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Edmond Fivet

Obituary Spring 2022

In memory

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Edmond Fivet

Edmond Fivet CBE (pictured above) passed away in November 2021 after a short illness. His relationship with the RCM spanned over 20 years, including as Head of the RCM Junior Department from 1983 to 1989.

Edmond studied trombone and piano at RCM Junior Department (RCMJD) and at Senior College, graduating in 1969. He later returned to the RCMJD as Registrar in around 1973, before becoming Acting Director and then RCMJD Director in 1983. A skilled conductor, in 1984, Edmond took over conducting the RCMJD Chamber Orchestra, leading many concerts and tours at its helm. The College recognised his work with an honorary fellowship in 1988.

In 1989, Edmond was appointed Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, a position he held until his retirement in 2007. He was awarded a CBE for services to music and education in 2008.

During his time at the RCM Junior Department, Edmond was adored and respected by colleagues and students alike. John Mitchell, RCMJD Performance Manager, fondly remembers his ‘wonderful smile’ and supportive approach to students. ‘The devotion he had for the development of young musicians throughout his career has left a legacy from which so many have benefitted,’ says RCM Director, Professor Colin Lawson.

Audrey Fryer

Audrey Fryer passed away in November 2021. She was a much-loved maths teacher, but music was always a large part of her life.

Her father, Eric Wells, was an amateur pianist and insurance collector; he’d wanted her to learn the piano as well, but she much preferred singing and was part of the Chichester Choral Society and Brighton Festival Chorus for many years. Audrey kindly left a gift in her Will to establish a piano scholarship in her father’s memory.

Don Gorman

Don Gorman, who had been an RCM Friend for many years and was a great music lover, passed away last autumn.

Don was also a member of the Royal Opera House, Barbican and Glyndebourne. He kindly left his extensive music collection to the RCM Library for students to enjoy.

Joseph Horovitz

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Joseph Horovitz was one of the Royal College of Music’s longest-serving members of staff and a beloved teacher in the Composition Faculty. He passed away in February 2022 at the age of 95.

Joseph’s association with the RCM began in 1948, when he commenced his studies with Gordon Jacob. He later returned to the College in 1961 as a member of the Composition Faculty. A gifted composer, Joseph composed over 70 scores for major film, television and Son et Lumière productions.

Aside from his compositions for screen, his works ranged from ballets, one-act operas, concertos and chamber music, through to pieces for brass, wind bands and choral works. In 2008, the Worshipful Company of Musicians awarded him the Cobbett Medal for services to chamber music. He also held two Ivor Novello Awards and the Royal College of Music awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Music in March 2017.

Joseph’s music will live on through his many compositions and the impact he made upon future generations of composers and musicians.

We will celebrate Joseph’s life in the next edition of Upbeat. If you have reflections that you’d like to submit for inclusion, please send to news@rcm.ac.uk with Joseph Horovitz as the subject by Friday 15 April.

Courtney Kenny

Répétiteur and pianist Courtney Kenny studied at the Royal College of Music from 1951 to 1954. He passed away in October 2021.

Courtney Kenny was born in Ballinrobe, Ireland, in 1933. He entered the RCM in 1951, where he studied piano with Henry E. Wilson and piano accompaniment with Harry Stubbs. Courtney began his career as Musical Director of the Bristol Old Vic, before working with Glyndebourne Festival Opera. He went on to form his own opera company in Ballinrobe, worked for 25 seasons over 30 years with the Wexford Festival Opera in Ireland, and was Head of the Music Staff with the New Sadler's Wells Opera in London. 

Courtney also held a lifelong interest in show music, frequently performing as a cabaret entertainer in venues in London and the US. In 2010, he founded the Courtney Kenny Award in association with the Association of English Speakers and Singers, which aims to 'encourage the communication of English words, in singing and in speech, with clarity, understanding and imagination.'

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Sergei Kojine

Sergei Kojine was born in Moscow in February 1963. He pursued a successful career in the arts, working with choreographer Igor Moiseyev, conductor Yevgeny Svetlanov and ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Sergei left the Soviet Union on 1 June 1992, a date he described as his real birthday to freedom. He subsequently worked as a concert promoter in Israel for major tours including those of Elton John and Madonna. In 1997, he joined BMG (then Sony Music) and worked as Director of Marketing and Business Development, and in 2009, he joined Universal Music and Eagle Rock, where he worked until 2018. Charismatic and talented, Sergei was fluent in nine languages and had a thirst for knowledge, holding postgraduate degrees from King’s College London, University of London and Boston University.

