Welcome to the Northern Horn Club

Honorary members of the Northern Horn Club

All past and current members of the Opera North horn section are Honorary members - see ON horns link above.

Other Honorary members


Peter Dodson

Peter stemmed from a musical family: his grandmother played piano for  silent cinema; an aunt, her son, a cousin, and Peter's sister were classically trained singers; an uncle was a concert pianist on the London circuit. His early years were filled with recordings of the greatest operatic tenors.

Evacuated from London in 1939, he was billeted with a devout Salvation Army couple who put him in the Junior Band, on cornet. In 1946, at boarding school, he was solo cornet in the school wind band, and chapel choir soloist.The school's musical director was Eric McGavin, founder, with Boosey & Hawkes, of the National Wind Orchestra. Eric's brother, the now very elderly hornist, Andrew McGavin, inspired Peter to change to horn.  Andrew knows this.

In 1948, because he had no home base, Peter was encouraged by Eric to apply to join the Northamptonshire Regimental Band. Sydney Ord-Hume, the bandmaster, was a friend of Eric's and an excellent all-round musician and music teacher. (When Sydney's father, James, died, Edward Elgar conducted the funeral music). Peter served with the band in Austria, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong, and Korea. In Austria, he began playing with professional orchestras, including one week with the Vienna State Opera. In Hong Kong, he played principal with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, under Malcolm Sargent. A good memory is of Sargent, during a rehearsal, stopping the orchestra to say, "I have never heard a top B flat played so accurately or beautifully."    

Sydney sent Peter to Kneller Hall where his horn tutor was Alfred Cursue, fourth horn of the Dennis Brain Horn Quartet. With Alfred's help, Peter won the coveted Cousens Memorial Parchment for "Exceptional Proficiency on the French Horn", together with further prizes for Harmony and Instrumentation.

Later, Sydney Ord-Hume was appointed founder Director of the Army's very first Junior Bandmen's Training Centre, based in Northampton. Peter was invited me to join the staff as a general music specialist. While stationed at that Centre, Peter joined the Wellingborough Symphony Orchestra, playing second horn to the young Alan Civil.

In about 1956, Peter left the Army to train at theological college where he was put in charge of the college chapel music which consisted mostly of plainchant and hymns. Some students were talented keyboard players and choral scholars who found it odd that, with his musical background, Peter knew far more about music than they, including the ability to understand and sing sacred music. 

As a curate in the Midlands, Peter became founder conductor of the Cannock & District Arts Council Orchestra and had to audition all the players including seventeen clarinetists!

Peter moved north to Halifax where, in addition to being a local vicar, he joined the Calderdale Education Authority's Music Centre, as their peripatetic horn teacher. Among his students were the young Bob Shaw (Irish Guards) and Shelagh Watson (BBC Scottish). At that time Peter was playing principal horn with the Halifax Orchestral Society.

As he moved parishes, Peter performed with the York Guildhall Orchestra, Harrogate Symphony, Harrogate Philharmonic, and Ripon Cathedral's St Cecilia Orchestra, as well as some (paid!) theatre work. Now in his eighty-first year, he is content to play second horn, with the Ripon Community Orchestra.

During his many years in Ripon, Peter has been the brass teacher at a girls independent school. He has also composed a number of orchestral/choral pieces for performance in the Cathedral, and was subsequently appointed, for a three-year period, the cathedral's Composer-in-Residence. 


Anthony Halstead

Horn player Anthony Halstead was born in Manchester, attending Chetham’s School and the Royal Manchester College of Music, where he studied piano, horn, organ and composition. His teacher at College was Sydney Coulston, a distinguished contemporary of Dennis Brain, who played principal horn in the Hallé and the BBC Northern Orchestras.

After leaving college Tony took several ‘refresher’ lessons with Horace Fitzpatrick and Myron Bloom. Subsequently he studied the harpsichord with George Malcolm and conducting with Michael Rose and Sir Charles Mackerras. As a horn player he has held principal positions with the London Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, The Academy of Ancient Music, the English Concert, The Hanover Band and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Tony made his first solo CD in 1986, recording Weber’s Concertino on the natural horn, with The Hanover Band, for the Nimbus Record Company. This much-acclaimed CD has recently been re-released, and can be purchased fromTony's website - www.halsteadmusic.co.uk/

Other solo CDs include the Concertos by Joseph and Michael Haydn, and two separate recordings, six years apart, of the Mozart Concertos, with The Hanover Band and The Academy of Ancient Music. On the modern horn he has recorded the Britten Serenade with the American tenor, Jerry Hadley.

Tony Halstead now enjoys a varied career as a conductor and director/harpsichordist, as well as being a renowned horn soloist and teacher of international repute. In addition to making regular visits as a guest professor and examiner at many of the UK’s conservatoires, he enjoys private teaching and chamber-music coaching.


Bob Mitchell

Bob Mitchell was taught the Horn at school by David Garbutt and Kenneth Monks (both ex-BBC Philharmonic) and studied with
David Wise while at Bretton Hall.  Bob was a peripatetic Brass teacher for Humberside Music Support Service for 18 years
before becoming Head of the East Riding Schools Music Service in 1996 with the formation of the new East Riding of Yorkshire
Council.  He served on the National Executive of the Federation of Music Services for over ten years including five years as
Secretary.  He has also been on the board of Yorkshire Young Musicians for the past nine years, serving as Chairman from

He has been the Principal Horn of the Hull Philharmonic Orchestra for over 30 years and is now the Chairman of the Hull
Philharmonic Society.  The Hull Phil Horn section, which has six regular members, recently formed the” Hull Phil Horn Sound”
in order to  play some of the horn quartet repertoire. They will be giving their first performance on Sunday 7 July 2013 at
Patrington Church.

Bob conducted the East Riding Youth Orchestra for 24 years and is now enjoying his retirement spending time travelling with
his wife Pat and finally getting around to doing some practice!  After playing Paxman horns for over 40 years Bob crossed
over to the dark side and bought himself a lovely Alexander Model 200 as a retirement present to himself.  He is now
beginning to get to grips with the first brand new horn he has ever owned!

Frank Murphy - see In Memoriam

David Wise - see In Memoriam

Harry Brennand - see In Memoriam


Keith Burdett - see In Memoriam




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