England’s premier orchestral fixer is… no more

England’s premier orchestral fixer is… no more


norman lebrecht

October 15, 2013

We regret to report the death of Anne Collis, managing and artistic director of the National Symphony Orchestra.

A percussion player, Anne took charge of a pick-up orchestra that played both symphony concerts and accompaniment to popular singers – among them Hayley Westenra, Nicky Spence, Blake, Russell Watson, Goldfrapp, Gardar Cortes, Lesley Garrett, Kiri te Kanawa and Alfie Boe.

‘Anne runs the National Symphony Orchestra as a cross between a benevolent dictatorship and a club for top musicians,’ she used to say.

She helped many musicians in a tight spot and could turn her hand to anything musical, composing included.

Her daughter, Sally, tells us:

My mother passed away yesterday at 14:18. She was listening to “My love is like a red, red rose” performed exquisitely by Nicky Spence . It was one of her favourite songs. At the end of the song a Lynx helicopter happened to be passing our village and she obviously felt that her exit had been staged perfectly so she chose that moment to leave us, quietly, peacefully and with grace.

I miss her more than words can say. There will always be a piece missing.

Read Anne’s biography here. UPDATE: Sally has published the funeral arrangements:

My Mother’s funeral will be held on Monday 28 October at St Mary’s Church, Henley on Thames. All are welcome and full details can be found on the NSO website –www.nso.co.uk

anne collis


  • Martin Y says:

    Oh, that is such sad news. She was a great lady and will always be in my thoughts. She gave me such wonderful support and was always eager to help in any way possible. She will be sorely missed as people like her don’t come around too often.

  • Chris Nall says:

    Anne was always full of life and fun. It has been my privilege to play for and alongside Anne in the National Symphony Orchestra for over thirty years. Her percussion playing was often accompanied by both dancing and singing. There was never a dull moment with Anne. Thank you for the music. Night night Anne.