Meet the Sinfonia – Principal Trumpet

Meet Mike Allen, Principal Trumpet player with our orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

How old were you when you first started playing?
When I was 7 years old I found my dad’s trumpet in the loft and used to sit in front of the TV, honking along to whatever music was playing on the BBC2 test card

What did you want to be when you were a child, or did you always want to be a musician?
I guess I always wanted to be some sort of sports person… a tennis player during Wimbledon, a sprinter during the Olympics and a footballer for the rest of the year.

How long have you been in the Royal Ballet Sinfonia?
I’ve been a member for 14 years, but worked regularly with the orchestra for 10 years before that.

What’s your favourite ballet music?
Hard one that. I love the Prokofiev ballets, especially Cinderella as it has the most scrummy trumpet tune at the end. But my Desert Island ballet piece would have to be Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloë.

What is your favourite pop song?
I was never into pop music as a kid, but used to listen to big band music all the time, especially trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. However, when I was 30, a colleague of mine got me hooked on the music of rock guitarist Joe Satriani and I have that on in the car most of the time.

What instrument would you choose other than your own?
Electric guitar. I have already mastered the ‘air’ guitar!

Favourite pit, and favourite concert hall?
The Coliseum in London is the best pit for brass and I think the Symphony Hall in Birmingham is a fantastic concert hall.

What’s your favourite touring meal?
When we’re in Birmingham, we’re spoiled with a choice of loads of Chinese restaurants right outside The Hippodrome. But in Plymouth, there’s Captain Jasper’s Burger Bar.

How do you relax away from music?
Holidays in Florida! We’ve been going as a family for more than 15 years and I love it :-)