LPO principal clarinet steps down after 44 years

LPO principal clarinet steps down after 44 years


norman lebrecht

April 27, 2016

It’s an unusually long tenure in any London orchestra, but Bob Hill has finally decided that now’s the time. He will give his last concert on Saturday with the orchestra he joined as principal clarinet back in 1972, when players were still paid in pounds, shillings and pence.

He played for music directors Bernard Haitink, Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt, Franz Welser-Most, Kurt Masur and Vladimir Jurowski.

robert hill

We wish Bob and long and happy retirement.


  • Nicola Lefanu says:

    The programme is

    Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 4
    R Strauss’s Alpine Symphony.

    Plenty for the clarinet !

    • Catherine Tyler says:

      What a great player!
      (Mr Lebrecht should note that decimalisation was in February 1971, although it is nicely romantic to think of pounds, shillings and pence )

      • norman lebrecht says:

        I returned to the UK in August 1972 when, to the best of my recollection, my first wage was marked on the brown envelope in both £sd and decimals. And the apple I bought in the market in my lunch break was definitely priced in pennies.

  • Richard Gibbs says:

    Decimal Currency Day in the UK was 15 February 1971 so I am afraid you are wrong, Norman, Mr Hill would not have been paid in shillings and pence.

  • Dave says:

    Clarinettists like Bob are certainly not ten-a-penny.

  • Rebecca says:

    He is just retiring from the Orchestra, not from playing the clarinet. Saturday is his last Festival Hall concert with the Orchestra. He is however doing part of Glyndebourne and the LPO Prom….

  • Thomas Watmough says:

    It’s been my privilege to work closely alongside Bob for many years, and in recent times to join his section as a full time member. I find it impossible to find the words to do real credit to the love, respect and admiration that has deservedly been heaped upon him by friends, orchestral colleagues and conductors alike over his many years as principal clarinet of the LPO. His generosity, kindness, unshakeable quick sense of humour and fun added to his innate musicianship gilded by the most beautiful clarinet sound mark him out as the stuff of legend. He will be sorely missed in the day to day working life of his fellow LPO players.

    • David McLaren says:

      Tom, a wonderful tribute to Bob, he was a one-off – I was with the LPO for 40 years and knew him well…

  • Jon C says:

    Spot on Tommy. Great player and fabulous company. Total legend

  • Colin Parr says:

    Have the greatest admiration for Bob and all he has done with LPO.He is a legend and he will greatly missed by his colleagues I am sure .They don’t make em like him anymore! Colin

  • Richard says:

    All the best to you Bob and hope hope you have s magical send off!
    All our live The Gregory’s

  • Ray Calvert says:

    I knew your parents from the White Hart I was the licensee you arranged for peter maunder to teach me the clarinet always an admirer of your skills Regards Ray Calvert