Dedicated to our friends – Tony Smith

Tony joined BPO’s second violins in 1967, a section he was appointed principal of in 1979 and to which he dedicated his entire BPO career of over fifty years. He would sometimes joke he became an expert at playing second fiddle! Tony loved all the music the orchestra played, but particularly enjoyed performing large-scale Romantic works by Tchaikovsky and Mahler. Our tribute to him is the Adagietto from Mahler’s fifth symphony.

Tony was passionate about playing violin. In 2006 he took on what he imagined would be a short-term temporary teaching post at King Edward VI Handsworth School. He came to adore teaching and his pupils adored him. He learned and practised every scale in the book so he could demonstrate them. Only when his health began to fail did he stop teaching.

Perhaps our overriding memory of Tony will be his affability and good humour. He was happy to talk to anyone and always had a joke or story to tell. At a concert in Sudbury, on seeing a poster with the words ‘Welcome to the world-famous Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra, with over fifty outstanding musicians!’, Tony was heard to quip, ‘Well, there
might be over fifty players, but I’m not sure if there are any outstanding musicians!’

Tony will be greatly missed by the entire orchestra.

Thanks to John Franklin for this tribute to Tony.

We will be performing our concert in memory of our friends on Sunday 2 February, 7:30 pm at Chipping Camden School (TICKETS) and on Sunday 9 February, 3:00 pm at the Elgar Concert Hall, University of Birmingham (TICKETS).

Williams – Hymn to the Fallen

Ian Rae – Pacific Concerto (first performance)

Enescu – Romanian Rhapsody No 1

Mahler – Symphony No 5: Adagietto

Elgar – Enigma Variations

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