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Ken Warner (1902 - 1988)

Ken Warner, or, to give him his full-name, Onslow Boyden Waldo Warner, was born in Chiswick, London, into a musical family. His father, Harry Waldo Warner played viola in the London String Quartet and was a professor at the Guildhall School of Music, London. Onslow Warner was educated privately and at the Guildhall. From 1921 he played saxophone and violin, under the name Onslow Kent, in various dance- bands, including that of Peter Yorke. He played in such places as the Kit-Kat and the Café de Paris as well as abroad, and made many recordings.

Under the name which he became universally known by, Ken Warner, he joined the BBC Light Orchestra in 1940, playing violin, clarinet and saxophone under Fred Hartley, and doing much arranging. He also played with, and arranged for, orchestras directed by famous violinists Max Jaffa, Peg Leopold and Tom Jenkins and was an early member of Michael Krein’s Saxophone Quartet.

He stayed as a BBC employee until 1959, after which he retired to Cornwall to raise pigs. Arranging and composing was a constant part of Warner’s activities. He wrote much mood music and his several light pieces often featuring strings - made welcome additions to the repertoire. Articulating repeated notes by means of a back and forth movement of the bow across the string – ‘scrubbing’ is a good word - produces a unique effect, which has been much exploited since the early days of the violin.





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