David Mason: A trumpet icon has died

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David Mason, who played the famous piccolo trumpet solo in the Beatles track “Penny Lane”, has died at the age of 85.

David had been Principal Trumpet of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Covent Garden Opera, and the English Chamber Orchestra. But he is perhaps most well-known for his ground-breaking piccolo trumpet solo on “Penny Lane.”

The brass world has lost yet another great player and personality. Our thoughts are with David’s family.

11 Responses to “David Mason: A trumpet icon has died”

  1. Simon Porter says:

    I’m absolutely devastated to hear this. David taught me (and my wife Alison) at the RCM. Most of the top orchestral trumpet players in the UK owe their jobs to this man who taught us not only how to play but how to behave. A lovely, lovely man.

  2. Bob Walp says:

    I am so sorry to learn of David Mason’s passing. His obvious influence on his superb students, both in their understanding of music and preparation on the instrument, combined with a genuine regard for those they work with, will be missed. Viewing the YouTube video clips, it is clear that Mason was a true gentleman.

  3. Dave Andrews says:

    This is such sad news. I am devastated, the only consolation for me being that I managed to visit David and his lovely wife Rachel in Harrow recently. He was SO much more than an amazing trumpet teacher – he was a real father figure to me and more than anyone it was he – his wisdom, guidance, values and total care – that got me through my turbulent late teens and early twenties at the RCM. I am proud to be a part of his extended ‘family’ and a small part of his legacy. They say that small prayers are the best so, God bless you David.

  4. Such sad news! I was also a member of that lucky bunch to have been taught by David during my time at the RCM and the word Gentleman was simply made for someone like him. Generous to a fault and brilliant teacher. My thoughts go out to Rachel and his family but also to his numerous colleagues and generations of pupils who will miss him terribly.

  5. Steve Dawes says:

    I’m so sad to hear of David’s passing.I was priviliged to have been taught by David at the time of being princpal trumpet during an 7 year stint in the NYO in the 1970s. Apart from the invaluable tuition and advice on trumpet playing I remain particularly indebted to David for his wisdom and guidance on career options at an especially critical stage of my life. I am now a very happy semi-pro trumpet player,having recently retired from a successful 28 year career with a major FTSE 100 company, and am now doing more trumpet playing than ever.
    I’m pleased that David has left an indelible stamp on the music world and my thoughts are with Rachel and the rest of his family at this sad time. He was indeed a true gentleman and role model for all aspiring trumpeters to emulate. Thank you David and God bless. Steve

  6. Julie Ryan says:

    Sad, sad news. I had the privilege to study with David for 6 years and I owe him so much. David was a wonderful trumpet player, a brilliant teacher and a beautiful man. Goodbye, dearest teacher, mentor and friend.

  7. Susan Wood says:

    I’m David’s daughter and would like to say, on behalf of Rachel, my brother and the rest of the family, how very touched we were to read the lovely messages of sympathy, which really help at a sad time like this. Dad loved teaching and helping his pupils go on to have a career in music or just enjoying playing the trumpet. We will miss him such a lot but he will live on in his music. Thank you all so much.

  8. Jon Holland says:

    I unfortunately can’t get to the funeral today but just wanted to say here how saddened I am at the passing of such a great man. I only studied with David for 2 years at the RCM from 1982-84 but in those 2 years his teaching totally transformed my playing. His methodical but common sense approach coupled with his firm but gentlemanly manner was exactly what I needed at that time. His teaching had such an impression on me that I find myself using his methods and approach with my students at the Birmingham Conservatoire even now all these years later. Just looking at the number of successful trumpet players in this country and abroad who are ex students of his speaks volumes for the success of the man as a teacher. As a player, again his record of holding down several principal trumpet positions during his career points to his outstanding abilities.

    It was always a regret of mine that I didn’t stay more in contact with David post college as he was such a kind and amiable man and I offer my sympathy to his family at their loss.

  9. Lawrence Killian says:

    Upon meeting David Mason whilst in the NYO in 1976 he advised me to go and study in Newton Park College, Bath where he and Rachel taught on weekly basis. This piece of advice along with the three years I spent studying trumpet with him have been momentous in defining my life and career as an educator, composer, and conductor.

    I travelled from West Yorkshire to the funeral yesterday carrying the love and best wishes of my own family along with the many musicians from this area that either knew of David’s achievements or worked with him direct. Dame Janet Baker’s summation that here was a man who had the highest standards in every respect and who sought excellence in himself and for those he worked with is a fitting tribute to a great man. Deepest love and empathy to Rachel and all the family. My thanks recorded here for everything that David did for me in inspiring me to strive for the best.

  10. Ruari Wilson says:

    I recollect meeting David Mason once through a friend of my mother’s to whom he was related, I think. I was about 15 years of age and mad keen on the trumpet (nothing has changed in the intervening 40 years) and was over-awed at meeting such a gentleman. There has been a detailed article in tribute to Mr Mason in the Brass Bulletin. His trumpet playing is astounding.

  11. Doug says:

    Respectfully awknowleged at the Grammy’s with Sir Paul. You will always inspire me

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