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Celebrating the life of Sara Lovell Love, Life, Death and Transfiguration

In support of



JAZZ MEETS BRISTOL SYMPHONY WITH GET THE BLESSING ​Jake McMurchie, Tenor Saxophone Pete Judge, Trumpet Jim Barr, Bass Clive Deamer, Drums ​ BRISTOL SYMPHONY 70-piece orchestra William Goodchild, Conductor Pamela Bell, Principal Leader Tickets on sale now via our website: www.bristolsymphonyorchestra.com

SATURDAY 24th NOV CLIFTON CATHEDRAL 8PM ​ A NIGHT AT THE OPERA SOLOISTS FROM LONGBOROUGH OPERA CITY OF BRISTOL CHOIR BRISTOL SYMPHONY In support of St Peter’s Hospice Room to Care Appeal Tickets on sale via our website from September 1st: www.bristolsymphonyorchestra.com ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Sara Lovell Nicholas Oliver Charlie Lovell-Jones Rebecca Evans Keith Tempest William Goodchild Bristol Symphony Simon Lovell-Jones Stephen Lovell Mark and Susi Lovell Vivien Arthur



Helen and Peter Wilde for their enthusiasm and continuing support of Bristol Symphony.


Design: Rachel Goodchild Editor: Jane Krish Notes: Michael Ray and Charlie Lovel-Jones Paintings: Sara Lovell Photos: Rosa Fay Photography

Celebrating the life of Sara Lovell


FROM THE CONDUCTOR Dear All, Welcome to this evening’s concert, which for us is a very special one: a celebration of the life of our dear friend and fellow musician, Sara Lovell. Thank you for joining us, and I do hope you enjoy this wonderful programme. Each of the soloists in tonight’s performance has a deep connection with Sara, either as a family member or as a long term friend. As an orchestra, we last played with Sara in June 2016, when she gave an astonishingly beautiful performance of Schumann’s Cello Concerto. Our concert concludes this evening with one of Sara’s favourite works for solo cello and strings, Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile. William Goodchild

FROM SIMON LOVELL-JONES Dear All, The family is so grateful to William and Bristol Symphony Orchestra for the concert today – and of course to everyone who is here to support them. Thank you to Nick, to Charlie, Rebecca and Keith. We hope this wonderful concert in this amazing venue will remind you of someone who lit up people’s lives and made them more beautiful. Simon Lovell-Jones

PROGRAMME Wagner Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 Interval Lovell-Jones Cariad Cyntaf (First Love) Strauss Death and Transfiguration Tchaikovsky Andante cantabile

Social media @BristolSymphony www.bristolsymphonyorchestra.com Love, Life, Death and Transfiguration


PROGRAMME NOTES RICHARD WAGNER 1813 – 1883 Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde In 1863 Liebestod, or “love death”, the final aria from Tristan and Isolde, was first presented in concert, together with the opera’s prelude, two years before the stage premiere of the whole piece. The first full performance was delayed because there was a perception by the orchestra that it was unplayable, with one performance being abandoned after seventy-seven rehearsals. Tristan and Isolde tells of the love of Tristan (a Knight in the service of King Marke of Cornwall) for Isolde, an Irish princess promised in marriage to the elderly King. But Isolde falls in love with Tristan, and when their love is discovered, he is mortally wounded by a knight loyal to King Marke. In the final scene, Isolde travels to reach Tristan but arrives too late and he dies in her arms. As she sings the Liebestod, she imagines him waking and returning to life, is transfigured and, with the vision of Tristan beckoning her to the world beyond, she herself dies across his body. Few operas before the 20th century have inspired such varied reactions as Tristan and Isolde, it being Wagner’s most harmonically complex composition to date. Berlioz, who had unsettled the musical world thirty years earlier with his Symphonie Fantastique wrote of “... a slow piece, with no other theme than a sort of chromatic moan, full of dissonances.” Brahms claimed that looking at the score had put him in a bad mood for the rest of the day, and Clara Schumann described the whole opera as being “the most disgusting thing” she had ever seen or heard in her life. On the other hand Elgar, on hearing the Liebestod in a concert, wrote in his programme, “I shall never forget this,” describing the work as “the best of this world and the next.” The harmonic tensions throughout the opera are only resolved with the final cadences of the Liebestod, when Tristan lies dead in Isolde’s arms. The chromaticism and dissonance observed by Berlioz pointed the way to atonality in modern music. Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde profoundly influenced many twentieth century composers, including Mahler, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Richard Strauss and Britten.

