Scots mourn principal percussion

Scots mourn principal percussion


norman lebrecht

November 23, 2021

The influential Pam Dow, principal percussionist in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for 32 years and a lifelong educator whose students included Colin Currie, died at the weekend after a short illness.

She was one of the first women to hold a percussion post in the UK.





  • ANON says:

    It was a percussion post she held, not timpani. She joined the SNO as second percussion before being promoted to principal percussion.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    I wonder what nonsense Her Majesty is saying in this photo. In the recent Humphrey Burton autobiog, he says how the Queen greeted Bernstein backstage at the London Barbican, asking “Do you do this sort of thing often ?”, and even the sharp-witted Lenny was stumped for a reply for a second.

    Her Maj should just stick to going to the races rather than pretending to like classical music

  • ANON says:

    Thanks for editing your post to correct the position Pam held in the RSNO. It is always right and proper to ensure an obituary, tribute or death notice is correct. Pam was undeniably a trailblazer and her achievements in the percussion field are to be admired. In Scotland Pam was joined by Heather Corbett as Principal Percussion in the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (a position she still holds after many years of loyal service) and Caroline Garden was for many years Principal Timpanist in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Her post is now held by Louise Goodwin.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    I remember her from concerts back when she first joined, and what I remember is her on the timps. So maybe my memory is getting a bit muddled. But whatever, it was inspiring to see a woman in that role. And if my memory is accurate, I think the leader of the trumpet section was also a woman.

  • Douglas says:

    The name of Pamela Dow calls up a number of great memories of performances in the City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow as a schoolboy in the 1970s (I feel sure she was one of the timpanists the first time I heard Nielsen 4 ) and as a student in the early 1980s hearing her play the cymbals in the Karelia Suite in the Henry Wood Hall. Even to this day, hearing the Alla Marcia, I sometimes say “Why can’t the percussionist clash them as Pamela did?” She always looked very serious indeed.