Breaking: LSO appoints youngest-ever principal, just 18 years old

Breaking: LSO appoints youngest-ever principal, just 18 years old


norman lebrecht

May 29, 2014

Always an orch with an eye to the future, the LondonSymphony Orchestra has just named Peter Moore, 18, as co-principal trombone. He is a former winner of BBC Musician of the Year. He’ll have plenty of wise heads around to chaperone him.

peter moore trombone

(UPDATE: But is he the youngest player in any major orch? Click here for answers.)




The London Symphony Orchestra has appointed 18-year-old Peter Moore as Co-Principal Trombone, the Orchestra’s youngest ever member. Peter was a graduate of the 2012 LSO Brass Academy. Each year the LSO Academy provides up to 30 promising young instrumentalists aged 14–24 with a unique opportunity to work with the great orchestral musicians of their time in a week of orchestral-focused workshops and masterclasses at LSO St Luke’s. Peter Moore’s appointment makes him one of nine members of the LSO who have come through the LSO Academy and other artist development schemes run by the Orchestra.


The LSO’s Artist Development programme identifies and nurtures the next generation of young performers, composers and conductors from a diverse range of backgrounds, and offers them opportunities to develop their careers. Over the past three years, over one thousand performers aged 14 to 35 have worked directly with LSO players as part of the programme; for many, this has offered a pathway into the professional music world. Alongside Peter Moore, Angela Barnes (Horn), Antoine Bedewi (Co-Principal Timpani), Philip Cobb (Principal Trumpet), Naoko Keatley (Second Violin), Maxine Kwok-Adams (First Violin), Joseph Melvin (Double Bass), William Melvin (Second Violin) and Sarah Quinn (Sub-Principal Second Violin) have all graduated from either the LSO Academy, or taken part in the LSO String Experience, and progressed to become members of the LSO.


As part of the collaboration between the LSO and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, a new postgraduate specialism in Orchestral Artistry was launched in September 2013.


In 2008, at the age of 12, Peter Moore became the youngest ever winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition. He studied with Philip Goodwin at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, and with Ian Bousfield (previously Principal Trombone of the LSO and now Principal Trombone of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra).


Following his Wigmore Hall debut in 2008 Peter has given recitals at venues and festivals throughout the UK including The Bridgewater Hall, St George’s Bristol, Conway Hall, Eaton Square, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Leeds College of Music, and the Newbury, Chester and Manchester Festivals. As a concerto soloist he has appeared with the Polish Chamber Orchestra (both in Poland and at the Rheingau and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Festivals), the Northern Chamber Orchestra, Brighton Philharmonic and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.


In 2009 Peter featured as soloist at the European trombone festival The Slide Factory in Rotterdam and undertook a five-week tour of Australia. He has since returned twice to Australia and New Zealand for extensive trips performing as soloist with orchestras, bands and in recital.


Peter’s debut CD recording of Edward Gregson’s Trombone Concerto with the BBC Concert Orchestra was released in 2010 to critical acclaim, and a recording with the Australian Brass Group Brass FX will be released shortly.


In January 2013 Peter won the Wind section of the Royal Over-Seas League Competition and in October featured as soloist in the opening concert of the brass event performing Mark-Anthony Turnage’s trombone concerto Yet Another Set To with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.


  • william osborne says:

    How unfortunate. He had the potential to become a really interesting musician.

  • sylvain vasseur says:

    Mr Osborne, your comment is outrageously ignorant. Orchestras around the world are home to absolutely brilliant, knowledgeable, versatile and ‘interesting’ musicians. Being part of an orchestra does not hinder a supremely gifted musician but widens his/her musical horizon. I imagine you are one of those ‘armchair’ commentators.

    • william osborne says:

      Interesting how few people understand what orchestras do to musicians — spending years playing with ensemble uniformity, relegating musical autonomy to a conductor, blending one’s identity and sound to a group. The steep hierarchies, regimentation, and authoritarianism of the orchestra also create difficult working climates that all too often leave orchestra musicians feeling unfilled and unhappy — as documented by Jutta Almendinger and Richard Hackman in their well-known studies of orchestras. These are not the mentors he needs, and especially in that kind of climate.