SERGEI RACHMANINOV 1873 – 1943 Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor Opus 18 (i) Moderato (ii) Adagio sostenuto (iii) Allegro scherzando Rachmaninov’s sound was rooted in the 1800s and with the Russian nationalist composers dating back to Glinka and Tchaikovsky, but he was essentially a figure of the 20th century. He was also one of the greatest pianists of his day. Trained as a pianist as well as a composer in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, Rachmaninov focused on the piano in both composition and performance, his second piano concerto being the one that made his reputation. He composed it between the autumn of 1900 and the spring of 1901, and followed the poor reception of his first symphony, an understandable setback to his musical ambitions (despite the acclaim it earned later). Long troubled by clinical depression, Rachmaninov was fortunate to have the support of friends and colleagues who, following


Celebrating the life of Sara Lovell

PROGRAMME NOTES the failure of the first symphony, encouraged him to rededicate himself to piano composition. One can hear the brooding depressive as well as the ardent romantic in every bar. In the first movement, an opening of intense foreboding builds through a series of powerful, chiming chords by the soloist. As the tension builds, the piano breaks into a sweeping main theme that is taken up by the violins, which quickly engulfs the entire orchestra. Slow chords in the strings open the familiar second movement, which has been used in movies and as background music to convey the pleasure of love anticipated, and the pain of love unfulfilled. The best known example is David Lean’s 1945 film Brief Encounter. The overall mood of the adagio is melancholy, yet this tinge of sadness does not overwhelm, perhaps balanced by the sense of romance and melodic richness. The adagio can also be said to have saved Rachmaninov’s life: he discussed it with friends and colleagues as he was writing and their reactions made him feel more positive about his future composing prospects. The concerto ends in a flourish of virtuosity and confidence that may well reflect his increasing optimism as he composed the work. Notes by Michael Ray

INTERVAL CHARLIE LOVELL-JONES b. 1999 Cariad Cyntaf I wrote Cariad Cyntaf in the summer of 2016. Writing for a Welsh St David’s Day concert, I wanted to set something traditional, a poem which was a big part of the Welsh cultural heritage, but to put my own spin on it. I settled on Cariad Cyntaf, a short, simple folk poem: the simple linguistic surface belies a huge wealth of emotion beneath. Composed of three stanzas, it conveys the pleas of an unrequited lover to his love. The main theme recurs at these three points, articulating the three emotional peaks of the poem in different ways, whilst around it differing themes interweave to connect the turbulent emotions of the lover in one romantic flow, just like the language does in the poem. Part of the reason I chose Cariad Cyntaf was because it has already been set, anonymously – the melody of the poem is as much a part of its traditional origin as the words themselves. It’s an incredibly simple setting, beautiful and moving, but I decided to push the emotional impact of the poem to a much larger scale than the original. I wanted to tease as much out of the words as I could, so I reduced the original song to a few melodic units which pay homage to the original throughout my composition, and proceeded to compose my own rendition from there. Love, Life, Death and Transfiguration


