Welcome to our new Principal Trumpet, David Elton

On 11 December we welcomed a new member of the Trumpet section: joining Phil Cobb as Principal Trumpet is David Elton. 

David comes to the LSO from the the Sydney Symphony Orchestra where he was Principal Trumpet for the last six years, having previously held the same position with the West Australian (2005–2011) and Adelaide (2000–2004) Symphony Orchestras. He has also performed as a guest principal with orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra and Hong Kong Philharmonic, and is a member of the Australian Brass Quintet. We asked him to introduce himself.


I began music lessons on the violin initially, but on hearing the sound of the trumpet at school and in the local band I knew immediately that the trumpet was the instrument I had to play. So I began trumpet at the age of 9 and played in bands and youth orchestras growing up in Sydney. After graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium, I continued performance studies at Northwestern University near Chicago, USA.

I have so many brass heroes, all with diverse styles, and not necessarily all trumpet players. However as far as the trumpet goes, I have always loved the sound of it in orchestras so my heroes were, and still are, Phil Smith, Adolf “Bud” Herseth and of course Maurice Murphy. I grew up listening to recordings of Håkan Hardenberger and still greatly admire his playing and how much he has done to develop the instrument’s solo repertoire. Wynton Marsalis’ playing in both classical and jazz is inspiring, and Clifford Brown is always a favourite.

I am honoured to be playing with the London Symphony Orchestra – one of the world’s finest orchestras. I was on tour in Europe with another orchestra a few years ago and came to audition for the LSO position at the Barbican. I was then fortunate to have the opportunity to play with the Orchestra on several occasions, including the wonderful Gurrelieder at the BBC Proms with Sir Simon Rattle, and Mahler 9 with Bernard Haitink. I immediately loved playing with the Orchestra and of course working alongside the incredible colleagues in the brass section. Obviously it’s a huge year with Sir Simon Rattle arriving as Music Director and I think most of us in the trumpet section are looking forward to playing Mahler 9 and 10 with Sir Simon Rattle in April and May.

Trumpets Barcelona 2016 848The LSO trumpet section for Verdi Requiem, taken in Barcelona in 2016: (L–R) Jason Evans, Gerry Ruddock, Phil Cobb, Paul Mayes, Dan Newell, Robin Totterdell, Niall Keatley & David Elton.

There are so many exciting tour destinations, but perhaps my favourite would have to be Spain, a country I’ve only ever visited with the LSO. I loved playing at the Palau de Musica in Barcelona, and I’m looking forward to visiting northern Spain this season where hopefully I can get back in the ocean – ocean swimming and surfing are some of my favourite activities.


David will be on stage with the trumpet section in this Thursday's Half Six Fix performance of Bernstein's Wonderful Town (sold out!).