Biography

 

 

Ralph Vaughn-Williams and Philip Catelinet
Ralph Vaughn-Williams and Philip Catelinet rehearsing the Tuba Concerto

 

Philip Bramwell Catelinet was born on December 3, 1910 to Philip Arthur and Mabel Alice (nee Bowen) Catelinet.  Educated at Gregg Business College, he received music scholarships to Trinity College of Music in London and The Tobias Matthay Pianoforte School, also in London.  He received diplomas from the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College of Music, and the Incorporated London Academy of Music.  Trained as a pianist, he became an arranger for the Salvation Army and composed or arranged over 100 vocal and instrumental pieces just for the Army.  He taught himself to play the tuba and euphonium.  His abilities on these instruments earned him a position with the BBC Military Band from 1937 to 1942, a job which was interrupted by service in the British Army from 1942 to 1946.  Stationed in North Africa and the Middle East during World War II, Phil was a medic and played piano for the entertainment of his fellow troops.

Upon his return from the army, Phil learned that the BBC Military Band had been disbanded during the war.  He sought a position as an accompanist but there were no openings at the BBC.  Instead, the BBC arranged for him to audition as a tubist for several prominent British conductors, including Sir Adrian Boult.  As a result he became the principal tubist for the BBC Theatre Orchestra and performed with the London Symphony and Philharmonia Orchestras as well.

In 1954 composer Ralph Vaughan Williams asked Phil and the London Symphony Orchestra to premiere his new tuba concerto at the orchestra’s Jubilee Concert.  Phil met with the composer at his residence and played through the work and consulted him during the preparations and rehearsals.  The work’s world premiere came at the Royal Festival Hall on June 13, 1954 with Sir John Barbirolli conducting and Vaughan Williams in attendance.  Unsure of the audience’s reaction to the new piece, Phil asked his wife Rosalind not to attend the concert.  In an article for The TUBA Journal, Phil wrote of the “belittling image invariably linked to both the tuba and tubists” and  “…I did not know how the public would react. If I had to suffer, I would rather suffer alone.”  The music and Phil’s performance were both well received, and the orchestra and soloist held a recording session the following day.  This recording is available from EMI Records.

In 1956 Phil and his family left England and moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where he took a position as assistant professor of music at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University).  Phil also served as conductor of the Brass Choir, director of the Kiltie Symphony Band, conductor of the Honors Band, Chairman of the Music Extension Department, and founded and performed with the Pittsburgh Brass Quintet.  He created and organized the annual Carnegie Awards Festival for individual musicians, bands, and choruses. He also performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as an extra and as an accompanist for student soloists in the music department.

Throughout his life, Phil was an active member of the Salvation Army, both in England and in the United States.  In addition to his work as a composer and arranger for the Army, he served as conductor of the Pittsburgh Temple Band and as organist.  He also worked as a guest conductor, clinician and soloist (both piano and tuba) for the Salvation Army throughout North America and spent time working with Salvation Army youth.

Following his retirement in 1976, Phil and Rosalind returned to their native England.  Phil remained active as a composer, arranger, adjudicator and writer in his later years.  He died on November 21, 1995.