Philharmonic plays with flowers on late violist’s seat

Philharmonic plays with flowers on late violist’s seat


norman lebrecht

November 11, 2019

In a touching gesture, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra played last weekend’s concert with a bouquet of flowers on the seat formerly occupied by Valerie Heywood, a violist in the orchestra for nearly 35 years.

Valerie, 67, had died suddenly at home, a day after her final concert.

She was promoted to associate principal violist in 2017.

Read here.



  • I was the conductor for the week and not only was the flower a touching tribute, but the first cellist spoke at the start of the program and then the Bach Air was played by the string section with one of the violinists leading the performance. This was a loving and heartfelt way of remembrance.

    • David Daniel Bowes says:

      Maestro Slatkin, no doubt you conducted there before. Valerie was Principal Viola of the BPO for over 30 years before stepping back into a section position. She was featured as a soloist with the BPO many times, in works such as the Mozart Sinfonie Concertante (2016), the Concerto for Viola and Clarinet by Bruch, and the Richard Strauss “Don Quixote” with cellist Lynn Harrell. She was a superb musician. My friend for 45 memorable years. She inspired and informed my viola playing, as well!

      • Maria says:

        Time this American ‘maestro’ title was dropped for conductors whose facilitators, as one eminent British conductor said this week.

        A great loss for everyone in that orchestra and so sudden.

  • Jeanne says:

    Ms. Heywood actually stepped down from many years as principal viola in 2017 to associate principal. She was an exceptional person as well as an exceptional violist.