London timpanist retires after singular 42 years

London timpanist retires after singular 42 years


norman lebrecht

May 18, 2015

The Philharmonia Orchestra has ‘bid a fond farewell to our Principal Timpanist Andy Smith, who has just retired after 42 years in the Orchestra.’

While lifelong tenure is common in US orchestras it is less usual in London, where there are infinite distractions and multiple temptations. To spend 42 years in the same orchestra, and still keep your sanity and hair, is a triumph of tolerance and dedication.

We wish Andy a happy and fulfilling retirement.

andy smith timpanist


  • Andrew Condon says:

    A Philharmonia “Zarathustra” will never be quite the same again!
    Interesting and affectionate tribute/interview here:

  • Raph Hurwitz says:

    A lovely man, who looked after me when I was growing up, on many tours and backstage at the RFH. Fond memories of a fantastic player and a loyal musician!

  • Musin04 says:

    I always loved conducting the Philharmonia with Andy playing. Great musician who always added the right amount of theatricality to his role. Happy retirement!!!

  • Rod Kempster says:

    A terrific timpanist and a very nice man. He will be much missed but he has earnt his retirement,good luck to him