Obituary: Royal Opera Violinist John Ludlow Dies

By Francisco Salazar

On Sept. 29, 2022, British violinist John Ludlow died in his home near Shrewsbury.

Born in Birmingham in 1931, Ludlow came from a musical family. His father was a conductor for the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra and his mother was a viola player.

During his early years, he studied at the King Edward’s School in Birmingham and later pursued music at RCM, with Henry Holst and Manoug Parikian.

In 1948, he founded the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, which was an ensemble he supported throughout his life. He was then recruited and ordered to serve in the Army. Following his National Service, he joined the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor Sir Thomas Beecham and was later appointed leader of the Sadler’s Wells Opera Orchestra.

In the 1960s, he joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra and later became the co-leader of the Royal Opera House Orchestra. However, he left his position in a few years later and became a freelancer. He performed with Yehudi Menuhin’s Bath Festival Orchestra and London Mozart Players as well as the Guildford Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Concert Orchestra,, and the English National Orchestra.

Ludlow is survived by his wife Marilyn, daughters Erica, and Anna from his first marriage to violinist Katie, three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

In a statement the National Youth Orchestra said, “John continued to support NYO throughout his life, not only as a donor, but also through helping Roberto Ruisi, the youngest ever leader of NYO from 2012-14, who was recently announced as the new leader of the Halle. Roberto and John attended the same school in Birmingham and John saw a lot of his own style and musicianship in Roberto’s playing, loaning him his Stradivarius violin.”