Salient: An organ of student opinion at Victoria University, Wellington. Vol. 23, No. 4. Wednesday, May 4, 1960
Young Naval Pianist
Young Naval Pianist
My musical training has been a rather mixed up affair. The first time I really look an interest in music was when I was one of a party of school children which attended a concert given by the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, at the Town Hall, Birmingham. A pianist by the name of Tom Bromley played Greig's Piano Concerto. Hearing this work for the first time at the tender age of twelve 1 was tremendously influenced.
From then on I did nothing but annoy my parents, the music teacher at school and my headmaster. I wanted to learn the piano My mind was made up. Everyone was very sceptical as previously I had been just as en thusiastic about becoming in turn, a policeman. a B.B.C. announcer, a magician, an artist, a mayor, and a shepherd.
Royal Marine School Of Music
However I persisted with this obsession and, to cut a long story short, I was duly deposited in the Royal Marine School or Music at the age of 14 where it was decreed that I should learn the piano —because I insisted upon this, and the flute—because my teeth were the right shape.
After spending a difficult three years learning how to march in step, the exhilerating and inspiring history of the Royal Marines, coupled with daily frenzied gyrations in the gymnasium and mastering the intricacies of boot polishing I managed to gain my A.R.C.M. diplomas for piano performing and teaching. In the same year I also won the Cassell prize silver medal (which I have since pawned.)
Drafted To Singapore
At the age of 18 I was appointed solo pianist to the Staff orchestra of the Royal Marines and worked under Col. F. Vivian Dunn, C.V.O. F.R.A.M., R.M., performing for Government and State functions and wading through the concerto repertoire at fortnightly concerts. After 18 months of this I was drafted to the Commander in Chief's band at Singapore and spent a most interesting 18 months. Did many broadcasts, great experience — accompanied child prodigy violinist on tour of Malaya, great experience—played Beethoven and Chopin to Chinese school children, great. experience-Band, wangled an L.R.A.M. dip-"Oklahoma" to the Commander in Chief Fast East—!
It was here that I met Julius Katchen with whom I spent an inspiring 10 days. To digress slightly, and to insert a mild "plug"; Quote: "Patrick Flynn is a young man with brilliant natural resources and exceptional qualities. His intellectual grasp of musical problems is quite remarkable. I firmly believe that he has all the ingredients requisite for the development of a highly successful career." (By the way. Mr Katchen does not drink.)
On returning to England on a Bristol (luxury class) freighter I started working in earnest with Cyril Smith and Phyllis Sellick, did occasional concerts with semi-professional orhestras in the south of England, spent six weeks in Canada broadcasting and concertising with the Royal Marine Staff Band, wangled an L.R.A.M. diploma for conducting and taught myself the saxaphone.
Migration To New Zealand
My parents migrated to New Zealand and I followed them by transferring to the Royal New Zealand Navy. (They graciously accepted me.) So much for the printable autobiography. So far I have done very little musically in New Zealand—two concerts in Auckland and two In Wellington.