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Our boys at the Proms

THAT very British institution the BBC Promenade Concert season is upon us and Newbury is well represented, by a bow maker, conductor and trumpeter.
Philip Brown, an English bow maker whose violin workshop is in Northbrook Street, has created the violin bows for the recreation of the Louis XIV Palace orchestra.
“Les vingt Quartre Violons du roi” (as they were known) were in effect the first orchestra in the world. The Versailles band were unusual in the makeup of; 6 Bass violins, 12 violas and six small violins. The sound and the concept is quite different from anything we know today.
The Royal College of Music commissioned Philip Brown to make the full 24 bows for the project, which he and his team did entirely by hand from their Newbury workshop over the last few months.
The orchestra will perform in the Prom on Saturday, under the direction of renowned conductor Sir Roger Norrington, from Newbury.
The bows are made of ebony, cacique (bloodwood) and snakewood and are based on historic bows and iconography.
The Centre for Baroque Music Versailles commissioned the instruments and the first full concerts took place in the Versailles palace a few weeks ago.
For more information contact Philip Brown (01635) 35465, 07779 581640, or email

You may have seen the BBC’s One Show preview the Proms a couple of weeks ago, when the superb National Youth Jazz Orchestra played the show out.
The set featured 18-year-old trumpeter James Copus from Lilley, near Brightwalton, who is to study at the Royal Academy of Music in September. He will be playing with the NYJO again at the Royal Albert Hall in Prom 38, on August 10, and it will be televised on August 17. They will be performing a late night set of big band foot-tapping, tributes to Thelonious Monk and the Queen plus a new, flamenco-inspired piece from Tim Garland.
Tickets are priced from £12 to £16. Promming on the day for £5. Visit

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