Jack Brymer

From Academic Kids

Jack Brymer (27 January, 1915 - 15 September, 2003), born in South Shields, was a British clarinetist. He shared his birthday with one of his favourite composers, Mozart, and followed Reginald Kell as principal clarinetist of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra from 1947 to 1963. He was invited to this post by Sir Thomas Beecham, with some encouragement from one of his friends, the horn player Dennis Brain. Prior to this he had been a schoolmaster.

When he left the RPO, he spent periods as principal in the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1963-1972) and the London Symphony Orchestra (1972-1986).

Brymer made a number of commercial recordings, including several of Mozart's clarinet concerto. He was also responsible for recordings of wind music, including the complete set of Mozart's music for wind bands. He also made some recordings on other instruments, such as the saxophone.

He played many concertos and solo pieces with orchestra, including the concertos by Weber and Gerald Finzi (which he never recorded commercially), and also chamber music including the quintets by Mozart and Brahms, though he did not make recordings of all his repertoire. Some recordings may exist of broadcast performances which were not issued on commercial labels. He also played in many different ensembles, and recorded music by Graham Fitkin with the John Harle Band, as well as on the Beatles track A Day in the Life.

A significant feature of his style of playing was his use of vibrato, and he is considered to be one of the first woodwind players to use this systematically.

Brymer taught music worldwide and was a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Military School of Music. He received his OBE in 1960.

Alan Paul and Guy Woolfenden both wrote concertos for him, and Armstrong Gibbs wrote a clarinet quintet.

He wrote several books, including From where I sit (1979), and In the orchestra, (1987). He was also well known for a long while as a presenter of radio programmes.

He was president of the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain.


  • Brahms, Clarinet Quintet
  • Coates, Saxo Rhapsody
  • Debussy, Première Rhapsody, L. 116
  • Mozart, Clarinet Concerto (with Beecham, Colin Davis, Neville Marriner)
  • Mozart, Clarinet Quintet (with the Allegri Quartet)
  • Mozart, Kegelstatt Trio
  • Mozart, Complete Wind Music (music for wind bands), with the London Wind Soloists
  • Weber, E flat concertino, Op. 26
  • Weber, Concerto in E minor, Op. 86

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