Dennis Brain

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Dennis Brain (17 May 1921 – 1 September 1957) was a British virtuoso horn player and was largely credited for popularizing the horn as a solo classical instrument with the post-war British public. With the collaboration of Herbert von Karajan and the Philharmonia Orchestra, he produced what many still consider to be the definitive recordings of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's horn concerti.


Family tradition

Dennis Brain was born in London to a family already well-known for producing fine horn players.

His grandfather, Alfred Edwin Brain Sr. (4 February 1860 – 25 October 1925), was considered one of the top horn soloists of his time.

His uncle, Alfred Edwin Brain Jr. (24 October 1885 – 29 March 1966), had a successful career playing horn in the United States with the New York Symphony Society and later as a soloist in Hollywood.

His father, Aubrey Brain (12 July 1893 – 21 September 1955), held the principal horn position in the BBC Symphony Orchestra and was also a teacher. Aubrey Brain produced the first Mozart horn concerto recording in 1927.

His mother, Marion Brain, was a composer and wrote cadenzas to the first and third Mozart horn concerti which her husband then performed.

His brother, Leonard Brain, (1915–1975), was an oboist and performed with Dennis in a wind quintet that Dennis formed. Tina Brain, one of Leonard's children (Dennis' niece), also became a professional horn player.

Brain married Yvonne Brain and had two children: Anthony Paul Brain and Sally Brain. Sally Brain's child Thomas Prower, Dennis Brain's grandson, is an excellent flautist and pianist.

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