The newspaper that hid a string quartet

The newspaper that hid a string quartet


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2015

The late quartets of Ludwig Van Beethoven are said to have received their London premieres at the home of a print manager of the Times newspaper.

Now we read that the Financial Times has secretly harboured a string quartet below decks.

Its existence is revealed in the new issue of Gramophone magazine by former journalist and Labour would-be Chancellor, Ed Balls, who used to play violin in the group. Two other members were Gillian Tett, now the FT’s US managing editor, and John Happer, associate editor. The fourth player is unnamed.

Come on out, we know you’re there….

And don’t expect the FT’s new Japanese owners to give you time to practise.


ed balls piano


  • Simon Harding says:

    Ed Balls was Shadow Chancellor, not a Labour Chancellor.

  • Alistair Hinton says:

    I’d no idea that either Ed Balls or Gillian Tett were string players! Tett is one of today’s most remarkable and perceptive financial journalists; I don’t know if she still finds time to play.

    The cartoonist missed an opportunity, however, by portraying David Cameron instead of his wife when illustrating Ed Balls’ new rôle as pianist; he could otherwise have substituted “Sam” for “Cam” and made the caption more authentic (although, of course, the word “again” is not in the original)…

    Many thanks for this! As it happens, my own MP plays trumpet in the House of Commons jazz band and, like Balls, has recently taken up a second instrument, though in his case it’s tenor sax.