Sergei particularly adored music, and his partner has established a scholarship in his memory to help those in need succeed. This scholarship will celebrate Sergei’s lust for life and reflect his love of music. Further donations to the Sergei Kojine Scholarship would be welcomed.

Penelope Mann

Pianist Penelope Mann was a scholar at the RCM from 1953 to 1959. She studied under Bernard Stevens and William Lloyd Webber and was the accompanist for the Conductors’ Course under Sir Adrian Boult.

Penelope came from a family of celebrated musicians. Her grandfather, Reverend Richard Spurrell, was an orchestral singer, while her mother, Gwendolen Hensley, and sister Elizabeth attended the RCM, the latter becoming the Director of Music at Melbourne Girls’ Grammar School. As a performer, Penelope developed expertise in Romantic repertoire and enjoyed a successful career around the world, beginning with a well-received debut recital at Wigmore Hall in 1961. Penelope married Keith in 1963 and accompanied him to South Africa, where she played for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, the Cape Town Orchestra, and toured widely in Southern and Eastern Africa. After moving to New England in 1965, Penelope played at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Centre, and began her career as a teacher of piano. Back in England from 1968, she became a répétiteur with the Royal Ballet, working both in London and on tour over the next twenty years. She gave further recitals at Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Royal Festival Hall and in venues countrywide. 

In later years Penelope incurred Dupuytren’s Contracture and withdrew from performance, but continued to teach very successfully. Her indomitable spirit remained undimmed until the very last days of her illness.

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Chris Allen Partington

Alumna Chris Allen Partington, who studied at the Royal College of Music between 1966 and 1969, passed away in October 2021.

While at the RCM, Chris studied violin with Jack Steadman and piano with Bernard Roberts. She devoted most of her working life to teaching around Berkshire and Reading, including at St Joseph’s Convent, the Abbey School and Crosfields School. A talented linguist, Chris spoke fluent Welsh and French. She retired to Swansea in 2005, playing with several orchestras in the area, and involving herself in choirs and chamber groups playing both the violin and the viola. Chris was married for a time to the late Edmond Fivet, former Head of the RCM Junior Department, who also passed away last year. She is survived by three children, Jonathan, Caroline and Felicity.

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Prudence Raphael

Alumna Prudence Raphael (née Gaffikin) passed away in October 2021.

A violinist and violist, Prudence (pictured above) studied with Albert Sammons at the RCM. A student during the Second World War, she busked to make ends meet, and would brave the roads during blackout on her bicycle. During her time at the College, she attended dance classes organised by Imperial College, where she met a Chemistry student, Ralph Raphael. The pair married in 1944.

Prudence often did freelance work and also took up permanent posts, including at Sadler’s Wells. Later, she became leader of the Ulidian String Quartet in Belfast, and regularly performed with the Cambridge Players and Lyndewode Quartet. She only retired from playing at the age of 80. Supporting musicians to the end, her instruments and bows are on long loan to the RCM, and they have been left to the College in her Will.

Nigel Rogers

Nigel Rogers, tenor, pioneer of early music, and former RCM professor of singing, passed away in January 2022 at the age of 86.

After studying as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, and later at the Munich Hochschule für Musik, Nigel began his career in the 1960s. He became celebrated for his interpretations of Italian Baroque music, and particularly known for his performances in title role in Monteverdi’s Orfeo. A prolific recording artist, Nigel appeared on over 70 albums, including a seminal recording of Monteverdi’s Vespers in 1967. He was a founding member of the Studio der frühen Musik (Early Music Quartet) and founded the Chiaroscuro vocal ensemble in 1979. He made 11 appearances at the BBC Proms, including one with Chiaroscuro in 1986. In 2015, BBC Radio 3 celebrated his career and 80th birthday with a special edition of the Early Music Show.

Nigel joined the RCM as a singing professor in 1978 and was a much-loved member of the Vocal and Opera Faculty until his retirement in 2000.

