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Leopold de Rothschild

Friday 20 April 2012


With deep regret we report the death on Thursday 19 April of Mr Leopold de Rothschild CBE, FRCM. 

Chairman of Royal College of Music’s Council for a decade, Leo led the highly successful RCM Centenary Appeal in the 1980s. Over £5 million was raised which enabled the building of our beautiful Britten Theatre, home to the RCM’s International Opera School. 

Leo was by profession a financier, becoming a partner at NM Rothschild in 1956. His life spanned an era of extraordinary change at the Bank. He worked in three incarnations of the New Court premises and indeed occupied the very same office in the previous New Court for its entire existence from 1965 to 2007. He also sat as a Director of the Bank of England for many years. While he had a long and successful career in banking, his love of music and the arts were very important to him throughout his life.

An accomplished pianist, Leo was also an enthusiastic singing member of The Bach Choir, of which he later became President. He enjoyed long and lasting friendships with countless musicians including Sir Georg Solti, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Colin Davis, Raymond Leppard and Dame Janet Baker.

In addition to his Chairmanship of the RCM Council, he served as Chairman of the Music Advisory Committee of the British Council, Trustee of Glyndebourne Arts Trust , Co-President of the Jewish Music Institute at SOAS, Chairman of the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, President of the English Chamber Orchestra and was a founding member of The Voices Foundation.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to music he was appointed CBE, awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Music, and made an Honorary Member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.

A wise friend, enthusiastic supporter and generous benefactor to countless musical causes, Leo will be greatly missed by the many individuals and organisations whose lives he touched.