London mourns a great orchestral leader

London mourns a great orchestral leader


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2021

Members of the London Symphony Orchestra have informed us of the death today of John Georgiadis, leader (concertmaster) of the London Symphony Orchestra in two periods between 1965 and 1979.

He published a memoir two years ago about his battles with principal conductor Andre Previn and with various of his colleagues, but John looked back with fondness in later years, when he became a music director himself in towns as far flung as Bristol and Bangkok.

He was also leader of the Gabrieli String Quatrtet.

In July 2019, John underwent surgery for a brain tumour.

Read an excerpt from his anti-maestro memoirs here.

See also: A memento



  • Michael Emmerson says:

    A tremendous loss for music and for his many friends. John was a great musician and a wonderful friend. He will be missed!

    • Angela Orgill says:

      We remember him well as also leader of CBSO, very sad day,
      Eric and Angela Orgill

    • Elena Duran says:

      John was a great mentor and colleague and a loyal and cherished friend.

    • Elena Durán says:

      John was a wonderful mentor and a great friend. I had the pleasure of working with him as a conductor and as a chamber musician for which I will always be thankful.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    A marvelous violinist and leader.
    And as any orchestra musician will tell you, a good leader is hard to find.
    R.I.P., Maestro Georgiadis.

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    Three great UK concertmasters dead this year. Barry Griffiths, Eric Gruenberg and now JG.

    Bless them all

  • Nick2 says:

    A wonderful musician RIP

    Out of curiosity, was he the LSO leader during the controversy when the MD John Boyden was sacked? And was that primarily a result of Boyden being against Previn?

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    I don’t usually pay much attention to Concert Masters because I’m not a string player. However, John Georgiadis really stood out. I thought he was terrific.

  • Misha says:

    The hands on the cover of John’s book belong to Horenstein, taken at a concert in the Fairfield Hall in February 1971, Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.

  • Keith Wellings says:

    Sad news. I remember him well as leader of the CBSO IN THE 1960’s and memorably playing the solo violin part in Heldenleben on Sir John Barbirolli’s 1969 recording with the LSO.

  • microview says:

    He makes an appearance in Dustin Hoffman’s debut film (as director) ‘Quartet’, about a retirement home for musicians.

    • BruceB says:

      Ohhhhhhhhh. Saw the movie, noticed the violinist. Didn’t know who he was, but thought he had a little too much charisma to be “just some guy.”

  • Graeme Keith Hall says:

    I remember a scene in one of Previn’s Music Night TV programmes when JG played a brief Hubay piece and Previn asked “Who was that by?”, “Hubay”, “Yes, that’s what I want to know, who is it by?” etc etc. Silly I know, but made me laugh at the time.

  • Daniel James Hudson says:

    I am extremely saddened to hear of the passing of John Georgiadis, a musical legend and utterly unique personality. He brought me over to Thailand to join the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra’s violins in 1995, the most unbelievable experience of my life to put it mildly! I only wish I’d also been able to work with him when he was reigning as one of the top concertmasters ever. His extensive recorded legacy will endure, no doubt about that.

  • Mario Melgar says:

    John was my brother in law and besides a great musician, and a great golfer he was a very nice human being.

  • Malcolm Riley says:

    I had the great honour of working with John and Tony Halstead for a Deal Town Hall recital several years ago, which included the Brahms’ Horn Trio and a Delius violin Sonata. He was fastidious in rehearsal – ever so slightly scarily – but an inspiration nonetheless. His home movies (posted on YouTube) are a priceless resource, including cameos inter alia from John Ogdon, Sir William Walton, Benjamin Britten and Madeleine Dring (in Florida). John’s Lyrita recording of Moeran’s Violin Concerto is well worth hearing.