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Arts: A final drum role for Ian.

Byline: Joe Riley

IN 1965, when Ringo had just polished off the drum track for Ticket To Ride, a 21-year-old Scotsman arrived in Liverpool to back another Liverpool band - with an 80-strong line-up.

Ian Wright was appointed timpanist of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

It's a not to be missed position, on the highest platform, centre stage, and capable of creating a thunderous sound.

And so it was when Ian bowed out last night in a concert concluded by Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

His official retirement, after thousands of gigs, dozens of foreign tours, and literally hundreds of recordings and broadcasts - including appearances at the Royal Albert Hall Proms - has covered the reign of seven Phil conductors, from Sir Charles Groves to the present incumbent, the 30-year old Russian, Vasily Petrenko.

And it was Groves and Libor Pesek - still conductor laureate -who Ian picked out for special mention when I spoke to him.

"No one did quite the breadth of repertoire of Charlie, including the first British cycle of Mahler symphonies.

"I will always be grateful to him, not just because he hired me, but because of his contribution to music in general, which I think has been underestimated, especially since his death.

"Then there was Libor, universally popular, who gave the orchestra a great 10 years and still returns as a guest conductor."

Ian says he has enjoyed the four decades of music-making.

"I have had a wonderful time The timpani feature in just about everything."

A native of Aberdeen, Ian plans to stay in Mersey side, and to continue his teaching work at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and as a coach to the National Youth Orchestra.

"I still hope to be doing the odd thing through to 2008," he says.

"But now there will also be more time to spend on my main pastimes, walking and cycling."


ROLL ON: Ian Wright
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2007
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