      This is especially true of the LSO, which has a grueling work schedule that is numbing. It will be death by factory rouitine for a young man that still has much potential for growth. That’s exactly why both former first chair trombonists Ian Bousefeld and Katy Jones left to go to other orchestras. And it’s why Ian has quit orchestras all together. But don’t try to tell any of this to classical music fans. They will only see their tin god, the symphony orchestra, being tarnished. High sacrilege. Please send all complaints to

      • Beaumont says:

        Then why did your wife play in orchestras?

        • william osborne says:

          She didn’t know better. John Swallow, a trb. prof. at Yale was her only teacher who tried to tell her about what orchestras do to musicians.

          • David says:

            My trombone professor is in the Dallas Symphony and is a great young player. And even though he may not have shared your words exactly, he did mention to our entire studio that he was losing his way before we gave him the chances to solo with our ensembles. His appetite wasn’t being satisfied in his playing because the orchestra demanded so much of his time he didn’t get the chance to grow as a player like he wanted.

      • Opera Violinist says:

        William, how does your belief that orchestras do terrible things to musicians who grind out music like factory workers permit you to continually bemoan the lack of opera companies in the US compared to Germany and Austria? Why do you wish for thousands of additional Americans to be consigned to the pits of Hell?

    • Shelia says:

      Also, you should be aware Pete grew up playing in brass bands, and if you think orchestra’s are musical soul crushing places……

      • Craig Hendley says:

        Orchestras and brass bands are regimented, yes. the great beauty of the orchestra is all those people playing in unison and harmony.

        Take 100 musicians all playing what they “feel” and it will sound terrible.
        Take 100 musicians all playing under the direction of a conductor, who is usually many levels above the players, and it sounds fantastic.

        If you want to play freely, get good enough to be a band leader.

        And before you ask, yes, I have played in many bands and orchestras over the last 38 years and some quite good ones too, although I won’t name drop.

      • Ryan says:

        What an ignorant comment. Philip cobb and maurice murphy also graduated from brass band. It was brass bands that got them started and gave them their fundamental musicality. I know phil and he says himself that brass bands made him the musician he is now!

        Orchestral snobbery against brass banding is disgusting, music is music and should be respected thusly. I play in brass bands and write music for them. I’m also a resident composer for the NYOW. If it wasn’t for brass banding, i’d never have gotten to where i am now musically.

      • simon says:

        Shelia, such a shame that you come out to back the lad for taking up the seat with the LSO, defend their creativity and then feel the need to disrespect brass bands, all in one sentence. All real music, be it orchestral, jazz or even (dare I say it) the evil brass bands, promote creativity
        If they didn’t nobody would play in them let alone listen to them.
        Shame on you Shelia.

  • Malcolm James says:

    I think William has a point in being wary about youngsters being pushed too fast too soon. There is a danger that marketable youngsters get packaged as a fully-fledged soloist for an undiscriminating audience, where they might have been better advised to continue their studies to become the finished article (no names, no pack drill!). That said, I don’t think that this situation is the same. Peter Moore is being given a lot of responsibility for one so young, but he is not going to have the profile of an international soloist and is in an environment where he can be well mentored (which is the word I presume Norman meant when he wrote ‘chaperoned’).

  • Adrian Bird says:

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that this is a co-principal position which gives Pete the opportunity to do other things too. William, have you considered that this is an opportunity for Pete to raise his profile too? He’ll still be an interesting musician I’m sure.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that he has been in the position of being mentored by world-class musicians from a young age.

    If I had to pick anyone at 18 to handle the role, it’d be him. He’s ready for it and you probably wouldn’t meet a more humble guy in your life either…

  • Louis says:

    There is no need to hold back prodigious talent (and from everything we’ve been hearing about this kid for the last 6 years or so, a tireless work ethic in spite of his continued successes) from the opportunities it deserves. Mr. Moore’s career path is starting to resemble more and more that of countryman Ian Bousfield, to whom he has been compared for years. Bousfield was appointed principal of the Hallé at age 19, the LSO at 24 and has gone on to have one of the most illustrious and varied careers of any trombonist in history. Had the internet/social media existed in the late 70s and 80s, people would have been saying the same thing about Bousfield’s appointments at such a young age. The fact is some musicians, like Mr. Bousfield and Mr. Moore, simply ARE ready for these types of responsibilities at such a young age, and doubting them seems more like jealousy than anything else.

