When a lone violin plays an exquisite, haunting melody from Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Sancta Civitas, at Cadogan Hall on 1st April, every member of choir and orchestra will be missing Adrian Levine, whose solo it would have been.
Adrian has been leader of the Thames Festival Orchestra, which accompanies Thames Philharmonic Choir in all its major concerts, for the last eight years. Now, deterioriating eyesight means that he can no longer read music at the level of accuracy and speed demanded by professional performances.
“As I can’t play continue to play professionally, it’s time to hang up my beloved Guarnerius [his 18th-C violin], ” said Adrian, “although I will continue to teach at the Royal College of Music.”
Choir director John Bate commented: “Adrian is a fabulous player and well respected in the profession. He was the ideal leader - completely cooperative and helpful, always complimentary about the Choir, our concerts and general organisation, never watched the clock... and other players took things seriously when he was leading.”
At the age of 24, Adrian was first violinist for the English Chamber Orchestra; later appointments included associate leader of the Philharmonia Orchestra, leader of the Rome Opera House, and guest leader for many illustrious British orchestras.
For the Thames Philharmonic Choir, a particularly spine-tingling and unforgettable occasion was Adrian’s sublime rendition of the violin solo in the Benedictus from Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in Cadogan Adrian Levine with his 'beloved violin' made c. 1740, made by Pietro Guarneri of VeniceHall in 2011.
Thames Philharmonic Choir was special for Adrian, too: “It has been a pleasure to play great music and work with such a great bunch of people," he said. "So often, there is little contact between chorus and orchestra, but this has been quite different with Thames Phil. John Bate has been a delight to work with: he’s communicative, energetic, enthusiastic and wears his knowledge lightly. Unlike some in the profession, he is a conductor with more interest in the music than in his own ego.”
The Vaughan Williams solo will be played by the new leader of the TFO, Alison Kelly, who has been co-leader with Adrian, and is also a distinguished violinist in her own right. The concert features another rarely performed masterpiece - the upbeat, melodious, operatic Messa di Gloria by Puccini. For more information, visit: