Wales mourns a dazzling soloist

Wales mourns a dazzling soloist


norman lebrecht

August 24, 2017

From BBC National Orchestra of Wales:

It’s with tremendous sadness that we share that our much loved colleague and friend Eva Stewart has passed away. Eva joined the Orchestra in 2002 as our Principal Piccolo and constantly amazed us with her wonderful musicianship and dedication. Her skill and sincere musicality were real gifts to be treasured and she will be greatly missed. Our thoughts go out to her partner Bill, and her family and friends.

UPDATE: We understand that Eva died while on holiday in Egypt.

From her bio:

Eva Stewart was born in Aberdeen, Scotland, and grew up in the Midlands…. Graduating from the Guildhall in 1993, she won the Lord Mayor’s Prize and joined the Northern Sinfonia, where for nearly ten years she enjoyed a great variety of music-making, with a particular focus on chamber music. During this time she discovered her love for community music-making, teaching and workshops. This led to the completion of an MA in music education in 2001. The following year she joined the BBC National Orchestra of Wales as principal piccolo. An enthusiastic teacher, she is a professor at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. In addition to orchestral playing, she has collaborated with singers, dancers and storytellers in mixed media and improvised performances.


  • Bruce says:

    Fabulous playing, and what a smile at the end! She seems like the kind of person you would miss 🙁

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    So sorry to learn this–too young–and a brilliant musician.

  • Delphine1962 says:

    I am very shocked and saddened by this tragic news, as will be so many musicians and music lovers. I remember meeting Eva only once, to play for her at an orchestra audition: she was warm, extremely witty, completely grounded and actually put me at my ease, rather than the other way round, in a situation of the usual tension and nerves. She was a brilliant flautist and musician and I cherish that wonderful memory of meeting her and playing with her. I send my heartfelt condolences to her family, to her friends and colleagues – especially all those at BBC Wales.

  • Martin Furber says:

    Eva was not just a virtuoso player but a funny, generous warm hearted peson who had a smile for everyone. It was a privilege, as a keen supporter of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in Cardiff, to have known her for some years. She was an institution. None here will forget her piccolo renditions of ‘The Flight of the Bumble Bee’ ( dressed as a bee!!) at BBCNOW kids concerts, or her virtuosity in Shostakovich for instance. She will be hugely missed by her collegues (on summer break as this news broke), not least her partner Bill, a horn player in the orchestra. Our hearts go out to him, her collegues and family. RIP Eva..

  • DaveW says:

    Please ignore WINN, folks. It’s too early to say.

  • Bruce says:

    Winn — I wonder: when you die, what will it be from?

  • emma hargrave says:

    I went to school with Eva and we all admired and loved her deeply for her glorious musical talent, her generosity of spirit and her wicked sense of humour. While it’s heartbreaking to watch this clip and see that joyful wee smile, just as she was 30 years ago, I see too Eva’s delight and pleasure in her musicality and the human connection to so many others that it brings. Deepest condolences and sympathy to all her family and friends xxxx

  • Claire Webster Saaremets says:

    I have just been given the news about one of my closest friends Eva who introduced my husband Peter to me 16 years ago and was due to stay with us and play at our opening exhibition on 13th September 2017 .
    There are no words for this pain and loss – of a friend so talented yet generous in nature and with humour, and so caring about her firiends wellbeing. I am in deep shock. Please if anyone has any news or a contact for Bill please email me at
    I would be so grateful – thank you.

  • Mrs A. S. T. Simpson says:

    Since school days I’ve been a close friend of Eva’s mum (also Eva). I was a guest @ Hector & Eva’s wedding back in the 1960’s. Young Eva was born just months before my son, so not uncommon for we two young mothers to meet up with our prams + toddlers on tow. When Eva phoned me I was deeply shocked to learn of their beloved, much talented daughter’s passing. This world has lost & heaven has gained an exceptional musician. Eva RIP. Sylvia Simpson, Aberdeen, Scotland.

