Leipzig snatches Dresden’s English violist

Leipzig snatches Dresden’s English violist


norman lebrecht

September 11, 2019

Luke Turrell, an English violist from Sevenoaks in Kent, has just won the 1st solo viola position at the Leipzig Gewandhaus.

After leaving the Berlin Philharmonic Academy, Luke has spent the past four years as a section player in the Staatskapelle Dresden.


You could say that.

Leipzig loves to rub salt in Dresden wounds.


  • batonbaton says:

    Very nice! Good for him 🙂
    Some employers only realise what they had when the good people are gone.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    I was amused to see that at the top of his CV it says
    “Luke has never played the violin”

    • Shimi says:

      I dont know quite understand the pride in that… or is it the feeling inferiority? It’s the same as contrabassonist having in his CV “I have never played basson” or bass clarinetist “I have never played clarinet”… Being a professional violinist who plays viola regularly, I feel rather sad about this..:(

      • Gerry Feinsteen says:

        Considering violists are frequently told they need to learn violin first, it is a source of great pride to violists that many great(est) violists began on viola—like Lawrence Power and Tabea Zimmermann.
        The analogy to bassoon and contrabassoon is rather silly. Contrabassoon is a utility instrument, viola is not. Try majoring in contrabassoon

      • Bruce says:

        Not the same. The wind instruments you mention are subspecialties of the main instruments. Viola — somebody please correct me if I’m wrong — is not a subspecialty of the violin.

        It is possible (although it may be hard for a violinist to see) to become a violist by starting out on the viola.

        I believe Mr. Terrell is pushing back, playfully or nearly so, against the stereotype that violists are all failed violinists.

  • axl says:

    Yeyy!!! Leipzig’s solo viola episode is over and Yu Sun’s former spot is finally filled! Congrats to Luke! Well done!
    Now they have all 1. solo violas, all solo violas (No. 2) and associate principal’s (No. 3) in their viola section!

  • Tamino says:

    He first won a tutti job in Dresden.
    No solo position available there.
    He then won a solo position in Leipzig, which was opening up there. End of story.
    Nobody snatched anyone or rubbed salt anywhere.
    I know… boring… no clickbait.

  • Hartmut Rohde says:

    Proud of my longterm student

  • Proud of my son. I started teaching him the viola at age 5 as he showed a natural attraction to the instrument. He has proved us all right and you don’t need to learn the violin first

    • norman lebrecht says:


      • Gerhard von der Linde says:

        Dear Mr. Lebrecht,
        in Leipzig can we musiclovers now be happy, because the Gewandhausorchester has after his Probation now voted, to confirm Mr. Turrell on this position. I am sure not alone, looking forward to soon experiencing this now stronger string-apparatus! Congratulations to Mr. Turrell and the Orchestra.
        Yours sincerely,
        Gerhard von der Linde