Welcome to our new member, Niall Keatley


On 28 April we welcomed a new member to the Orchestra – third trumpet Niall Keatley. Regulars at LSO concerts might recognise his name and face as he has played frequently with the section for many years, so we're delighted that he is now a full member. We asked Niall to introduce himself.

Niall KeatleyI graduated from the Royal Academy of Music in 2001 before embarking on a freelance career in London. I have been a member of the chamber group Onyx Brass since 2000 and was a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 2011 to 2017.

I actually wanted to play the Euphonium, believe it or not, after attending a brass workshop at my primary school in Belfast aged 9. Fortunately my mother managed to persuade me that the trumpet was a better option!

There are so many brass players that I have great respect for. When I was starting out I was very inspired by players such as Maurice André, Håkan Hardenberger and Wynton Marsalis and I do also recall wearing out my cassette of 'The lighter side of Maurice Murphy'. I could spend all day listing players who have inspired me since then, in all different styles of playing, but Clifford Brown, Freddie Hubbard and Adolph Herseth would be on the list along with those already mentioned.

You don't chose the LSO – I applied for the job and they decided to choose me! No but to be honest as soon as I came to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music I always thought it would be fantastic to one day join an orchestra like the LSO. As a young child I remember watching all the Star Wars films and the many other Hollywood films which featured the LSO and was mesmerised by the sound of the orchestra, especially of course the trumpets and brass. I remember very clearly thinking that I'd love to do that some day and I think seeing London Symphony Orchestra in the end titles somehow made it stick in my mind. Of course I had no idea that I would end up as a professional trumpet player, let alone a member of the LSO! Coincidentally my first concert as a member was a concert of John Williams' music at the Barbican playing all those tunes which had inspired me as a child.

There are many things I'm looking forward to at the LSO, but having my own locker at the Barbican so I spend less time carrying my trumpets and tails around with me is quite exciting. I'm also looking forward to some of the foreign tours which we have in the diary, especially as my wife is a violinist in the orchestra!

Repertoire wise, I'm very much looking forward to Gurrelieder at this year's BBC Proms with Sir Simon Rattle. It's a piece I've heard a few times and I'm very fond of but have yet to perform; there aren't that many big pieces that I haven't yet performed so I'm quite exited about that one.

 


 

Niall will next be on stage in the trumpet section this coming weekend: Saturday 13 May at the Brighton Festival and Sunday 14 May at the Barbican Centre. Do say hello if you see him!