Lord Sainsbury

Lord John Sainsbury of Preston Candover KG died peacefully at home on 14 January 2022, after a long illness.

The support and opportunities he provided through his philanthropic initiatives have enabled countless talented artists to flourish. Lord Sainsbury, with his wife, Lady Anya Sainsbury CBE, started The Linbury Trust in the early 1970s. The RCM is immensely grateful for the contributions from the Trust towards the RCM, from the establishment of the Britten Theatre in the 1980s, to the endowment of the Linbury Scholarships in more recent years. He will be remembered as a truly great philanthropist and a champion of the arts.   

A longer obituary can be read on the Linbury Trust’s website.

Xavier Stavrou-Long

Royal College of Music Junior Department alumnus Xavier Stavrou-Long passed away in October 2021 at just 20 years of age.

Xavier was a talented young horn player and cellist who contributed a great deal to the musical life of the RCM Junior Department. During his seven years studying at the RCMJD (2012–2019) Xavier played the horn in over 40 orchestral concerts, and his intelligence and wry sense of humour made him a joy to work with. His parents, Stuart Long and Sula Stavrou, have also contributed a great deal to the RCMJD community as active members of the Friends of the RCMJD, and we send them our warmest wishes and condolences. 

Mollie West

Alumna Mollie West studied for her piano teaching diploma at the RCM from 1944. Her love of music stayed with her throughout her life, and she was still playing the clavichord in her care home until just weeks before she passed away at the age of 92.

Mollie taught music in schools throughout her life and had private piano students until 2017 and played in regular chamber music groups. Her family remember her sitting quietly listening to classical music on the radio enjoying both familiar and new pieces. They donated the proceeds of the sale of her instruments to the RCM’s Scholarships Fund to establish the Mollie West Award, which has been given to pianist Daniel Kharitonov, enabling him to finish his postgraduate studies with us. We hope this is a fitting tribute to Mollie that reflects and celebrates the importance of music and the College in her life.

Lady Winston

Lady Winston passed away in December 2021 at the age of 72. She and her husband of 48 years, Lord Winston, have been loyal supporters of the Royal College of Music for many years, particularly through their support of the RCM scholarships programme. Lord Winston was the Chairman of the RCM for 10 years, stepping down in 2017.

Lira started her career as a history researcher before becoming director of the Sinclair Charitable Trust and Jewish Continuity. She was on the board of the London School of Jewish Studies for several years, as well as the Advisory Board of the Jewish Volunteering Network, and was a Trustee of the Samuel Sebba Trust. Rabbi David Meyer, who knew Lira through their mutual work at the Partnership for Jewish Schools (PaJesS), recently described Lira as ‘absolutely genuine… she touched everyone she met with her warmth and love.’  

Lira dedicated almost three decades of her life to Jewish education, and she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Jewish Schools Awards in 2020. She worked for PaJesS for 25 years and, in 2020, former One Direction popstar Harry Styles presented her with an award for her work.  

Professor Colin Lawson, Director of the RCM, commented on her ‘warm personality and lively company’. She loved the RCM family and was always supportive of Robert’s chairmanship during his tenure. She will be fondly remembered by her many friends at the College. 

John Woolf

Violinist and founder of the Park Lane Group John Woolf passed away in January at the age of 91.

Born in France in 1930 to a British father and Swiss-French mother, the Woolf family escaped France and settled in London in 1939. John performed with various orchestras in London from the 1940s, and in 1952, he joined the Orchestra of the Covent Garden Opera Company (now the Royal Opera House) as second and later first violin. He performed with the orchestra for 43 years until his retirement in 1995.

In 1956, he co-founded and directed the Park Lane Group (PLG), an educational trust giving a platform for highly talented soloists, ensembles and composers at the start of their careers. The PLG ran a celebrated annual concert series in the Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room, an opera series until 1981, and performances at venues across London, with over 1,600 artists presented over the last 65 years.

John was appointed MBE in 1964 for his services to music, and the Royal College of Music appointed him an honorary member in 1981.

 

The Royal College of Music would also like to remember Alfred Champniss, who was a student at the RCM in the 1950s and died on 7 January this year, aged 89.