PROGRAMME NOTES I also decided to use an intensely Romantic musical style. In my orchestrations and harmonies, I draw inspiration from Late Romantic composers such as Richard Strauss and Anton Bruckner in order to produce the musical effects I want to associate with the rich language of the poetry. Using their orchestral vernacular as a starting point, I then channelled the sound world of this era through my own understanding of it to compose my piece. The result is clearly in homage to their style, a style I believe to be universal in its reach and which I wanted to use to communicate my interpretation of the poem. In so doing, the piece is formed and bound together by my own concept of the text and of the music, making this a hybrid of Welsh culture, Romantic musical language and my own expression. It was a pleasure, a thrill and honestly, a dream come true, to write this piece for BBC NOW and the incredible Rebecca Evans. I’ll never forget the feeling of premiering it with them in St David’s Hall in 2017, and it is such a delight to be able to bring it to Bristol tonight. I hope you enjoy it! Note by Charlie Lovell-Jones

RICHARD STRAUSS 1864 – 1949 Death and Transfiguration (Tod und Verklärung) Richard Strauss came from a very conservative family. His father was the principal horn player in the Munich Court Orchestra, who considered Brahms a radical and intensely disliked Wagner’s music. He had played in the first performance of Tristan and Isolde and forbade his son to listen to Wagner. Having assimilated the music of the early and middle nineteenth century, Strauss soon felt restricted by this style. After attending a performance of Tristan and Isolde in 1888, he was totally captivated, much to his father’s disgust. A year later he composed Death and Transfiguration, a symphonic poem that pays homage to Tristan. Nothing could have been more ‘modern’ in the late nineteenth century than the symphonic poem – a bold attempt to create drama without words and to test music’s expressive powers to the fullest using unique musical features to reflect the title of the work. The work’s underlying idea is explained in a letter written by Strauss in 1894: “It was six years ago that it occurred to me to present, in the form of a tone poem, the dying hours of a man who had striven towards the highest idealistic aims, maybe indeed those of an artist. The sick man lies in bed, asleep, with heavy irregular breathing; friendly dreams conjure a smile on the features of the deeply suffering man; he awakes; he is once more wracked with horrible agonies; his limbs shake with fever – as the attack passes and the pains leave off, his thoughts wander through his past life; his childhood passes before him, the time of his youth with its strivings and passions and then, as the pains already begin to return, there appears to him the fruit of his life’s path, the conception, the ideal which he has sought to realise, to present artistically, but which he has not been able to complete, since it is not for man to be able to accomplish such things. The hour of death approaches, the soul leaves the body in order to find gloriously achieved in everlasting space those things which could not be fulfilled here below.”


Celebrating the life of Sara Lovell

PROGRAMME NOTES Strauss’s music influenced many composers of the twentieth century, including Bartók, Szymanowski and Elgar. When he lay dying in 1949, he said to his daughter-in-law: “Funny thing, Alice, dying is just the way I composed it in Death and Transfiguration.”

PYOTR IIYCH TCHAIKOVSKY 1840 – 1893 Andante cantabile Op 11 - from String Quartet No 1 “Never in my life have I felt so flattered, never have I been so proud of my creative powers as when Leo Tolstoy sat in the chair next to mine listening to my andante, and the tears ran down his cheeks,” wrote Tchaikovsky in 1876 during a special concert organised for the famed writer at the Moscow Conservatory. The second movement of Tchaikovsky’s String Quartet No 1, the Andante cantabile, has enjoyed a second life in many versions, including for full string orchestra, cello solo and orchestra accompaniment, and various other instrumental combinations. In the quartet, the movement is set in B flat major, but the orchestral version is transposed to the key of B major. The opening theme is based on the Russian folk song Sidel Vanya, the words of which are unremarkable: “Vanya sat on a divan and smoked a pipe of tobacco”. Tchaikovsky often took sounds or melodies that he heard in his environment and incorporated them into his compositions. In the summer of 1869, he heard a carpenter whistling the folk song at his sister’s home in Kamenka in the Ukraine and was immediately struck by its beauty. From the first note our emotions are at the mercy of the music; the second theme, the composer’s own, provides a radiant contrast which is wistful and ethereal rather than melancholy. Note by Michael Ray

