London’s first woman concertmaster steps down

London’s first woman concertmaster steps down


norman lebrecht

March 17, 2016

Clio Gould, who broke the glass ceiling when she became leader of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002, led her final rehearsal today.

She told the players: ‘It has been an immense privilege to be here and work with you all. However, I feel it’s now time to hand the privilege over. I’ve had an absolutely amazing time here. This orchestra has such heart, soul, spirit and courage. I’ve loved working with you all so much – thank you all for these happy years.’


Clio also leads the London Sinfonietta and the Royal Academy Soloists.


  • Edmund Coxon says:

    Whilst this may be commendable, it doesn’t do justice or lend accuracy to London’s actual ‘first woman’ concertmaster, Stephanie Gonley who took up her post as leader of the English Chamber Orchestra several years before Clio Gould was appointed.

  • Morello says:

    She hasn’t led the London Sinfonietta for some years. Its leader is Jonathan Morton.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Her husband. She also handed over to him at the Scottish Ensemble.

    • Edmund Coxon says:

      I didn’t know this, and yet it probably should have been expected!

      • Daniel Pioro says:

        I’m amazed by how – even by the standards of online sniping – your comments come across as perversely jealous and embittered.
        This is a simple piece about Clio Gould leaving her post at the RPO. Nothing else.
        And yet, it’s a moment for you to get some strange and toxic weight off your shoulders.

        Imagine that – to deal with your silly “MO” comment – a brilliant violinist who marries another brilliant violinist. It would strike me as strange to not to support, nurture and promote each other.

        You know, Edmund, that thing that relationships and music making are based on. Care.

        The reality is though that the only thing we have any say in is how we behave and act, how we play our instruments and how we conduct ourselves. There is no possibility that the role of Concertmaster can be passed on if other members/musicians of various groups aren’t equally in favour.

        Unfortunately, based on your comments I’m not sure you can understand what that means. To inspire loyalty and admiration in others. I’m sorry for you.

        • Edmund Coxon says:

          Oh dear Mr. Pioro. What a pity you appear to have launched into vitriol rather unexpectedly. Good to see you’re passionate though. Keep up the good work. Nepotism can be viewed in so many ways and I’m sure your opinion is as valid as any other.

        • Edmund Coxon says:

          There is nothing misanthropic about my remarks, be reassured. I’m simply espousing a view about the accuracy of Norman’s initial statement and alluding to the fact that Ms. Gould has rewarded her husband with two fine jobs, neither of which he would, in my opinion, been appointed to. Call it support, call it nepotism, call it what you will, it’s just an opinion and nothing more. Your passion is to be commended however. Keep up the good work.

  • Steve says:

    What about Iona Brown, who led Academy of St Martins in the fields, and Nona Liddell who was the leader and founder member of London Sinfonietta?

  • Laura P says:

    Didn’t Iona Brown play concertmaster/leader for the Academy in the Fields in the 80’s?

  • Peter Phillips says:

    Back in the 1930s Marie Wilson was leader of section B of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. After the war she played in the Philharmonia though not, of course, as leader.

  • Margaret says:

    Lyn Fletcher leader of the Halle? I think she’s been there for quite some time?

    • David S says:

      Ms Fletcher has been concert master of the Halle since 1997. She is a superb player and inspirational leader. David S retired string player member of Halle 1974-1998

      • David S says:

        A little more information about Ms Fletcher:
        Lyn Fletcher joined the Hallé Orchestra as Leader in January 1997. She was Co-leader of the Philharmonia between 1986 and 1989,and Co-leader of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 1990 – 1996. She has also been a guest Leader of many other orchestras.

  • Ron says:

    Cynthia Fleming, BBC Concert Orchestra. Associate Leader 1987.