The Beatles’ principal viola, 100 next month, is walking 10k for charity

The Beatles’ principal viola, 100 next month, is walking 10k for charity


norman lebrecht

June 22, 2020

The name Kenneth Essex is known to untold numbers of music lovers. Ken was a member of the Hurwitz Quartet, which played backing for the Beatles’ Yesterday, as well as principal viola of the Royal Philharmonic and London Symphony orchestras.

He’s now 99 and in fine shape – except for his eyes, for which he is receiving treatment for macular degeneration.

So he’s walking 10 kilometres for charity to raise funds for Moorfields Eye Hospital. He aims to finish a day before his 100th birthday.

You can help here.





  • Don says:

    Did he also play on Eleanor Rigby? Great accompaniment.

    • Jan Kaznowski says:

      He made a stack of money playing the theme to “Fawlty Towers”. Good for him – and a very nice man (I met him)

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    A nice interview with him here

  • V.Lind says:

    These wrinklies, whom some of the more callous have batted aside along with “people with co-morbidities” as an irrelevance in their rush to see theatres return to their pre-C-19 form, have been leading the way since all this began.

    For once, they have been taking the place they always should, as an inspiration to us all and as beacons of the wisdom and kindness and experience I grew up believing — and seeing.

    You go, Mr. Essex!

  • Michael Hurwitz says:

    The Hurwitz Quartet didn’t play on any of the Beatles’ records, alas. If they had, I would have been enjoying royalties from them! Ken did, but the recordings were made long after the HSQ had ceased to exist.

  • violin accordion says:

    I often called him in the 80s to play in quartets/string orchestras In Hotels, country houses etc.
    He was always happy to play for decent fees regardless of the venue