Painting by Sara Lovell

Love, Life, Death and Transfiguration




Nicholas Oliver was born in London. He spent four years at the Purcell School for young musicians before gaining a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied with Jean Anderson. Postgraduate studies continued at the Royal Northern College of Music with Marjorie Clementi, Martin Roscoe and Ka Kit Tam. He won several prizes at both colleges for solo and chamber music performances including the RAM’s Elsie Cross Prize for performance of twentieth century piano music and the Christian Carpenter Award for piano accompaniment. Nicholas won the Young Pianist of the Year Award in 1984 and second prize at the 1991 Dudley International Piano Competition, since when he has been enjoying a successful and varied performing career. He is particularly active in the field of chamber music and is a frequent performer at music societies and festivals throughout the UK.

He has appeared several times at London’s South Bank, the Wigmore Hall and at most of Britain’s major concert halls. A performance of Elgar’s Violin Sonata in a Purcell Room recital was acclaimed in The Strad magazine for its “whimsical playing, powerful, serene and grand with immaculate ensemble and balance”. Cellist Richard May and Nicholas were prize-winners in the inaugural EMI Jacqueline du Pré competition for cello and piano duos. Following one of their many recitals, a critic for The Times wrote of the Shostakovich Sonata “simply one of the most gripping performances I have heard”. Nicholas has undertaken concert tours in many European countries and has also performed in the Americas, Australia, Africa and Asia. He has broadcast frequently on radio and released several recordings. In addition to his performing career, Nicholas is much in demand as a tutor and coach, is an experienced adjudicator and he is an examiner in the UK and internationally for ABRSM. He has taught piano and ensembles at the Junior School of the RNCM where he was also on the accompaniment staff at the senior college. Since 2003, he has been Head of Piano Accompaniment at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. He is also a founder member of The Commonwealth Resounds, an organisation dedicated to promoting music and musicians across the Commonwealth; in that capacity he has worked in Africa, Australia, Malta, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean as well as in the UK. Nicholas was made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 1997 and was elected to the Royal Society of Musicians in 2000.


Celebrating the life of Sara Lovell

18 year old Charlie Lovell-Jones, the violinist from Cardiff, has been described as one of the most promising young violinists in the UK. Since his Royal Festival Hall debut at 15 when he played The Lark Ascending, Charlie’s solo engagements have included appearances with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, the RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin and the English Chamber Orchestra. He has simultaneously directed and performed Vaughan-Williams’ Concerto Accademico with Silk Street Sinfonia and has performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Young Musicians’ Symphony Orchestra in St John’s Smith Square.



Charlie has won numerous prestigious competitions for instrumentalists in Wales and the UK, including the coveted Blue Riband Instrumental Prize at the National Eisteddfod. Much in demand as a recitalist, he enjoys talking to audiences about the music he plays. With the support of Cardiff City Council and the Welsh Livery Guild, he has studied for the past six summers at the Cambridge International String Academy, working with international violinists Rodney Friend and Yuzuko Horigome. For three years, he led the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain, where he was awarded Leverhulme Scholarships. Charlie is the youngest ever player with the John Wilson Orchestra, with whom he performed at the 2017 BBC Proms. He has also performed with the Nidum Ensemble and London Concertante. Charlie is the youngest person to receive the prestigious Composer’s Medal for under 25s at the Urdd Eisteddfod. Following this, the BBC National Orchestra of Wales asked Charlie to write tonight’s piece for orchestra with solo violin and soprano. Charlie’s tone poem, Cariad Cyntaf, or First Love, was premiered by BBC NOW, international soprano Rebecca Evans and Charlie at St David’s Hall as part of their St David’s Day celebratory concert in 2017. It was broadcast live on BBC Radio Cymru to great acclaim. Charlie studies music at Oxford University. Since starting in Autumn 2017, he has given recitals at the Beaminster Festival, Rhosygilwen International Concert Series, a number of concerto performances and played with the John Wilson Orchestra in their tour covering the length and breadth of Britain. Charlie studies with the eminent violinist Rodney Friend, former leader of the London and New York Philharmonic Orchestras. He currently plays an important Italian violin made by G B Guadagnini from the distinguished firm J & Arthur Beare, loaned to him by a generous benefactor.

