Sharpest pair of ears leaves London Symphony Orchestra

Sharpest pair of ears leaves London Symphony Orchestra


norman lebrecht

December 15, 2020

Hilary Jones, known to her colleagues as ‘eagle ears’, has retired from the LSO after 35 years.

They won’t sound the same without her.

Tributes here.

Discography here.


  • Canon says:

    It’s well known in the profession that Ms Jones was very unfriendly to many, including her LSO colleagues and younger extras.

  • pianoguy says:

    have heard from others that she can be a tyrant when provoked by mediocrity – that alone makes her quite endearing. keeping standards up seems passe these days in some quarters.

    • Rogerio says:

      Isn’t that Trump’s motto?

      • Greg Bottini says:

        No, Rogerio – Trump is a tyrant when provoked by honesty.

      • William Safford says:

        No, no, piano guy wrote: “she can be a tyrant when provoked by mediocrity,” *not* that the Orange Enemy of the People *is* a mediocrity.

        • William Safford says:

          To be clear: I have no opinion about the cellist in question, and I do not wish to come across as equating her with the mediocrity that is the Orange Enemy of the People. That would be a profound and unwarranted insult indeed.

    • Anon says:

      In 20 years, my experience has been its perfectly possible to uphold the very highest standards while still being a generous, positive and supportive colleague. Plenty seem to manage it.

  • sam says:

    Having “eagle ears” for a musician is like having “eagle eyes” for a copy editor: sure they are right, in the technical sense, but they are also pedantic, thus ultimately superfluous in the artistic sense, in that, if no other human ear, not even other professionals, can detect the fault, then does it really matter?

    • Herr Doktor says:

      “No other human ear, not even other professionals” in the orchestra does not translate to no other human ear in the audience.

    • Bill says:

      There’s a difference between being able to tell that something is a bit off, and being able to tell just what it is, so that it can be fixed. And some don’t even realize that something is wrong, but nevertheless prefer the improved version.

  • Edgar Self says:

    “Only the mediocre are always at their best.” Mediocre literally means “halfway up the hill”.

  • Alexander T says: