Meet the RPO: Principal French Horn Laurence Davies – From Wiltshire to world-class orchestra

Laurence Davies, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal French Horn, takes centre stage for Here Come the Classics at the Wyvern Theatre on Saturday 11 November performing Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4. Laurence is no stranger to the area, as he lives in Calne, grew up in Marlborough and often went to the Wyvern Theatre as a child. Does he think these trips to the theatre had an influence on his choice of career?

“Without a doubt,” says Laurence. “My parents are both musicians and so I was surrounded by music throughout my childhood and we went to all sorts of musical events. It was either at the Wyvern or The Memorial Hall in Marlborough College where I found my calling. I asked my parents what instrument was making the sound that I liked and they answered: ‘The French Horn’ – although I wonder if it was the trombone and they just didn’t want one in the house!”

Music has always played an important role in Laurence’s life, but what is it that inspired him to become a musician?

“I wish I could say something poetic like ‘the Wiltshire countryside and birdsong’, but in reality it was my family. My older brother played the piano exceptionally well from a young age and I basically followed him in everything he did. I could apparently read music before I could read words.”

With a career in music destined from a young age, Laurence has performed across the globe with world-class orchestras, shared the stage with some of the finest soloists and conductors and played an extraordinary variety of music. So what is it that he enjoys so much about being a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra?

“I have been playing with the RPO since before I left college, so it has been a big part of my life on and off for 30 years. What I enjoy most about working with a large group is the feeling of mutual respect. We are all very different people off the stage, but when we all pull together musically, we are all equal servants to the music and that is what gives me a buzz. Personalities can shine through the music and a good orchestra should embrace these.”

In addition to music, Laurence has a passion for history and archaeology running bespoke guided tours around Avebury and Stonehenge with his company Oldbury Tours. He also enjoys walks (sometimes to pubs), gardening and camping, making the most of the beautiful Wiltshire countryside.

Hear Laurence Davies in his musical habitat with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Here Come the Classics on Saturday 11 November at the Wyvern Theatre. If you miss the opportunity to get tickets, then look out for new concerts on sale from November, as the RPO returns for 2 concerts in 2018.

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