Man retires after 34 years of Les Miserables

Richard Morrison in the Times today reports the retirement of Tim Hawes, 65.

Tim Hawes has played first trumpet in the West End show Les Miserable from its opening night – October 8, 1985 – to last weekend.

He would moonlight occasionally in countryhouse opera, playing a natural trumpet in a period band.



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  • Tim was my trumpet teacher many moons ago at Junior Royal Academy of Music – a nicer gentleman you couldn’t hope to meet. Godspeed for your retirement, Tim!

  • Gosh, what a dull factory job! Imagine playing Les Mis for all this time as your major creative musical output…..
    How sad.

    • But look at the other side of it? Not having to attend auditions… not having to attend rehearsals… knowing in advance what your diary looks like… being able to plan a family holiday… being able to get a mortgage…. enjoying an honourable pension….

      … lots of freelancers on the gigging circuit would be envious once they hit 30 and tire of new works with junior maestros…

    • Don’t know about London Union rules, but in NYC, you can take something like 49% of the Broadway show’s performances off and do other things as long as there is suitable substitute. Probably the only way you can stay fresh or keep from going nuts.

  • I remember reading about a musician — also a trumpet player, IIRC — who played the entire original run of “A Chorus Line” in New York. He got married, bought a house, raised children, and put them through college all while playing “A Chorus Line.”

    • If you’ll pardon the old orchestral anecdote on a rainy Saturday night…

      … the old Double-Bass player had played in the pit for as long as anyone could remember. One day the Orchestra Manager came up to him in a break, and said ‘Look, Stan, you have to take a holiday. You didn’t take one at all last year, and it’s against the rules.” So they find a sub for him, and he takes the next week off.

      When he comes back, his fellow double-bassists ask how he spent his holiday. “Well, being single, and not having any other ideas… I bought a ticket to our own theatre, and went to see the show from out front. You’d never believe it! Up above us there’s a huge stage, and loads of singers and dancers in costume. And you know our big double-bass solo… BOM-bom, BOM-bom, BOM-bom-BOM-bom!?” Well, there’s a load of singers in sombreros up there, all singing along with it! To-re-a-dor, en gar-de!…. “

  • Smart guy – his steady Les Miz income probably helped finance his activities in country house opera and period instrument bands.

  • A fabulous player and true gentleman, with a wonderful freelance career outside the show too, encompassing the golden years of the Philharmonia, the BBC Concert Orchestra, many a period orchestra, an epic appearance in the Christmas episode of Mr Bean, and held the trumpet position at Garsington Opera for many years, to name but a few….and he’s not retired, he’s still playing! How dare you belittle a wonderful musician, who has probably entertained and helped to give happiness to more people than you could shake a stick at. Please check your facts…as always.

  • I remember him. His stand partner – Peter something or other – also moonlighted with Glyndebourne on tour, I think.

    • Pete Cameron. Another wonderful man who now lives in the South of France! And they both used to moonlight with the major London orchestras.

  • Tim, you and I have known and worked together for many years and you have served the profession with distinction in just about every branch of it. From Mozart, Les Mis, the RSC, films, jingles and Mr. Bean, and much more. Your artistry, skill, flexibilty to change styles on demand and your warm personality, have been a joy for me for much of my career and if you are retiring from the business, may I wish you all the very best. Bravo mon ami.
    I’m sure you won’t put your trumpet away permanently, none of us seasoned old pros ever do! 65 is nothing nowadays!!
    Have a pint for the good old days when the profession was a wonderful life. I will remember you with great respect and affection.
    All the very best my friend.

  • It takes a special talent to play a show for a long time and stay engaged and successful. Congrats on this achievement that made for a successful long term career in music.

    Add to the outside engagements with several top notch ensembles, this musician has had a career that many can envy.

    A life well lived!

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