Background information on Harry Mortimer CBE

Harry Mortimer was born in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire in 1902 and was destined to become the most famous brass bandsman in the world. He was born into a musical family where he and his brothers, Rex and Alex, were all steeped in brass banding from an early age. He was tutored by his famous father Fred Mortimer and the great William Rimmer. Success came early with Luton Red Cross at the Crystal Palace in 1923 with “Oliver Cromwell” even taking on the difficult soprano top C and middle C entry with Albert Coupe. In 1924 Alex moved to Sandbach, Cheshire to join William Halliwell at the Fodens Motor Works Band. A year later the whole family had moved to Sandbach, Cheshire. Harry’s exposure to great artists and orchestral works began with the Halle Orchestra in 1927, whilst still maintaining his solo cornet position with the fabulous Fodens band.

He joined the BBC in 1942 as Brass and Military Bands Supervisor where he tirelessly promoted brass and military music, occasionally broadcasting up to sixteen programs a week. His power at the BBC could even delay live tennis broadcasts from Wimbledon in favour of his programmes. His departure from the BBC in 1964 signalled the end of an era. Harry Mortimer’s influence stretched across the globe benefiting banding institutions worldwide.

Harry Mortimer plays William Rimmer’s “Hailstorm” 

as featured on “Fabulous Fodens” CD2BM2 track 15