Rodney Friend MBE
Internationally acclaimed as one of the most distinguished British violinists of his generation, Rodney Friend has appeared worldwide as a soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster, director and pedagogue.
During the last sixty years, he has performed internationally as a soloist with major orchestras under conductors including Haitink, Barbirolli, Mehta, Leinsdorf, Solti, Giulini, Davis and Boult, as well as collaborating with composers Stravinsky, Britten, Walton, Bliss, Barber, Copland, Bernstein, Boulez, Hindemith, Tippett, Lutoslawski, Henze, Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies, Berio and Penderecki.
Rodney Friend made his London debut playing Sibelius concerto with the Halle Orchestra and his New York debut playing Britten concerto with the New York Philharmonic. Amongst his many recordings, his performances with the London Philharmonic of the Britten and Bach concertos for EMI received the highest critical acclaim.
In 1991 he formed the Solomon Trio with whom he toured Europe extensively, playing at such venues as La Scala Milan and recording much of the great trio literature for Carlton Records. It is however as a Concertmaster where his experience and reputation is legendary. In 1964 he became the youngest ever leader of the London Philharmonic, working closely with Bernard Haitink, Barenboim, Solti and Giulini. In 1975 he received the unique honour for a British player when he was invited by the New York Philharmonic to be their Concertmaster, playing concerts and recording worldwide with Bernstein and Boulez. It is with these two orchestras that he recorded almost the entire orchestral repertoire.
On his return to London he became concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Roszdestvensky and a professor and consultant of violin at the Royal College of Music, where he formed and directed The RCM String Ensemble. Later, he joined the faculty of the Royal Academy of Music as a professor of violin. Since 1990 he has worked solely in the areas of teaching, solo and chamber music. During this time, he has travelled extensively to give masterclasses and appear as a jury member for the international violin competitions. From 2012-2017, Rodney Friend was Artistic Director of the highly successful Cambridge International String Academy. His students continue to achieve success in all areas of violin playing.
In 2006 the first two volumes of his books, ‘The Orchestral Violinist’ were published by Boosey and Hawkes and received universal acclaim as being the most important works so far produced for this discipline. 2020 saw the successful launch of his book, ‘The Violin in 5ths’ by Beares Publishing.
The recipient of many awards, Rodney Friend has also received an MBE from her Majesty the Queen for services to music.
Visit www.rodneyfriend.co.uk/ to find out more.
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