Robert Vanryne

Robert Vanryne

I began playing the trumpet by accident.

My older brother was starting at a new school and my parents thought that it would be an ideal opportunity for him to start learning a musical instrument. His school brass band needed more cornet players, so he was shown the basics and given an instrument to take home and practise. I was nearly 9 years old at the time and I was completely fascinated. Eager to encourage my brother to learn without the interference of his competitive younger brother, my parents expressly forbade me from touching the instrument without their permission. I then had to play it in secret whilst everyone was out.

One day, our neighbours remarked that my brother was getting rather good at the cornet. My parents quickly realised that someone else must have been playing the instrument as they were doing so whilst my brother was still supposed to be in school. After confronting me and getting me to admit that it had been me playing the cornet all along, my Father bought me my own instrument - it cost £8 and I still have it. 

I still remember the first time I heard the trumpet being played in Baroque music. During a school music lesson our teacher, Miss Salmon, played us a recording of the Gavotte from Bach’s Third Orchestral Suite and from that moment on I was hooked.

There were very few natural trumpets in England back then. Museums very sensibly refused to let me near any of them, so my Father suggested we made one. After many failures, we made one together. I’ve been playing my own instruments ever since.

I still get an enormous thrill out of playing the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. No other composer ever showed such a deep understanding of the instrument nor did they write for it such challenging repertoire. It leaves us trumpet players with a feeling of great responsibility.

Watch these interviews with Robert Vanryne on All of Bach: