Sheffield craftsman makes instruments for Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with gas meters

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released its most unusual recital yet - a three minute requiem performed on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. Photo by Mikael Buck.
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released its most unusual recital yet - a three minute requiem performed on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. Photo by Mikael Buck.
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A Sheffield craftsman has given the song Classical Gas a new meaning entirely after making instruments for the world-famous Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – using old gas meters.

Jonny Wilson, of Nether Edge, started making bespoke instruments using old cigar boxes, vintage sweet tins and ‘anything else he can lay his hands on’ in 2005.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released its most unusual recital yet - a three minute requiem performed on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. Photo by Mikael Buck.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released its most unusual recital yet - a three minute requiem performed on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. Photo by Mikael Buck.

But five weeks ago he got an offer that was almost too much to Handel when the acclaimed orchestra commissioned two cellos and one double bass – made of gas meters.

Jonny, 47, did not Strauss at the tight timescale, though.

He said: “It was explained that I would be making instruments for the top musicians in the country.

“Obviously gas meters don’t lend themselves to making instruments, so I was nervous, but there was no way I would turn it down.”

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released its most unusual recital yet - a three minute requiem performed on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. Photo by Mikael Buck.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released its most unusual recital yet - a three minute requiem performed on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. Photo by Mikael Buck.

Jonny said composer Gary Tarn approached him after being commissioned to do a television advert about ‘smart meters’, which all homes will soon get to monitor gas usage.

Once the instruments were finished, Jonny was invited to the iconic Abbey Road Studios, in London, to watch the Royal Philharmonic lay down the arrangement, Requiem for Meters.

He said: “These are musicians who are used to playing the very best instruments, so I didn’t know what they would make to the gas meters.

“But they were impressed and the performance was amazing.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released its most unusual recital yet - a three minute requiem performed on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. Photo by Mikael Buck.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has released its most unusual recital yet - a three minute requiem performed on instruments made from old gas and electricity meters. Photo by Mikael Buck.

“It was great to be involved.”

Jonny said he began working as a cabinet maker 30 years ago.

But ten years ago the musician turned his attention to making guitars, banjos and other bizarre grassroots instruments.

He now sells all over the country and Sheffield favourites Everly Pregnant Brothers have used the instruments in City Hall performances.

Craftsman Jonny Wilson has made two cellos and one double bass for the Royal Philharmonic orchestra using gas metres

Craftsman Jonny Wilson has made two cellos and one double bass for the Royal Philharmonic orchestra using gas metres

Jonny said: “It’s a passion, I love doing it and the instruments I make are all totally unique.”

To find out more about Jonny’s creations visit: www.thefilthydon.com

Craftsman Jonny Wilson has made two cellos and one double bass for the Royal Philharmonic orchestra using gas metres

Craftsman Jonny Wilson has made two cellos and one double bass for the Royal Philharmonic orchestra using gas metres