Paul has been principal trumpet of the Alderley Edge orchestra for more than 20
years. He began playing in brass bands in Yorkshire and eventually became
principal cornet of what is now the championship YBS Band. During this time, he felt fortunate to play on one occasion next to the renowned
Maurice Murphy, arguably Britain’s foremost trumpet and cornet player.
Paul returned north following post-doctoral studies in pharmacology at the
University of Oxford and joined several local orchestras where he continues to
enjoy playing a wide variety of music, including that requiring the use of D,
Eb and piccolo trumpets (such as in baroque music), in addition to the standard
Bb trumpet. He is also principal trumpet of the KEMS orchestra in Macclesfield
and has played with the Manchester Beethoven Orchestra, Wilmslow and Stockport
Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Athenean, Amaretti and Lancashire chamber
orchestras. His teachers have included Cecil Kidd (RNCM), David James (BBC
Scottish), Ian Coull (BBC Philharmonic) and, currently, Gareth Small (Principal
Trumpet of the Hallé and London Brass), and Jamie Prophet and Patrick Addinall (Principal Trumpets,
BBC Philharmonic). He has also attended masterclasses given by Alison Balsom,
Allen Vizzutti and Håkan Hardenberger.
Paul has played Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with local orchestras and, with the Alderley Edge Orchestra,
the Hummel Trumpet Concerto and the solo part in Françaix’s Le Gay Paris for trumpet and wind ensemble. Christmas time sees him busy
playing the trumpet solo in Handel’s Messiah which he has performed over 50 times. Paul has also given recitals
with organ in Cheshire and Cyprus.
As relaxation from playing, Paul enjoys travel, spending part of each year at
his home in Cyprus and, to be able to order a beer or two there, recently
gained a GCSE in Greek!
Principal trumpet: Paul Dawes
The TRUMPET was originally no more than an animal's horn fitted with a simple
mouthpiece, and as such it had a natural military application in leading forces
into battle. For this purpose and for similar ceremonial occasions, the
fundamental limitation that the instrument could only provide a limited number
of notes in a harmonic progression was no problem, but in the 13th century the
development of the first folded trumpet heralded its gradual progression into
the instrument we know today.
A big step forward in the 17th century was the introduction of crooks - lengths
of tubing that could be inserted into the instriument to alter the pitch. The
notes available were still from the harmonic series, but the player could for
the first time 'crook' his instrument into almost any key he wanted, thereby
providing much greater flexibility for the trumpet within an orchestral
environment. Players during the time of Bach and Handel developed astonishing
skills, but it was still hard work and - human nature being what it is - it
wasn't long before players began to seek simpler ways of achieving their goals.
As a result, towards the end of the 18th century experimental instruments were
produced with keys similar to those used on woodwind instruments. Haydn was so
impressed that he composed his famous Trumpet Concerto (1796) for such a keyed
But it wasn't long before another major development occurred: the introduction
of the valve trumpet with a complete chromatic compass. Three valves are
connected to sections of tubing of different lengths; when pressed in various
combinations, six lower notes each a semitone apart are obtained. The modern
trumpet has a thin cylindrical bore for most of its length, widening over the
last quarter into a flared bell. The common B flat instrument has a range of
around three octaves above the E below middle C.
Various other instruments are in common use: the ones pitched in D and E flat
are encountered most often. The smallest trumpet of all is the so-called
'piccolo B flat' which sounds an octave above the ordinary B flat instrument.
Mutes are used from time to time. A straight mute, shaped like a cone, gives a
piercing and sinister sound; while a bucket mute makes the instrument sound
more mellow. Cup and 'harmon' mutes are also used occasionally, producing soft
and buzzy sounds respectively.
The Alderley Edge Orchestra