Helen Mirren: My father played viola in the London Philharmonic

Helen Mirren: My father played viola in the London Philharmonic


norman lebrecht

July 01, 2020

In her introduction to the Israel Philharmonic webcast this weekend, the actress recalled that her father, Vasily Mironov, played viola in the London Philharmonic ‘before the war’.

We asked the LPO to check and, unable to get into their archives, they confirm that he played but are under the impression it was ‘in the late 1940s’.

At some point he changed his name to Basil Mirren and became a taxi driver.

Anyone know more?


  • Alexander says:

    I always knew that Helen was Russian but never thought her dad played viola. Maybe you can contact her directly to interview her another day …

  • Philip Ward says:

    In her autobiography, In the Frame, she says of her father (b. 1913): “He was musical and as a young man made his living playing the viola. Some of my earliest memories are of my father playing Bruch on the viola, though he was no longer a professional musician but that time, the Second World War having put an end to that career.”

  • Andrew Condon says:

    Thomas Russell’s book “Philharmonic Decade” includes a list of players in the LPO from 1932 – 1943. I can’t see anyone named Mironov listed there

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Surely the daughter knows what her father did for a living better than anybody here on SD. But from viola player to taxi driver? Perhaps the war ruined many musical careers as well as the other horrors brought upon the people.

    I can’t stand Helen Mirren; she’s cold, humourless and condescending. But let’s try and get the facts straight about her father, of whom she is likely to be very proud.

  • Terence says:


    Well, ‘my father knew Lloyd George’

    [Not sure who else remembers that song]