Arthur Bevan (1927-2011).
Arthur Bevan has always been greatly respected as a horn player and for his unflappable professionalism. He has been described as "kindly, gentle, and good humored."
Bevan was born in 1927 in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and attended the Kingswood School in Bath, where the house master, Dr. John Wray, encouraged the boys to listen to Sunday afternoon wartime concerts on the radio. "He probably doesn't realize his influence on me to this day," said Bevan. Bevan started horn because of a spare instrument being available at the school. The headmaster tried to discourage him from being a musician, but then advised him, "If you must, then get a good teacher."
Bevan studied while on school holidays in Bramhall with Otto Paersh, an influential teacher and son of Franz Paersch, who had been brought to Manchester in 1888 as principal horn of the Halle Orchestra. Bevan continued with Paersh at Royal Manchester College on scholarship in 1950 after two years of National Service in the band of the South Staffordshire Regiment.
Bevan and his father were at the Hanley train station (not far from their home in Stoke) waiting for the train after a concert when his father introduced him to Sir John Barbirolli.
Bevan's first professional engagement was as second horn in the Buxton Spa Orchestra. In 1949, while still a student, he received a telegram from the Halle manager to help out for a Saturday night concert. He auditioned for Barbirolli two days later and retired from the orchestra forty years later, in 1989. He played third horn and first when required. He was named assistant first in 1969.
Barbirolli told a new, young horn player, Enid Roper, "You'll be sitting next to Arthur Bevan; I think you'll get on." They got on well enough to be married for many years, until her death in 1990, after which Bevan moved to Wales.
During his career, Bevan also played with the City of Birmingham Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and the BBC Northern Symphony orchestra. Asked about the best horn player he has ever heard, he named Dennis Brain. "He has such beautiful technique and phrasing, absolutely natural," said Bevan.
Stephen Stirling, who played the Halle from 1979-1982, says, "I loved Arthur and treasure memories of him in boring rehearsals, awaking from apparent deep sleep, to tell me, without fail, the exact bar that we were in. He had a kind word for everyone and was a model of professionalism."
Bevan was honored with the Punto Award at the IHS workshop in Manchester, England in 1992. A profile appears in the October 1992 issue of The Horn Call and other articles appear in the Halle Magazine in April 1984 and May 1989. An obituary appears in The Horn Player, Spring 2012.