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- Instrumentalists -


   LINKS to other pages in this site and to other sites in the Travelling Days series:

Autographs Home Page:      Bedford 1939 onwards:      BBC in Bedford:
BBC Symphony Orchestra Personalities:      Bedford Miscellany:       Bedford School (1940s):
Composers:      Conductors:       David Gentleman:      Glenn Miller:       Instrumentalists:
Personalities of the 1940s:       Pianists:       The RAEC in Cornwall:
Religion and Drama:       Singers:       BBC in Cornwall 1949:      Colin Day's List-O-Links:
America West Home Page:      Guest Book:

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HARRY MORTIMER (1902 - 1992). Considered a giant in the brass band world, and known as “Mr Man O’ Brass”, Mortimer.jpg - 16274 BytesHarry Mortimer had along and distinguished career as a player and conductor of some of the country’s top brass bands including the well known Foden’s Motor Works Band, He was also a conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

   Harry learnt to play the cornet when he was eight and first joined his home town Hebden Bridge band when his father, Fred Mortimer, was conductor. In addition to his services to brass band music his role as the brass and military music supervisor of the BBC earned him an OBE.

   In his autobiography he wrote: “There is something about the Pennines which encourages music. The majority of bands of all grades come from the geographical areas surrounding this great line of hills and Hebden Bridge is as typical as any.”


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HENRY HOLST was a well known and justly famous solo violinist of the 1940s. The photograph (below) shows Holst in rehearsal of William Walton's Violin Concerto at Bedford during the war. The conductor is the composer, William Walton. (Photograph with acknowledgement to the BBC)

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TEDDY BROWN, another 'giant' (in more ways than one!) was born in New York City around the turn of the century – his real name was Abraham Himmelbrand. He went on the variety stage at nine and became a member of New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra for four years before going to England as a xylophonist and band leader.

   Brown said that it was the Duke of Windsor who suggested he should come to England. He made his home at Xylophone House in Sea Road, Littlehampton, Sussex. As a solo xylophonist he received many BBC engagements in addition to his stage appearances in London and the provinces. He appeared with Glenn Miller and the Band of the AEF at the Granada Cinema Bedford on November 1944.
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    Teddy Brown was able to play almost every instrument in the orchestra but it was due to Brown's particular flair for and expertise in the xylophone that raised the instrument from relative obscurity to worldwide popularity. In the 1930's Teddy Brown was billed as 'The World's Greatest Xylophonist'. As a xylophonist he was exceptional because he operated a six-octave instrument, two more than usual. He was grossly overweight (24 stone) and this probably led to his premature death from a heart attack in 1946.


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