Death of UK principal trumpet, 57

Death of UK principal trumpet, 57


norman lebrecht

April 04, 2020

Ian Balmain, principal trumpet of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and later of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, has died at the age of 57.

He leaves a young family and many friends across the music world.


  • Jonathan Carney says:

    What sad news. Ian was also principal trumpet with the RPO during a glorious period with Daniele Gatti.
    He was indeed a superb player and will missed by many.

    • YB Schragadove says:

      So sorry to hear about Ian Balmain’s passing, and my condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. In reading Mr. Carney’s comment, I was suddenly shocked to remember the most moving and transformative musical experience of my life – hearing Gatti, the RPO, and principal trumpet Ian Barmain perform Mahler 5 in Boston’s Symphony Hall. The Adagietto took me to a place beyond…hard to put into words…Mr. Balmain’s performance throughout was the most gloriously perfect and beautiful trumpet playing I had ever heard. There was a huge crescendo in the standing ovations at the end when Maestro Gatti motioned for Mr. Balmain to rise.

  • Dave says:

    Terrible news. Such a big heart and a even bigger player.

  • Gareth says:

    Hard to believe Ian has left us. He was hugely admired throughout our profession for his beautiful trumpet playing and musicianship. He was a joy to work with and will be missed by all his friends and colleagues.

  • Anon says:

    He was too young. No word on the cause of death?

  • Tedlee says:

    Terrific person and player, will be a huge miss

  • Kevin says:

    A beautiful and exciting musician with a massive heart. A massive loss, never to be forgotten.

  • Bruce says:

    How awful, whatever the reason. Condolences to his family and many friends.

  • S Hartsmith says:

    Poor, poor man. And let’s hope he didn’t catch Corvid19 (if that is what he died of) while travelling to one of the performances at ROH that shouldn’t have been happening..The govt didn’t shit things down, but the companies Gould have done it themselves..

  • David Gartrell says:

    Ian was in my class at school, Bromfield School in Wrexham. Even then I remember him a brilliant trumpeter. This very sad.
    May you rest in peace Ian.

  • Anon says:

    This is unbelievably sad- thinking of his family and friends. Wonderful player, and very nice man- will be missed

  • ANON says:

    Great fun, wonderful musician.Missed by all those lives Ian touched. RIP

  • Laurie says:

    This really shocked me when I heard I met Ian many times and heard him many times. Such a talented player and always took time to ask how I was sad Such a legend both as a player and a person one of the true greats like Maurice Murphy and Bud Herseth RIP Sir

  • Was at sixth form with Ian – a great musician and friend then went on to achieve great things So was…

  • Kas says:

    Such sad news
    Proud to have known him and I used to look after his kids when they were little
    Very nice man RIP

  • A humble dresser says:

    An absolute Gentleman. Always smiling, enjoyed many an interval in the Globe and after the shows.

  • Jan morgan says:

    Only just heard of Ian’s death
    A lovely man with a big heart he was always so kind to me. Nothing was too much trouble. I was once told by another musician he was a
    legend… when I told him this he laughed and said “ more like a “leg end” typical Ian.
    So so sad.