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
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.
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
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.