Key London Symphony Musician Killed in Car Crash

Monday, July 21, 2014 - 12:02 PM

Rod Franks, the late principal trumpet of the London Symphony Rod Franks, the late principal trumpet of the London Symphony (LSO)

Roderick Franks, a trumpeter who anchored the London Symphony Orchestra's brass section for the past 25 years, died on Sunday after a car accident in Nottinghamshire, England. He was 57 years old.

According to the LSO, Franks was returning home from a golf championship in Liverpool when the car in which he was a passenger was involved in a two-vehicle crash on a highway. Two others were killed; the driver, a friend of the family, survived.

The LSO said in a statement that Franks was a well-liked member of the orchestra and had recently requested to move from principal trumpet to third chair after celebrating his 25th anniversary season.

"Rod had been beset by health issues for over ten years but would never allow them to compromise his supreme professionalism," the statement read. "Hugely respected and immensely popular with members of the Orchestra, conductors and audience alike, Rod will be missed for his ever-welcoming friendliness and brilliant playing."

Franks began his career as principal trumpet of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway before returning to his native England to join the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble as Principal Trumpet in 1984. He was a founding member of the English Brass Ensemble and London Brass. He joined the LSO in 1988 and became its co-principal trumpet in 1990, a period when the orchestra's brass section was widely acclaimed for its sleek and versatile sound.

Franks can be heard about :40 into this performance of Mahler's Sixth Symphony (YouTube):


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Comments [2]

concetta nardone from Nassau

QXR did not report the death of Carlo Bergonzi. Why not.

Jul. 27 2014 08:57 AM
Peter J Blume from Westchester, NY

It's a shame that often times you only learn about someone's life & their life's work--when you are made aware of their passing. Such is the case for me about Roderick Franks. Thank you WQXR for bringing this (all-be-it sad) bit of news. As I look through my many recordings, especially of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble & the London Brass, I find that his name is everywhere. I guess I 'knew' him, without even realizing it.

Condolences to his family & friends, & may he just be at an even much better gig now.

Jul. 22 2014 10:07 AM

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