Obituary: Roger Lord (1924–2014)

Principal Oboe (1953–1986)

The LSO is sad to hear of the death of former Principal Oboe Roger Lord on Thursday 19 June 2014. He had recently celebrated his 90th birthday and until then had been in very good health and enjoying life to the full.

Roger joined the LSO in 1953 as Principal Oboe. He was part of the famous resignation of Principals in 1955* but happily was persuaded to re-apply for his membership. He retired to Dorset in 1986, but remained an Associate Member until 1988.

Roger began his musical education as a choir-boy in Durham Cathedral, and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music from 1942-1943 and from 1946-47, the break being due to service in the RAF. After leaving the RCM he played in the BBC Midland Orchestra until 1949, and followed this with two years with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He was a member of the Prometheus Ensemble and Musica da Camera.

Roger's first wife Madeleine Dring died suddenly in 1977. He continued to promote Madeleine’s works after her death – she composed several oboe works for Roger, including the highly regarded Dances for solo oboe.

Roger is survived by his second wife Jenny, and our thoughts are with her and all Roger’s family and friends at this sad time.

* In 1955 the LSO was divided over film sessions and whether the orchestra should devote more or less time to it. Eventually in May 1955 there was "vigorous discussion" at an Extraordinary General Meeting over the LSO's rules and traditions, the upshot being that all Principal players resigned en masse, with Roger Lord, arguably the true star of the 1950s LSO because of his extraordinarily supple playing, the only player to be convinced to reconsider.

It was to be the turning point in the LSO's history - in being forced to recruit quickly and boldly the Board turned to the young generation, snapping up players such as Gervase de Peyer, Hugh Maguire, Denis Wick, William Waterhouse, Barry Tuckwell and Neville Marriner - all now highly revered names in the orchestral world. These exceptional young players went on to define the sound and secure the future of the LSO.