Two brothers played 75 years in British orchestras

Two brothers played 75 years in British orchestras


norman lebrecht

July 24, 2019

Gareth Bimson has retired after 36 years as principal trumpet in the  BBC Symphony Orchestra.


His older brother John played 39 years as principal horn BBC Northern S.O  1967 -72; 3rd and first horn London Symphony Orchestra  1972 -76; co principal and principal, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 1976 -2006.

Was there ever a longer serving pair of brass brothers?



  • Mick the Knife says:

    Congratulations to both for serving so long in demanding positions.

  • Edgar Self says:

    An extraordinary record by Gareth and John Bimson. Aside from four generations of the Brain horn players, the three Berv brothers come to mind: Arthur, Jack, and Harry all were in Toscanini’s NBC Symphony horn section from their second season and remained until Maestro’s retirement and into its successor Symphony of the Air. Theirs likely is another record.

    Their elder brother Henry, the black sheep of the family, was scandalously a violinist. ArthurBerv, NBC principal horn, was credited on RCA’s 78-rpm Red Seal label as soloist in Toscanini’s recording of “Abscheulicher, wo eilst du hin?” from “Fidelio” with soparno Rose Bampton.

    the Berv family with a far longer version of their Ellis Island surname came from Belarus by way of Warsaw to New Jersey. I saw them play in concert on Toscanini’s 1950 transcontinental railway tour, and Rose Bampton in a separate recital. Her record of “Abscheulicher” stood until Elisabeth Schwarzkopf’s with Karajan and the Philharmonia.

    • Kenneth Berv says:

      Thanks for your comments. As son of Jack and nephew of the other brothers, I would love to communicate with you. Perhaps you could look me up on Facebook, or phone in New Canaan, Connecticut

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Is he the trumpeter who is seen arguing with Bernstein during the BBC SO Enigma Variations rehearsal ?

  • John Bower says:

    Hello. Could you please tell me whether John Bimson is still around. My wife Boony and I knew him well for a few years in the 1980s and would like to be in contact again.