Death of Rod Franks

The death has been announced of Rod Franks — trumpet player with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Rod Franks

The death has been announced of Rod Franks, the former co-principal trumpet player of the London Symphony Orchestra.


The news was released in a statement today:

‘It is with much sadness that the London Symphony Orchestra announces that LSO trumpeter Rod Franks died last night after a car accident.

Rod had been enjoying a day at the Open Golf Championship and was being driven back home when their car was involved in a serious accident on the motorway in Nottinghamshire. The driver, a friend of the family, survived.'


The statement added: 'Rod had excelled in the role of Principal Trumpet at the LSO for 25 years and had recently requested to retire from the seat and occupy the No 3 Trumpet chair.

Rod had been beset by health issues over ten years but would never allow them to compromise his professionalism, often bravely appearing the morning after an episode the night before.

This is a very sad day for the LSO and Rod will be missed hugely for his ever welcoming friendliness and brilliant playing.’

Brass band background

Rod Franks was born in Yorkshire and began playing the cornet at the age of six. He went on to play for Hammonds Sauce Works, Brighouse & Rastrick and Black Dyke, playing with them on their 1975 National Championship winning success under Major Peter Parkes.

He studied trumpet with Philip Jones, Maurice Murphy and John Dickenson at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and in 1977, aged just 21, he was appointed Principal Trumpet of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.

Norwegian championships

During his seven years in Norway he became a leading figure in the development of the fledgling brass band movement and the creation of its National Championship at Bergen’s Grieg Hall in 1979.

His passion and involvement saw him conduct Kleppe Musikklag to the Second Division National title in 1981, and he remained a popular and much respected figure before returning to the UK to become Principal Trumpet of the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

In 1988 he joined the trumpet section of the London Symphony Orchestra, becoming co-principal alongside his great mentor and friend, Maurice Murphy in 19904BR


In 1988 he joined the trumpet section of the London Symphony Orchestra, becoming co-principal alongside his great mentor and friend, Maurice Murphy in 1990.

Despite serious ill health in the last ten years he remained a highly respected and very active performer, soloist and conductor.

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