Early music leader is back from a 3-year battle with cancer

Early music leader is back from a 3-year battle with cancer


norman lebrecht

February 15, 2015

When the Hanover Band performs Bach’s St John Passion at St Andrew’s Holborn at the end of next month, all proceeds will go to London’s Royal Marsden Hospital, by order of the band’s founder Caroline Brown.

Caroline, a cellist, has been the Band’s artistic director for 35 years. In 2012, she began treatment for a rare cancer and underwent three invasive operations. During the third operation she was fitted with an external stoma bag, which meant she was unable to play the cello for three years – and was told she might never play it again.

Then she was transferred to the Royal Marsden where three surgeons reversed the stoma last November in an eight-hour operation. Thanks to their care, Caroline is back in action once more with the Band’s busiest programme for years. Still under treatment, she hopes to take up her cello again before Christmas.

And she’s undertaking charity walks for the Royal Marsden. To sponsor her, click here.


caroline brown


  • Mark Powell says:

    Cheers to you from Eastman!

  • Tony Halstead says:

    Wonderful news, Caroline!
    ‘Go for it’!

  • Alice McVeigh says:

    Agree with Tony Halstead. Well done for making something good come out of something so difficult!!!!

  • Tim Colman says:

    Caroline – heard your story on Woman’s Hour (yes I listen when driving!) last week. A very familiar tale I am afraid. But never accept that because you have a stoma you can’t do things.
    I had an ileostomy in 1977 at the height of my motor racing career and “they” said I would never race again. 5 months later I was being strapped in to a very quick single seat racing car. My racing continued as I questioned every bit of “why you can’t….” instruction.

    I continued racing (and winning), took up rallying, raced planes and went down the bobsleigh run at St Moritz.

    There have been setbacks but now I am in my 60’s and have just built a new rally car.

    Never – ever – give up.

    best wishes