Love, Life, Death and Transfiguration




Rebecca was born in South Wales, and studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Highlights in Rebecca’s 2017/18 season include the title role in Rodelinda for the English National Opera, Erste Dame Die Zauberflöte for the Royal Opera and her role debut as Alice Ford in concert performances of Falstaff with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko. She has sung Contessa Le nozze di Figaro, Mimì La bohème, Pamina Die Zauberflöte, Zerlina Don Giovanni and Despina Così fan tutte at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Ginevra Ariodante, Despina, Ilia Idomeneo and Susanna Le nozze di Figaro at the Bayerische Staaatsoper, Munich and Despina at the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin. At the English National Opera she has sung the title role in Rodelinda, Governess The Turn of the Screw and Romilda Xerxes and Ginevra.

Her many roles for the Welsh National Opera have included the Marschallin Der Rosenkavalier, Angelica Orlando, Liu Turandot, Mimì, Contessa, Pamina and Gretel Hänsel und Gretel. In the USA she has sung Susanna and Zerlina for the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Susanna in Santa Fe; Pamina and Adèle Die Fledermaus for the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Zerlina, Anne Trulove The Rake’s Progress and Adina L’elisir d’amore for the San Francisco Opera. In concert, she has appeared at the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Tanglewood and Ravinia Festivals and she is a regular guest at the BBC Proms. Recent highlights have included Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester/Blomstedt and with the London Symphony Orchestra/Gardiner, A Child of our Time with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg/Rizzi, The Apostles with the Hallé Orchestra/Elder and Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Pappano. A Grammy Award winning artist, she has recorded prolifically including Marzelline, Pamina and Gretel with Sir Charles Mackerras, Ilia with David Parry and Laila with Brad Cohen (Chandos); Nanetta with Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Philips); a series of Gilbert and Sullivan recordings with Sir Charles Mackerras and a solo recording of Italian songs (EMI). Rebecca is a Trustee of the Colwinston Charitable Trust and patron of several charities, among them Shelter Cymru, Ty Hapus and Music in Hospitals Cymru/Wales.


Celebrating the life of Sara Lovell

Keith has worked with the Bournemouth Symphony and Welsh National Opera orchestras, was principal cellist for the Emerald (now Bristol) Ensemble and a number of other chamber music ensembles. He has performed for many British music festivals and music societies but is best known for his work as the cellist in Bath’s Pump Room Trio, a position he has held for 30 years. Alongside his playing career, he teaches at Bath Spa University. His work also includes recitals playing Baroque cello and the viola da gamba.



Painting by Sara Lovell

OUR CHARITY In support of

HELP MUSICIANS UK BRITAIN’S LEADING INDEPENDENT MUSIC CHARITY Music is a wonderful gift, but musicians’ lives can be tough and they may need help at times when facing difficulty. Help Musicians UK, the leading charity for musicians in the UK is a vital lifeline. Sara greatly appreciated their all encompassing support which was delivered in a personal and compassionate way. Since 1921, Help Musicians UK has provided help, support and opportunities to empower musicians at all stages of their lives whilst striving to create a sustainable future for all musicians and those who work in the industry. Working in partnership, Help Musicians UK aims to transform the music industry through advocacy, campaigning, programmes and targeted investment for all those within it. Love, Life, Death and Transfiguration




William Goodchild is a professional composer and conductor. He writes music for film, television, concert performance and commercial installation. Specialising in wildlife documentary, Will has scored well over 80 films for the major broadcasters including many that have won international awards. In 2016, for BBC Natural World, Return of the Giant Killers – Africa’s Lion Kings, he was nominated for Best Composer at the RTS West of England Awards; at Wildscreen Festival 2016, he was nominated for the Music Award, for Jago – a Life Underwater. This score was also nominated for the RTS West of England Awards 2017 Best Composer category. For Living Spirit Pictures’ drama short Seeing Him, Will won Best Score from the Hollywood International Moving Pictures Film Festival 2017.