  • Alyn James says:

    If you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Fantastic news!

  • Tim says:

    Fantastic news. A great lad from a supportive (and very musical) family. Grenville must be phenomenally proud. Well done Pete

  • Dave Peto says:

    Congratulations to Peter – he has a bright future ahead of him.

    There are many fine young musicians out there who might grow impatient with the traditional processes and choose to strike out in other directions. Among these are Marc Papeghin, a young French horn /trumpet/trombone/keyboard/set drummer and arranger who resides on YouTube.

  • Richard Schneider says:

    While it’s unusual for someone as young as Peter Moore to receive an appointment to a major orchestra, it’s not without precedent. Saul Goodman was 19 when he was appointed timpanist with the New York Philharmonic by Toscanini. He held the position for 43 years during which he became a leading player and teacher in his field. Gunther Schuller was free-lancing and working professionally in New York at 16, appointed as principal horn in Cincinnati, and at the Met while still in his teens. Later, his career diversified away from the horn, toward composition, conducting, and teaching. He continues to be recognized as a leader among American musicians. Nothing wrong with early starters.

    • Bob Lauver says:

      I believe a horn player by the name of Neill Sanders served a stint as principal horn in the LSO when he was 17. Am I mistaken? I studied with him when he came to America and thought this was part of his early history.

  • sylvain vasseur says:

    Mr Osborne, I think you obviously have an axe to grind. You have no time for orchestras and seemingly even less for the LSO. Indeed London orchestras may have tough schedules from time to time but as a co-principal Peter Moore will have ample time to do other things. Please spare us with the cliches : factory routine, numbness etc….
    Most orchestral musicians are proud of what they do. Who are you to rain on their parade ?

  • Nicholas Cooper says:

    Very well done Peter Moore, and best wishes for the future.

  • Maxine Kwok-Adams says:

    What a shame at your attitude Mr. Osbourne. Obviously from the bitter remarks you posted, your wife unfortunately didn’t have a happy time in orchestras but for many it is an extremely positive experience. I am in the LSO, have done all the work for 13 years and whilst I am not in a principal position, I am nowhere near being a burnt-out embittered violinist who feels my musicality has been squashed! In fact I feel privileged every day to hear such amazing talent all around me to inspire and drive me on. Yes, the circumstances can be tough (like in ANY job!) and compared to orchestral life in other countries we work extremely hard for much less pay, but I am not sure what u expect a young man in Pete’s position to do. It is all very well having an idealist view of playing music how we want/wherever we want, but the reality is, we all need to earn a living and I for one am thrilled he chose to start off what is surely to be an illustrious career with us at the LSO. There are many principals who were appointed in their very early 20’s to guide him, but in all honesty, he’s a mature young man who seems to have taken everything in his stride. People choose to leave orchestras for their own reasons – London being an expensive city to live in being one/having young children/not wanting to tour/taking a much higher pay rise in a different country/lucrative teaching job – it doesn’t mean they hated the orchestra or were desperately unhappy. Surveys done always like to highlight the negatives and not focus on the many people who genuinely love what they do.

    If Pete chooses to leave us one day that is his choice. It is such a shame you would squash what is an incredibly happy and exciting time for him. I cannot think of many professions where you can have as fun and an exciting a life as being part of a symphony orchestra.

  • Al King says:

    What a Fantastic player and a wonderful appointment for Peter Moore following in the ranks of some of the greatest brass players in the world Howard Snell,Willie Lang, Maurice Murphy,Denis Wick,Ian Bousfield, John Fletcher,Barry Tuckwell all legends in their time.Now under the Wing of another all time great trombonist Dudley Bright I am sure Peter and the new young star Philip Cobb on principal are very proud of their appointments and looking forward to an exciting future in one the the World’s premier orchestras. What a total disgrace and shame of Mr Osborne to voice such negative comments on what should be an Occasion of Congratulations for Peter Moore

    • James says:

      Let’s not forget Frank Matheson (Bass Trombone LSO for more years than you can name) in your list.

      There are many other very young trombonists appointed to key principal positions, with mixed results: AWESOME Alain Trudel at Montreal is an exceptional inspiring musician!

