Alfred Edwin Brain Sr.
Alfred Edwin Brain (born Turnham Green, London, 4 February 1860; died London, 25 October 1929), was an English player of the French horn. He was the founder of a great school of English horn playing. His grandson Dennis Brain became perhaps the most famous horn player of all time. He is known as A.E .Brain Sr. (Senior) because one of his sons, who also was a famous horn player, had the same name.
A.E. Brain was born in 1860. His father fought in the Crimean War and was invalid. Alfred was not well educated. When he was 12 he joined the Scots Guards and played the horn in the band. He married in 1880 and had seven children. Two of the children became great horn players: Alfred and Aubrey.
He played in several orchestras, including the Philharmonic Society, the Queen’s Hall Orchestra and Covent Garden. He played a lot for Henry Wood in The Proms. In orchestras he nearly always played fourth horn, so his nickname was “George IV”. In 1904 he became a founding member of the London Symphony Orchestra. The four horn players in that orchestra: Adolf Borsdorf, Thomas Busby, Henri Van der Meerschen and A.E. Brain, were often called “God’s Own Quartet” because they blended together so well.
He died in 1929 after a short retirement.