Geoff Prentice, Timpani

“It was as a percussion player that I first worked with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. This was during a production of the opera, “La Donna Del Lago” in the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy. The original timpanist left the orchestra after that project, and I was lucky enough to take over as the orchestra’s timpanist. That was in 1981. I still had a year of studies to go before leaving the Royal College of Music in 1982. It seemed that I stepped out of the doors of the college and straight into professional music making of the highest quality – thanks to the COE! On leaving college, I remember my first two projects with the orchestra as being a return to the Rossini Opera Festival, followed straight after by a tour with the pianist Maurizio Pollini. Then only weeks later, I was playing in some of the major concert halls of Europe on the orchestra’s major launch tour with the conductor Claudio Abbado. I have so many happy memories of my time with the COE, and I’m glad that there is a wealth of recordings for us all to look back on. Long may it last!”


Geoffrey Prentice was born in London in 1960. He started learning the piano when he was eight, and at aged thirteen won a place to attend the Royal College of Music Junior Department. Because he needed a second instrument, he began his studies in timpani and percussion.

On leaving school, Geoffrey became a full-time student at the Royal College, studying piano, timpani, percussion and conducting.

Geoffrey first played with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe as a percussionist during a production at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro in 1981. Shortly after, he was invited to take up the post as timpanist. He remained with the COE for almost thirty years, after which he became timpanist of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra – a post he held until January 2023.

Geoffrey is now retired, but has become quite involved with playing keyboards in his local area of Enfield, North London.

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