Interview with Philip Dewhurst

Posted by Simon Minshall on 19 November 2012 | Comments

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I was recently able to catch up with Phil Dewhurst to talk about his recent appointment as 2nd trombone in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and his career so far.

 Can you tell us how it all began?

  'I have always had an interest in music from a young age due to my mum being a piano teacher. From this I began learning the piano at age 6, and from 8 added the trombone. I was keen to learn the trombone due to the fact it looked cool, was big and shiny. There was always music in the house and I know this was a key ingredient for my career.'

 How did you develop further and who began teaching you at this stage?

  'Beginning to study at the Junior Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, age 12, enabled me to learn with Roger Cutts, Principal Trombone of the Welsh National Opera. In our lessons we went through basic technique and also the ABRSM Grade 8 syllabus. During this time, through aural and musicianship classes I became aware that I had perfect pitch and that my aural skills were very good, going on to study advanced aural at the JRWCMD.

  I then decided that I wanted to be immersed in an environment such as Chethams' School of Music. From the age of 15-18, I studied with Rob Burtenshaw, Phil Goodwin, Phil Harrison and Andy Berryman and had the opportunity to meet and play for Ian Bousfield.'

 What made you choose Chet's as your place of study and how did you enhance your playing further?

  'I wanted to really immerse myself in a musical atmosphere and with like minded people, which I feel has really helped develop my musical outlook. I was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain; principal trombone in 2008. It was great to learn some of the orchestral repertoire, blend of sound throughout the section and was good all round section training.'

 Have you always wanted to be a trombonist?

  'It has always mattered to me to be a musician, whether it be as a trombonist or not, as I have always had a broad interest in all styles and means of music. My musical education has always been leading to orchestral trombone playing, as this is what musician college trained me for.'

 Whilst at the 'Academy' you were evolved in various projects such as recording the concerto 'Arrows of Time', new works for solo trombone and performing alongside Elton John. Who were the people who shaped you as a player though these years?

  'For me, sitting in an ensemble under Jim Watson was always something to look forward to. He was someone who I could always approach and would tell me buck my ideas up! Denis Wick, Dudley Bright, Mark Templeton and Ian Bousfield all gave me expert advice and guidance whilst a student.'

 So this brings us onto your new job! How did it happen and what have you done so far?

  'Well, whilst in the USA on tour in January 2012, I received a congratulatory text at dinner, and was informed by the rest of the section that I had got the position. It couldn't have happened in a nicer way, but due to commitments at the Academy, the RPO were kind enough to delay my starting date in order for me to complete my studies. Since starting the job in September 2012, have already toured Oman, performed Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony under Andrew Litton, and a concert in Albert hall performing music from 'Final Fantasy' to mark the 25th anniversary with the original composer, Nobuo Oematsu. Currently looking forward to a performance's of Mahler 3, the infamous 2nd trombone solo in Rimsky-Korsakov's 'Scherezade', July 2013 tour to the far east and also to continuously working in such a fantastic section with Matt Gee, Roger Argente and Kevin Morgan.’

 Thank you for taking time to talk about your career so far.

You can find this interview in the British Trombone Society Magazine