincent Bach cornet on Ebay a few weeks ago for a student. I still collect and restore trumpets the most recent being a wrecked Vincent Bach Bb trumpet which now plays fine.

Last Concert You Performed In?

My 75th Birthday concert in St James, Piccadilly after that Covid 19 intervened and about 35 concerts have been postponed….I never anticipated retirement and look forward to when we can perform again.

Last Recording You Bought or Downloaded?

Ted Heath (Big Band)

Last Recording Session You Played On?

‘Eternal Source of Light Divine’ by Handel with Elin Manahan -Thomas (Soprano) and Armonico Consort.

Last Tour You Undertook?

California, USA April 2019 solo tour of concerts and masterclasses.

Last Book You Read?

‘A Short History of England’ by Simon Jenkins

Last Film You Watched?

’The Lady Vanishes’ the version with Eliot Gould, Arthur Lowe, Ian Carmichael etc ( not 1938)

Last Concert You Attended As An Audience Member?

Shamefully I really cannot remember. Busman’s Holiday syndrome I suppose… might have been The Ring at Covent Garden in the 1970s conducted by Solti - I though he was awful !


Favourite Instrument(s) You Own?

Since I own more than 50 this choice is hard but I have a very rare ’short model’ Natural Trumpet made c1780 which was found in Drury Lane Theatre when it was refurbished in 1964 (for ‘Camelot’) and which was obviously hand-stopped; it has original mouthpiece, crooks and tuning ‘bits’ and plays remarkably well. The short Selmer Piccolo Trumpet which I bought new in May 1967 (played on the Antiques Roadshow theme tune) which I still use regularly should also be mentioned.

Proudest Musical Moment?

I suppose that whilst I was driving to work and listening to BBC Record Review, the Subject being Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto, I was thinking ‘I wonder if they will mention my recording with the ECO’ and lo and behold it was chosen as the reviewer’s recommended version.

Which Concert Venue(s) In The World Did You Use To Look Forward To Playing In?

St David’s Hall, Cardiff and National Concert Hall, Dublin.

Who Were The Conductor(s) You Enjoyed Playing For and Why?

Reginald Goodall for music without bar lines and John Eliot Gardiner for consistent sense of occasion.

Gennady Rozhdestvensky probably had the clearest beat and hated rehearsing.

We had a good personal relationship and he once called me in at the last minute to sight-read Shostakovich's 1st Symphony (which I had never played before) live

at the Proms and gave me a stand-up at the end !

If You Could Play One Last Piece of Orchestral Music Now What Would That Be?

Undoubtedly ‘Rule Britannia’ to stick 2 fingers up to the idiots who run the BBC.

Which Countries Did You Enjoy Performing In and Why?

Ireland for the Guinness and Spain for the food.

What Book, Recording and a Piece of Art Work or Photograph Would You Most Like To Have Forever?

Book ‘My Early Life’ by Winston Churchill

Recording, Florence Foster Jenkins singing the ‘Queen of the Night’ Aria

Photo, Brigitte Bardot surrounded by her dogs

The Best Piece Advice You Were Given?

‘Be nice to people’

The Best Piece of Advice You Would Give To Young Brass Players Just Starting Out?

Just do your best and do not read what the critics say - by then it’s too late.

What Do You Wish You Knew When You Were Young That You Know Now?

How to make my motorbike go quicker

Is There Anything You Would Have Done Differently In Your Career?

Surprisingly in retrospect I did not have any particular ambition; I was lucky to be around when there was plenty of work and it was then quite well paid.

If You Had Not Become A Professional Musician What Career Would You Like To Have Followed?


If There Was One Composer You Would Have Liked To Have Met Who Would That Be And Why?

Haydn because he was fun and very good company. Someone like Beethoven, apart from being deaf, strikes me as being too introspective to enjoy the sort of hostelry I do.

Likewise What Musical Performer From History Would You Like To Have Met?

John Shore, Purcell’s friend, an astonishing trumpeter (and lutenist) of whom I would have many questions to ask.

Which Non Musical Famous Person Would You Most Like To Meet Living or Deceased? What Would You Ask Them?

Julius Caesar, I would ask him how much he had to pay the People Traffickers to row him across the Channel!

Marmite Love it or Hate It?

Like but not Love it.

Thank you so much Crispian for taking time to feature as our latest artist on My First, My Last, My Everything. It has provided an insight into what is a remarkable, diverse and fascinating career at the very top of the international music professional a soloist and plus the varied career you have achieved across many genres and recordings. It has been a real privilege. Thank you.

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