Erik Knussen dies, at 92

Erik Knussen dies, at 92


norman lebrecht

June 28, 2020

The formidable Erik, uncle of the composer Ollie Knussen and brother of the LSO’s Stuart, has died at a great age.

He was a stalwart of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for 40 years, as a tuba player, double bass and administrator.



  • Nick2 says:

    I well remember Erik, a key figure in the SNO (it did not use the RSNO title until the mid-1990s) during its glory years with Alexander Gibson prowling backstage at concert halls and in the theatres for Scottish Opera performances. He always made sure everyone was ready. Formidable, definitely, but also a kindly man. RIP

    • Zelda Macnamara says:

      Yes, I remember that time too – those concerts with Alexander Gibson were a major part of my musical education. I watched the musicians in the orchestra like a hawk, and I remember Erik well. RIP.

  • David Richardson says:

    I’m sad that Erik has gone, even after such a long life. He was the Orchestra Manager during my years as General Administrator of the (then not yet Royal) Scottish National Orchestra from 1972 to 1980. More than a stalwart, he was a rock. A calm authoritative presence backstage, in the rehearsal hall and on tour, respected by the musicians, always attentive, always friendly, maintaining a proper managerial distance and viewing things with a quiet and slightly ironic sense of humour. I don’t think I ever heard him raise his voice, but occasional flashes of impatience were revealed by narrowed eyes and an emphatic deliberation in his speech. He was completely loyal to Alex Gibson and to me, a wonderfully reliable and valued colleague. The photograph at the head of this article is one I remember well, dating from about 1971. It was part of the briefing pack I received when I took up the job. I think it shows Erik as I have tried to describe him. Thank you Erik.