Band Member Maurice Murphy
Position Principal Cornet
Instrument Cornet

Although he was born in Hammersmith, west London, Murphy’s family was rooted in the northern mining community. His father drove a coal wagon. When Maurice was four, the family moved back north. Two years later, encouraged by his father, a cornet player, he joined a Salvation Army band in County Durham. By his early teens he had won several competitions and made an appearance on the television show Opportunity Knocks.

In 1956 he became principal cornet with the celebrated Black Dyke Mills Band, though during his five years in the post he broadened his experience by taking work with symphony orchestras (notably the Hallé and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic), dance bands and in theatre and pantomime. Although he had received no formal conservatoire training, he was rapidly acquiring a reputation for excellence. In 1961 he was appointed principal trumpet with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra (later the BBC Philharmonic).

From 1974 to 1977, Murphy was a professor at the Royal Northern College of Music, but as a natural player, he found it difficult to communicate matters of technique to his pupils. He claimed he was “no good as a teacher”.

From the BBC Northern, he moved in 1977 to the LSO as principal trumpet, bringing a new sound and energy that were to help transform its reputation. An important and lucrative aspect of the orchestra’s schedule was its film work, and as well as Star Wars, he can be heard on the soundtracks for Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Batman, the Alien movies and Gladiator.

Maurice Murphy plays “Sunshine of Your Smile”

Friday, February 1, 1957 to Thursday, February 1, 1962


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