Memory of county’s Mr. Music will live on

The memory of Leicestershire's "Mr. Music" will linger on for many years to come, thanks to the generosity of a city businessman. Mr. Eric Pinkett OBE, who for 28 years was the county's principal music adviser, died earlier this year aged 68, but not before he had taken the Leicestershire Schools' Symphony Orchestra to international acclaim. Businessman Mr. Frank May commissioned artist Bryan Organ to paint a portrait to mark Mr. Pinkett's retirement just over two years ago. Mr. May dedicated the portrait to his father Mr. Sam May, an arts lover, who was also a well known electronics expert at Metalastik Ltd, Leicester where he treated unique electronic vibration analysing equipment under the chairmanship of Dr. Mac Goldsmith. Mr. May handed the portrait over to the Leicestershire arts collection in a ceremony at County Hall yesterday.

"I hope this will perpetuate Eric Pinkett's memory for many years to come", he said as he presented the portrait to chairman of the education arts committee, Mr. Nathan Harris. The portrait will hang for a year at County Hall before being shown at Leicestershire schools and Mr. Harris said: "We will be able to hang this picture knowing that it has been paid for. That is a splendid thing".


Former schools music chief dies at 68

The man who established Leicestershire schools' international music reputation has died aged 68. Mr. Eric Pinkett, OBE, nursed a lifelong love of music. Born in Nottinghamshire he went on to study violin at London's Royal Academy of Music and later taught music and games at Melton Mowbray Grammar School.

Two years later, in 1948, he became Leicestershire's first music adviser.

Working from the old County Office in Grey Friars, Mr. Pinkett immediately set about forming an orchestra. In the early days he snapped up instruments at bargain prices with his own money. He worked unstintingly to earn international acclaim for the Leicestershire Schools' Symphony Orchestra.

He lived at Bridge Street, Barrow-on Soar and leaves a wife, Winifred, two children and five grandchildren


The man who wanted every child to love music

Leading musical personalities have paid tribute to Mr. Eric Pinkett, the man who earned the title Leicestershire's Mr. Music, who died aged 68, as reported in the Leicester Mercury on Saturdav. Mr. Nathan Harris, chairman of Leicestershire County Council's education arts committee said of the man who built up the Leicestershire Schools Symphony Orchestra: "I came to realise that he was a man of tremendous stature who had almost entirely by his own achievement made Leicestershire the foremost education authority in the world of music." Mr. Pinkett’s passion and enthusiasm for music quickly brought the orchestra to a quality that encouraged such seasoned conductors as Malcolm Arnold, Sir Arthur Bliss and Sir Michael Tippett to direct the youngsters. Mr. Pinkett, who retired just over two years ago, once described his distinguished career as "progress by misadventure." Leicestershire's Director of Education, Mr. Andrew Fairbairn said: "Leicestershire owes its pre-eminence in musical education to his imagination in developing the County School of Music. "His idea was that every child should eventually come to love music as a result of playing. He gradually built up a stock of instruments and they came into schools in considerable numbers for the first time.

President of the Leicestershire Schools Orchestra Mr. Mac Goldsmith said: "He was an outstanding man who made the orchestra such a great success."

Mr. Pinkett received an Honorary Master of Arts degree at Loughborough University in July 1972. Four months later he was summoned to Buckingham Palace to receive the Order of the British Empire. Born in Nottinghamshire, Mr. Pinkett studied the violin at London's Royal Academy of Music and later taught music and games at Melton Mowbray Grammar School. He became Leicestershire's first music adviser in 1948 and immediately started to form the orchestra. A fine cricketer, accomplished artist and the author of a book about the County School of Music, he lived at Bridge Street, Barrow-on-Soar and leaves a wife, Winifred, two children and five grandchildren.


A musical bequest to be proud of

Watching the young members of the Leicestershire Schools' Symphony Orchestra in De Montfort Hall last night prompted the thought that few would have played under its founder Eric Pinkett, whose memory it celebrated.

But clearly the Organisation he bequeathed is still alive and kicking. Under guest conductor Norman Del Mar, they performed a taxing programme with their customary aplomb.

An exhilarating account of Mahler's first symphony was a "tour de force".

Great demands are made on the players, especially the brass with its eight horns, yet they emerged with flying colours. Particularly effective was the evocation of dawn with its cuckoo calls and the grotesque funeral match based on Frere Jacques with its ironic, schmalzy interludes in the third movement was beautifully judged.

Some of today's students will be tomorrow's stars; James Watson, one of the orchestra's most illustrious sons, returning with a faultless performance of Haydn's Trumpet Concerto, is living proof that the highest levels can be reached.

Starting the evening was an exciting Romeo and Juliet, despite occasional signs of insecurity. Here and in Mahler's first movement, the tempo seemed wayward - even rushed - giving the music little time to breathe. Yet this was an occasion which confirmed the LSSO's place among the finest of the World's youth orchestras. Eric Pinkett would have been proud of them all. DAVID JOHNSON