LSO principal quits to join the BBC

LSO principal quits to join the BBC


norman lebrecht

June 24, 2020

Philip Cobb, who became Joint-Principal Trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra in 2009 at just 21, has quit to join the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

He says: ‘I’m delighted to have been appointed to the BBC SO. I can’t wait to get back to making music with the members of the orchestra and begin preparations for a wide range of future performances and projects.’

The BBC offers a monthly salary. LSO players are self-employed and extremely anxious in Covid shutdown.



  • papasmurf says:

    monthly salary is not to be sniffed at in any circumstances

    • Dave says:

      Salary great, playing for 15 persons and a dog at many of the shabbily under-promoted BBCSO gigs, not so great. And given the BBC’s perilous current situation, for how much longer will there be a BBCSO?

  • Alexander Hall says:

    What should be worrying the LSO, its management and its Music Director is the number of star players it has lost in the last few years (David Pyatt to the LSO and then the ROH, Tim Hugh to the ROH, and now Philip Cobb to the BBCSO) and its failure to appoint a new Principal Double Bass and a replacement for Gordan Nicolic as Leader. This is not what you expect to happen in one of the world’s leading orchestras.

    • AngloGerman says:

      Given the pay (and quality) at the ROH outranks the others this is perhaps not a surprise.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      They’re not one of the world’s leading orchestras. Now.

      • Primo Clarinet says:

        Couldn’t agree more Sue. Lesser known orchestra’s such as Frankfurt can easily outshine the LSO.

    • Axl says:

      I’m guess you meen David Pyatt to LPO – not LSO? And actually not only one principal bass but TWO principal basses!! Both positions (Ibragimov’s and Quarrington’s) are still vacant. And in Mr. Cobb’s case it would be taken propably over 5 years to find good successor – and because his post is actually legendary Maurice Murphy’s old chair

    • Sally says:

      Err don’t they need a new principal viola too? Lots of foreign interest until they discover the self-employed income won’t cover the mortgage on one bedroom flat…..

  • MacroV says:

    I’ve never understood the business model of the London orchestras; self-governing is great, but how do they function just doing one performance of any program (though I guess they repeat many on tour so amortize the preparation costs that way)? Nonetheless, the LSO has a high prestige factor and no player, no matter how fine, is irreplaceable. So I’m sure they’ll land a capable replacement.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    And that is, ladies an gentlemen, what makes playing as part of the Wiener Philharmoniker so great: a decent salary and insurance from the Wiener Staatsoper, and Philharmoniker on the side.

  • Stephen Birkin says:

    It’s disappointing when a star player leaves the LSO. Yes, no player is irreplaceable, but it takes ages to find replacements – auditions (impossible at present), trial periods both at home and abroad, followed by appointment. So don’t expect a replacement in any position any time soon. I agree that a salary and the feeling of security that comes with it must be a big draw. The LSO often has guests from other orchestras so we might see Philip Cobb back from time to time, contract permitting of course.

  • CA says:

    Until the BBC again threatens to defund its orchestras….this time they might succeed. Unfortunately.

  • Primo Clarinet says:

    One of many musicians that have gone elsewhere. Of particular note are the two ex Principal clarinettist. Nick Rodwell to the ROH and Tim Lines, at the time to CBSO. Michael Cox, Principal Flute to BBCSO. All fantastic players. Though I’m not surprised, they would no longer have needed to play in a section with one, recently retired clarinettist, whose playing falls seriously short of the standards expected of a top rate Principal wind player these days and by all accounts was a rather nasty bully…

  • We can thank Reagan’s and Thatchers concepts of privatization and small government on the decline of the LSO.

  • NYMike says:

    In a NYC concert some years ago, Yuja Wang insisted on bringing Cobb over to play the trumpet part.

  • Axl says:

    Oh f*** nooo!!!… I’m guessing it would be take a veeery long time to find worthy successor – because brass instruments and Maurice Murphy’s old chair.
    There is something in trumpet scene because e.g. Deutsches Sinfonieorchester is looking other principal, same as in Bayerischen Rundfunk and last but not least – Berlin Phil has BOTH principal chairs vacant!!… So we are living interesting times…

    • Greg says:

      Thankfully there is no shortage of amazing trumpet players on the scene today. I suspect all these positions will be filled by wonderful players in due course once things get back to normal.

    • Max Grimm says:

      “Berlin Phil has BOTH principal chairs vacant!!”

      The Berliner Philharmoniker only have one Principal Trumpet vacancy (the position which was last held by Gabor Tarkövi).
      The other Principal Trumpet position is held by Guillaume Jehl, who won it 2 years ago when Tamás Velenczei stepped down to 2nd Trumpet.