A violin legend has died

A violin legend has died


norman lebrecht

April 13, 2016

The Academy of St Martin in the Fields has announced the death of Alan Loveday, one of its founding members and the soloist on its cornerstone 1969 recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Alan, a convivial New Zealander, was 88.


alan loveday record

Announcement from the Academy of St Martin in the Fields

It is with great sadness that the Academy of St Martin in the Fields announces the passing of violinist Alan Loveday on 12 April. He was 88.

Alan Loveday was a long-time member of the Academy from 1965. He is best known for his landmark 1969 recording of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the Academy and Sir Neville Marriner, which remains a benchmark to this day. The recording sold over 500,000 copies, resulting in the Academy’s first ever gold disc.

Born in New Zealand in 1928, he married the pianist Ruth Stanfield and together they had two children; musician Ian, who passed away in 2009, and daughter Rosalind, affectionately known as Buz. He was also grandfather to two grandchildren, Molly and Daniel.

Academy founder and Life President Sir Neville Marriner has this morning paid personal tribute to his great friend: “Alan was a close personal friend from the age of 14. Looking back over his career he was probably the most unacknowledged and yet unexploited virtuoso violin player in England. As perhaps the most distinguished pupil of Albert Sammons he affected my life in music more than any other violin player in my life. For many years we worked together in the Loveday-Marriner-Hopkins trio and then subsequently he became one of the most distinguished members of the Academy. In our profession he will be very much missed, but very much more so by me as a friend.” 


  • Robert Roy says:

    I remember his gorgeous playing in the RPO’s version of Sheherezade under Rudolph Kempe. Very sad news indeed.


  • Edmund Coxon says:

    An amazing man, inspiring and brilliant in everything he put his hand to, including (although I never partook) his almost obessessional bridge playing.

  • Bill Bodell says:

    Alan lived with my Aunt and Uncle in Palmerston North, N.Z as a young lad and left one of his violins with them when he went overseas. A wonderful musician..R.I.P

  • Adrian Levine says:

    Alan was a wonderful and very supportive colleague. In my 5 years or so with the Academy I never saw him ruffled, his calmness and wisdom (such a contrast, I am told by those who had known him much longer, to his famously stormy earlier days) were legendary, and he was an unfailing source of technical and musical advice, never proffered, but always available and on tap should one want help. He was universally liked and admired.

  • Step Parikian says:

    His recording at St John’s Smith Square was repeatedly interrupted by some people digging up the road outside. In the end he went out. “Do you like sex?” “Err, yeah” “Do you like travel?” “Yeah” “Well, **** off then”

  • michael hurwitz says:

    Sad news. Alan was not only a great violinist but was a terrific character. I have many memories of him and my dad deep in conversation about the violin world and also him spending two lively Christmas days with us all shortly before he moved into residential care.

  • Miles Golding says:

    None of the obituaries seems to mention the fact that he was home-educated – probably very unusual in the Palmerston North of the 30s
    Our paths crossed briefly in the late 70s – he played a memorable Four Seasons with the Richard Hiccox Orchestra. And much more recently I had the pleasure of playing several sessions of bridge with him at the home of former ASMF colleague, Felix Warnock, who maintained frequent contact with him. His long slender fingers seemed to have retained the delicacy of those that entranced so many audiences in his youth.