On stage and in the recording studio, Will has collaborated with a wide variety of international soloists including guitarist John Williams, singer Tom Jones, and saxophonist Andy Sheppard. Will’s passion for working across styles led to a live and recorded collaboration with Mercury Prize-Winner, Roni Size & Reprazent, and their album, Live at Colston Hall, was released in November 2015. Also at the Colston Hall, with Sir David Attenborough presenting, Will orchestrated and conducted the BBC’s Nature’s Great Events Live to a sell-out audience. The BBC’s Wild China series, orchestrated and conducted by Will, won an Emmy for Sound and Music. Many recordings conducted by Will are available to buy on Sony Classical, Universal Classical and Jazz, and CBS Records. He has worked regularly with a number of professional orchestras including the BBC Concert Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Bristol Ensemble. Will is Artistic Director and Conductor of Bristol Symphony Orchestra.

VICTORIA MEDLAND GUEST LEADER Vickie was taken to Saturday music classes from toddlerhood, and was fortunate to benefit from free tuition at Swindon Young Musicians. At the age of 7, she attended an orchestral concert and immediately announced that she “wanted to be that one that plays at the front”. The dye was cast, and she took up the violin soon afterwards. She developed a keen interest in chamber and orchestral playing in her teenage years, participating in Pro Corda and National Children’s Orchestra, and co-leading the National Schools Symphony Orchestra. During A-levels she studied at the Junior Royal Academy of Music where she led the winning quintet in their chamber music competition.


Celebrating the life of Sara Lovell


She later went to Bristol University to study medicine, whilst making music with the University Singers, leading the Cabot Quartet and Bristol University Symphony Orchestra under the stewardship of John Pickard. Vickie has been playing with Bristol Symphony Orchestra since May 2017, having had an extended break from playing after university to focus instead on being a junior doctor, and, more recently, a mother. She recommenced playing on the instructions of her brother (former principal trumpet, Peter) who informed her one weekend that he had submitted an application on her behalf!


Victoria Medland (Guest Leader) Monique Ayres Giorgina Baxter Lauren Bose Carys Bromby Kate Fox Jessye Lennie Harry Mumford-Turner Robert Tulloh Eloise Wyke Jeremy Zwiegelaar

SECOND VIOLIN Lucie Breton Nasser Ahmari Imogen Armstrong Lorella Donmart Naomi Hill Minkee Kim Gemma Nelson Jo Phillips Kenneth Price Josie Rampley Rebecca Smith


Anita Urgyan Heather Ashford Alexia Granatt Oliver Kohlls Nick Livermore


Keith Tempest Will Marriage Vivien Arthur May-Lin Lui Jayne Taylor Kathryn Thomas Sarah Vesty Catherine Warner Rhiannon Wilkinson

DOUBLE BASS Rob Lillis Clare Edmunds Alex Pearson Martin Sanders



Dave Ransom Sophie Brown Holly Greenwood-Rogers Kaitlyn Hamilton Paul Tomlinson Maria Vitale


Anna Hughes Simon Bowles Steven Topp


Will Whiting Carolyn Chandler Barry Scott

Pippa Craggs Jane Lings Sarah Minns



Joshua Cottam

Sophie Wilsdon Sarah Edgeworth James Stallwood

OBOE & COR ANGLAIS Olivia Diskin Victoria Cooper Christopher Burt

Simon Derrick



Joe Hillyer David Insua-Cao


Laurette Pope Kate Pearson

BASSOON & CONTRA BASSOON Daisy Woods Diana Lee Mike Johnson Love, Life, Death and Transfiguration



