Quintin Des Clayes






Quintin Des Clayes, one of the longer-serving members, joined the group in May 2001.  He is a dedicated, reliable player who holds the record for being our most senior member!


Quintin started on the recorder, entirely self-taught, at the age of 12, having had piano lessons at Prep. School.  Later on at Public School, while playing the descant recorder in a practice room, the bandmaster came in and told him ‘it was high time he took up the flute’.
Quintin attended Clare College, Cambridge, leaving with an MA in Mathematics.  During his time at Clare, he sang in the Clare Choir and joined the University Orchestra, graduating to 1st Flute in his second year and played in many Music Club and College Concerts.  He was also invited to join the Municipal Orchestra (a professional group which gave concerts in the Town Hall) and played in the orchestra pit for various operatic societies.
Not only did Quintin row for Cambridge in 1944, he also coached various College crews including Corpus and Trinity Hall!  He then joined the Instructor Branch of the Royal Navy in 1947.

Flutey Facts…

Quintin started teaching the flute in about 1979 and estimates he’s taught about 200 pupils over the years with 10 of those reaching Grade 8 or above.  (One of those 10 was Flute Cocktail’s very own MD who he started teaching when she was just 6 years old; she had to rest the end of the flute on the back of a chair – in the days before the popular use of curved headjoints.)  Quintin is still teaching the flute and currently has 10 pupils over a wide area including some in North Devon!
For musical pleasure, obviously Flute Cocktail is at the top of his list, but he also enjoys playing in a Flute and Guitar duo, recorder groups (Dowland Wind Consort) and is Choirmaster of Lydford Church Choir.

Varied Career…

In about 1952, Quintin was at the Royal Australian Naval College teaching Navigation, French and Russian!  He also put on their first operatic production “Once Aboard the Lugger” by William Rodney Bennett (Sir Richard’s Dad!).
At the Royal Naval School Tal Handaq in Malta, Quintin was Head of Mathematics and taught Maths and French.  Whilst in Malta, he sang operatic roles as the Mikado (pictured), Colonel Calverley in Patience and Wilfred the Gaoler in Yeoman of the Guard.  He conducted the Malta Choral Society as well as putting on concerts on Malta Radio with various staff and students.
Quintin also had the role of Head of Mathematics at the Royal Naval Engineering College, Manadon, Plymouth.  During his time there, he wrote the music for and conducted “The House that Jack Built” which won the RN Drama Festival.  It was a musical drama with a script written by the father of one of his pupils.  They were invited to put it on at the Northcott Theatre, but some cast members were posted away from the College before they could accept.

The end of an era...

Sadly, Quintin passed away in November 2018 after spending a few months in hospital, following a fall at his home in August.  He will be sorely missed by his friends at Flute Cocktail; his musical legacy lives on in all those whom he inspired with his teaching over many decades.

Updated: November 2018