Principal viola drowns while trying to save his partner

Principal viola drowns while trying to save his partner


norman lebrecht

September 01, 2014

John Lynch, associate principal viola of Ireland’s RTE national symphony orchestra, has drowned off the coast of Crete.



He was on holiday with his partner, Kevin Devine, who got into difficulties in the sea. John leaped in to save him. Tragically, both died.

John, 45, was previously a member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The accident happened on Friday and the RTE musicians were informed on their return to work today. ‘This morning is the NSO’s first day back after holidays and they are planning a minute silence as they come to terms with this horrible news,’ an RTE statement said.



  • Mikey says:

    This is a terrible tragedy.
    And sad that the English language doesn’t have a better word to describe the relationship of these two men, one literally willing to die for the other. “Partner”, how clinical.

    • fun ways to go says:

      You clearly haven’t visited the black sea coast recently.

      People are “drowing” in blood in their 100s and 1000s currently, and no doubt there are professional musicians among them.

      How clinical.

      Your leaders don’t give a damn.

    • MWnyc says:

      The English language does have a way to describe the relationship of these two men, one of whom dies trying to save the other.


      Spouse would be another.

      Lover was used for a long time in some circles, though that word seems a bit too … carnal, perhaps, for this particular context.

      And then there’s longtime companion, the euphemism famously coined by The New York Times during the worst of the AIDS crisis.

      But really, husband is the best word. It was a status legally unavailable to John Lynch and Kevin Devine in Ireland, but that may change before too, too long, even there.

  • This sort of thing seems to happen fairly often.

    A public information campaign on how to help drowning people might be a useful thing.

    It worked for choking and the Heimlich Maneuver.

  • Michael says:

    Well, I think that pointing people to an article like is a helpful start.

  • Michael says:

    Hyperlink fail. I’ll do it right next time.