London mourns principal viola

London mourns principal viola


norman lebrecht

May 30, 2020

The death has been reported of Rusen Gunes, long-serving principal viola of the London Philharmonic and the BBC Symphony orchestras, and a popular face on the South Bank stage.

Rusen, originally from Ankara, was 80.

He joined the LPO as principal in 1979 and the BBC in 1988, stepping down in 2000.


  • Julian says:

    A great Principal Violist and a great guy. RIP Rusen.

    • Michael Turner says:

      Exactly so Julian. A huge personality in every sense. A terrific violist and musician, but also a great gentleman.
      A fabulous photograph as well Norman- it sums him up very well.

  • Chris Laurence says:

    Such sad news! A great musician with real moral fibre and character! He used to make us laugh with his Turkish translations of English sentences!
    Bu mutfak bizim için çok büyük, daha küçük bir mutfak yapabilir misin? Courtesy of Google translate. It says “this kitchen is far too big for us can we have a smaller one”
    Rusen absolutely adored and embraced every aspect of British humour, from the Goons to contemporary comedy! He was a very proud to be Anglo Turkish. We will miss him!
    Chris Laurence

  • Robert Roy says:

    Very sad news. A great Viola player.

  • Frank Schaefer says:

    What a great violist and one of the funniest people I know. I would often drop him home after working a full day, we’d stop off and have a pint in one of his locals and I’d hear yet another anecdote….he was full of them. He also had a remarkable memory for peoples names and dates and events. A unique and well loved man. I will miss him.