      • Jeff says:

        Yes James – I had the great pleasure to learn from Frank for three months in 1995 – a quite, reserved man, but with so much knowledge and experience.

  • Tim Dowling says:

    I don’t understand the negativity of Mr Osborne at all. The LSO is one of the great orchestras. The trombone section has been famous for years. Peter Moore is a great talent, and will become a significant figure in the trombone world, if he isn’t that already. Just as Abbie Conant (William Osborne’s wife btw) is and will always be. On merit!
    I wish Peter Moore much success and I wish William Osborne a little magnanimity. it won’t go astray

  • m2n2k says:

    As a general rule, william osborne’s statements may make certain sense, but there are plenty of exceptions some of which have been cited here and elsewhere by numerous commenters when brilliantly talented players who joined orchestras as teenagers developed into outstanding musicians.

  • Vince Belford says:

    Come on guy. Yes playing in an orchestra requires one to be a team player but, it hasn’t hurt the likes of Joe Allesi, Jim Market, Charlie Vernon, Jay Friedman, Paul Pollard and lots of others who got big jobs early and maintained solo and great teaching careers.
    The old model of getting a gig and being happy (or unhappy) as a “music worker” doesn’t necessarily apply these days, even though there are many players who are very happily doing just that.
    The only possible trap here is getting success so early in life that the burn out factor comes into play, but it’s a problem that we should all enjoy.

  • william osborne says:

    How foolish of me to think that a gifted young musician should get a college education before entering the factory-like routines of an orchestra. Now that we’re working so hard to expand the audiences for classical music, we should expect orchestra musicians to have the same educational level as construction workers, street cleaners, bus drivers, firemen, drill sargents, and grocery store workers. Once again, the usual Chimpanzee cage outrage of the SD comments demonstrates its wisdom and depth.

    • william osborne says:

      I mean, what possible use could a classical musician have for a college education that includes things like art history, music history, world history, literature, writing, general science courses, and musical form and analysis. Certainly nothing a gifted young artist would need….

      • BuzZ says:

        Sorry, don’t want to interrupt the lovely conversation you’re having with yourself. But is it possible that you are just a pompous whiner who is applying their limited worldview to everyone?
        I wish Peter Moore all the best and hope his staggering deficiency in tertiary science courses doesn’t hurt his development as a musician in the principal seat of one of the world’s best orchestras.

      • norman lebrecht says:

        He was at music college, William. Not much Bildung there. Or anything about life and music that he won’t learn much faster sitting in a good orch with friendly, responsible colleagues.

        • Ashley Harper says:

          Certainly agree with your view on this Norman, but he wasn’t at music college as he is still of school age!

          • m2n2k says:

            Age is just a number. One of my young colleagues had two college degrees, including one in sciences and a postgraduate in music, by the time he was 19.

  • william osborne says:

    Yes, these are prime examples of orchestral trombonists as soloists. I can already imagine the profundity of his rendition of the “Blue Bells of Scotland” and countless “Andante et Allegros.” His “Carnival of Venice” will be breath-taking. He will maintain the remarkable standards that set the brass apart from all other sections of the orchestra. No need at all for a broader vision for a gifted young trombonist.

    • Tim Dowling says:

      I think the fact that he has already performed the Turnage concerto speaks a lot in his favour. And yes I although thoroughly agree that our regular trombone repertoire is not the most inspiring (alltough a the 16th century does provide a small treasure trove of challenging baroque trombone gems) the last twenty years has seen an exponential growth in the breadth and quality of our repertoire. I quite understand your cynicism towards contemporary brass “culture”, but I do believe Peter Moore deserves the benefit of your doubt, William, and perhaps even your grudging congratulations.

    • m2n2k says:

      But that is exactly the point, WO. Most likely, he will learn the ropes and develop as a musician much better while playing in a world-class orchestra than he would by mastering relatively underwhelming solo trombone repertoire which I am sure he has done already. Your comments about college education being so indispensable may be true for average youngsters, but an 18-year-old who plays on a level that enabled him to win an audition for such a prestigious position is obviously much better than that. Young people who are so hugely talented are often highly gifted in more than one field and are usually extremely fast learners. For such individuals, staying in school instead of working in a principal position with a world-class orchestra would be for the most part simply a waste of time.