SARA LOVELL DEC 2 1963 - FEB 23 2017

BY SIMON LOVELL-JONES It still seems incredible that the musical dynamo and polymath Sara Lovell, is not out there somewhere: hurrying to a concert, to a lesson, a gallery or an airfield in the South West or perhaps beyond. As a professional cellist she was in demand internationally. She toured from Canada to Switzerland. Her recording of the complete Bach Cello Suites was highly acclaimed. She carried the most prestigious qualifications from both the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and the Royal College of Music in London. She taught with passion and commitment, delighting in her pupils’ progress and successes. She coached cello for the National Children’s Orchestra. Her first published book, Cellotude, was welcomed by authorities including Chetham’s School of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. As a professional artist, Sara worked in a variety of media particularly oils and acrylics, delighting in studies of animals and landscapes of Wales. All of them filled with minute detail and a love of the subjects studied: usually cats. As a flying instructor she taught in a range of aircraft, inspected airports and finally worked as a consultant. Sara’s energy and passion powered through everything she did - music, painting, flying, sailing, ballroom dancing, ice skating even advanced driving. But her enthusiasm was most evident in helping other people. Throughout her battle with cancer, people naturally brought their problems to her. In the words of her closest friend: She was a wonderful companion and although exceptionally talented and intelligent, she took such pleasure from the smallest of treats. She made everything beautiful. Although blighted by illness since 1991 she had this constant optimism that the next day would be better. They enjoyed incredible holidays and outings and both loved music with a passion. Sara Lovell sadly passed away after a long battle with cancer on Thursday 23rd February, but her spirit, it seems, will never leave us.


Celebrating the life of Sara Lovell



Sara and I grew up together – our childhood homes were 2 miles apart in Hertfordshire and we attended the same secondary school for a few years. It was there, in an unusually active and high profile music department for a state school, that we first collaborated as musicians and this developed into a musical partnership that endured until Sara’s untimely death. We performed most of the major works in the cello and piano repertoire, as well as many of the lesser known ones in venues both large and small across the land including on several occasions this very hall in which we are remembering her this evening. She was a big personality, with a limitless capacity to cherish her friends, inspire her students and set us all an example of what hard work, commitment and dedication can achieve. And her achievements were enormous, in many fields as well as music. I remember vividly sitting in the back of a very small aircraft hurtling over the fields of Buckinghamshire with Sara at the controls, and you can see an example of her wonderful artistic skills on tonight’s programme cover.

Our last concert was in October 2016 – Sara was already quite unwell with a recurrence of the illness that was to take her from us only 4 months later, but she prepared for it with all her usual gusto and she played with undimmed energy and enthusiasm on the night, finishing with Brahms’s mighty Sonata in F major, a work that will now always have special resonance for me whenever I play it. Her only concession to the situation was to agree, slightly grumpily, with my suggestion that we omit the exposition repeat in the first movement! Alas, it turned out to be almost the last time she was able to play, but how apt that the evening took place at, and was a fundraiser for, the wonderful Penny Brohn centre here in Bristol, a place that gave Sara such support and solace during her illness. There were a few tears straight after the concert when Sara and I were alone together for a moment or two, but in typical fashion she pulled herself together immediately and was entirely ready to welcome audience members wanting to speak to her and give their congratulations. A very special person – much loved and much missed.

Love, Life, Death and Transfiguration


Profile for Rachel Goodchild Design

Bristol Symphony Concert Programme  

Design and Layout of Orchestral Concert Programme Bristol Symphony Orchestra with Nicholas Oliver and Charles Lovell-Jones St George's Brist...

Bristol Symphony Concert Programme  

Design and Layout of Orchestral Concert Programme Bristol Symphony Orchestra with Nicholas Oliver and Charles Lovell-Jones St George's Brist...


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