  • says:

    A brilliant musician who amazed Welsh audiences with her gifted performances. She was a warm person to be with and there was always laughter and kindness to be shared in her company.
    Eva’s talent will be sòrely missed in this neck of the woods. God bless you Eva. David Lloyd and Rose Billington, Aberystwyth

  • Shaun Lynch says:

    words cant describe how i feel at the moment shock and horror at the loss of one i loved dearly through guildhall to newcastle we were together never thought we would lose you so young my thoughts are with family Hector Eve Ruth your loss must be overbearing as is mine thinking of you love shaun

    • Hector and Eva Stewart says:

      Shaun: As Eva’s Mum and Dad we can’t tell you just how much your wonderful words are appreciated. We too remember the happy times you had with Eva – and some of the more surprising ones (remember ther Club in Hurst Street, Birmingham??) It was so kind of yopu to leave your comments and you have our warmest thanks.

  • Claire Webster Saaremets says:

    Shaun – my heart goes out to you.. and continues to Bill, Hector and Eva. Eva should have been staying with us today and playing at our opening exhibition ..which was her usual generosity and our amazing privilege.. yes, still can’t believe the news. Let our collective grief bring comfort to each other and eventually celebrate the spirit of Eva which has connected with the greater Love and Spirit.

  • Jane Law (nee Detheridge) says:

    I am beyond shocked and saddened to have learned of this terrible news. I sat next to Eva in our secondary school orchestra, a fellow flautist. Naturally Eva was in a completely different league to me, but she was always so modest and warm. We bumped into each other again outside the Royal Albert Hall only a few years ago – I had been at the Doctor Who Prom and obviously Eva was in the orchestra as a principal piccolo. We hugged after all those years and she took time to talk to both of my children, who were quite in awe of seeing a professional musician. She was generous and kind. Rest in Peace Eva. x

  • Diana Morgan says:

    I am so shocked to hear of Eva’s passing. I can’t really remember how I first met Eva – it would have been something related to story-telling or/and music here in Cardiff. I often bumped into Eva after that, more often than not she was with Bill. We were eating at the Vegetarian Food Studio when Eva spotted us (She and Bill were enjoying a meal at the same time). There was the usual bear hug, smile, laughter and a feeling that I was encountering a person who was simply love itself. Eva’s playing, especially on the piccolo, was so exquisite, sensitive and alive that I forgot everything but the wonderful sound she produced. Eva, may you be received with the same joy that you gave to us all. Bill and all of Eva’s family and friends, the candle that Eva lit in our hearts is still alive.

  • Diana Morgan says:

    So sad to hear about Eva. I met her through storytelling events and her music. She lived locally to me in Cardiff and I often bumped into her and Bill. At the Vegetarian Food Studio, for example, I received a typical greeting – a bear hug, laughter and generosity of spirit. I felt that I was embracing love itself. When Eva played the piccolo, I could only focus on her sensitive and brilliant rendering of the music. Bill, Eva’s family and close friends know that the candle she lit in our hearts is still burning brightly.

  • Catherine Mainstone says:

    Hector Stewart thank you for pointing me in this direction. The comments say it all. Generosity of spirit, wicked sense of humour. Sounds just like her mum and dad to me. Beautiful playing and beautiful smile. RIP Eva.

  • Mark Foster says:

    Sorry, Dear Eva, God Bless and rest you

  • David Woodhead says:

    As a teenager Eva was taught piano by my late wife, Joyce Woodhead: I know Eva passed some piano exams but it must have been by force of personality because most of the lessons seemed to be gales of laughter punctuated by the sound of a flute being accompanied by a piano – and I don’t think Joyce was playing the flute. One of the last occasions I heard them play together was at the televised finals of the woodwind class of the Young Musician of the Year. There may have been thirty years difference in their age but no difference in their innate musicality and professionalism. Joyce was happy to have met Eva and to know how well-thought-of she was as a musician: my memory of her is of a girl on the doorstep who was always going to make me smile.