  • Jane MacDonald says:

    I am thrilled for this young man!! As the parent of a 22 year old music major, I know what a thrill this must be. If it was MY son that earned the position with the LSO at such a young age, I would be overwhelmed with joy, as I know he would feel he had fulfilled his life’s dream. Shame on anyone who puts a negative spin on this outstanding achievement.

  • dj kennedy says:

    what an opportunity for both player and organization–brett baker –dennis wick
    ian bousefield -marvellous musicians —– in the usa –many many trombone students could only dream of such an experience
    the jazz programs of england are fruitful as well — mark nightengale
    orchestras in the us are in financial difficulties –broadway shows are eliminating
    live musicians –schools cutting programs -the military bands are being cut
    this young man serves as shining example of what talent is –when given the chance
    and it is also of much excellence that the lso would and could put it to use
    most of his age if the have jobs at all are flipping burgers hoping to get factory jobs or are adrift in life blowing in the changing winds without goals direction
    even with its ”gruelling ”schedule the orchestra life pales in contrast to mind numbing bangladesh shirt button girls working conditions
    of course the glorification of youthful music stars has a very slight factor

  • harold braun says:

    Mr.Osborne tragically continues to blame great artists and institutions of art for the cut short career of his wife(and may be his own).Why not accept the simple truth that some make the cut,and some don´t instead of conjuring up conspiracy theories and foulmouthing others….

  • Michael Schaffer says:

    …and traveling around the world, working with some of the best conductors and soloists – and getting paid for it at the same time. What a terrible fate indeed!

    And none of that has anything to do with him not being able to develop anymore, and in maybe unusual directions, if that’s where he wants to go. I know plenty of musicians have joined top orchestras at a young age and still continued developing and exploring new musical horizons at the same time. It’s all up to the character and goals of the individual. Playing in a symphony orchestra can be a grind, it can be tedious routine, but it doesn’t have to be, and people who have the right character for and attitude towards the job and what it takes to do it well do not get “damaged” by it. Many enjoy it, and the opportunity to work with other high quality musicians every day. And every job has its ups and downs, and it’s a question of how well the individual handles those challenges. If she or he doesn’t handle them well, that’s maybe because she or he is not that well suited for the profession. “Just” being an excellent instrumentalist is only part of the qualification.

  • william osborne says:

    A troubling commentary on Guildhall and the RCM. As you know, I have wide experience with orchestra musicians and especially orchestral brass players. Outside of some very narrow skills, I wouldn’t think of them as offering much of an education to gifted young players. In fact, an inordinate number are abysmally crude. I hate to say it, but it’s true. There are some exceptions, some are quite cultured, but they are unfortunately rare.

    I knew two trombonists in Munich, both who began their orchestral careers in their teens — one in the Munich Phil, and one in the Staatsoper. It was troubling to see how they lacked to develop as artists — how shallow and narrow they remained. It seems that it’s not just what your learn in college, but that you establish a mindset of growing and learning that remains with you for the rest of your life.

    Still, I agree that music schools are failing in this task — especially the conservatories where the technical focus has become too narrow. People like Yo-Yo Ma and Bernstein come out of Harvard, not Julliard. We need gifted young brass players who will expand the world for what brass instruments can be. I don’t his LSO colleagues will lead him in that direction for the very reason that their own artistic souls are crushed by orchestral work as well. A minority view, I know.

    • m2n2k says:

      A “minority view” – and in this case, it may be in the minority for a good reason. Knowing two who did not fare well does not mean that the third one will not either. His road might be difficult but it certainly isn’t impossible.

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        The Swiss trombonist Dany Bonvin became principal of the Münchner Philharmoniker at the age of 17, and he is still there today. He has also appeared as soloist with many orchestras, plays in a number of chamber ensembles and also teaches at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. A very good career for an orchestral trombonist.
        I am sure if he knew that William Osborne thinks of him as “shallow and narrow” he would be devastated…or not. LOL

  • Trombonedadio says:

    Mr. Osborne, I am taken aback by your acidic comments! Obviously you have a serious chip on your shoulder – no doubt related to your wife’s experience in the business. Believe it or not, there are many people in the world who gain much enjoyment and growth as members of an orchestra. Who are you to judge what is good for this talented young man who has found himself in the principal trombone chair of the LSO?
    Are you jealous!?