Obituary: Bram Wiggins (1922–2014)

LSO Assistant Principal Trumpet and Principal Cornet (1947–57)

The LSO was saddened to hear of the death of former trumpeter, Bram Wiggins, on 19 October 2014 in Buckinghamshire. He was 92.

Bram Wiggins started playing the cornet at the age of 3 and received his early training in the Salvation Army, becoming a member of two staff bands under Eric Ball, and was well known as a cornet soloist. He was Walter Stokes Orchestral Scholar at the Royal Academy, studying trumpet under the late George Eskdale, who later invited him to join the London Symphony Orchestra as Assistant 1st Trumpet and Principal Cornet.

In 1941, whilst still a student, Bram enlisted into the band of the Welsh Guards based in London. During these years, when not on military duty, he could be found in the film studios recording soundtracks for such films as Dangerous Moonlight and Major Barbara.

He joined the LSO after he was demobbed in 1947. There were many highlights including working with the renowned conductors of the time. Bram remembered with pride that he played first trumpet for Josef Krips’ Beethoven cycle and also led the brass section throughout Anthony Collins and the LSO’s acclaimed recordings of the Sibelius symphonies. He played at the opening of the Royal Festival Hall and in the first performance of Messiaen’s Turangalila-Symphonie.

After ten years with the LSO he accepted an appointment in Canada where he was Principal Trumpet with the Winnipeg Orchestra and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. He also worked as a band director, conductor, trumpet soloist and adjudicator. On returning to the UK in 1960, despite an invitation to return to the LSO, he decided to follow a freelance career and to teach at the Royal Academy of Music.

In 1967 his career path changed yet again and he was asked to take charge of wind music at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire. He remained there for 20 years whilst continuing to pursue his freelance playing, composing and teaching work. He examined regularly at the Royal Academy, Trinity College and the Birmingham Conservatory.

He was internationally known as an author of instrument tuition books and a composer of music for both brass and wind bands. He was awarded the 'Worshipful Company of Musicians' prize, the 'BASBWE' prize and the 'Corsiano' (Perruggia) prize, for original Concert Band compositions.

After his retirement, he continued to live in Buckinghamshire where he kept his ties with Stowe School.

Bram was a dearly loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather and the LSO’s thoughts are with his family and many friends at this sad time.