Obituary: Douglas Cummings (1947–2014)

Principal Cello (1969–1993)

The LSO is sad to hear of the death of former Principal Cello Douglas Cummings on Wednesday 14 May 2014.

Dougie was 22 when he joined the LSO as Principal Cello in 1969, the youngest Principal the Orchestra had appointed to that date. He left the Orchestra in 1993 to follow a teaching career. He served on the Board of Directors from 1979–82. Following a brain haemorrhage in 1982, Dougie was the subject of one of a series of four TV programmes, 'Life of an Orchestra', which was broadcast on BBC1.

Dougie was the youngest member of a family of musicians, headed by his father, the distinguished viola player, Keith Cummings, with his brother and sister Julian and Diana both professional violinists. After winning every prize open to cellists whilst studying at the Royal Academy of Music, Dougie studied in Paris and California before returning to the UK to work with the London Mozart Players and English Chamber Orchestra.

He worked with some of the music world's greatest names, premiering many new works, and was a founder member of the London Virtuosi and the Cummings String Quartet. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1977.

Dougie had been suffering from a long-term illness, but was a familiar face in the audience at LSO concerts right up until the end.

LSO Chairman and Sub-Leader Lennox Mackenzie said, 'Dougie was beset with illness for much of his life but I know we all share fond memories of the extraordinary player and fun-lover that was Dougie. His extraordinarily moving performance in 1983 of the Elgar Cello Concerto at Sydney Opera House with the LSO under Claudio Abbado's baton will remain with me forever as something to be treasured.'

Former LSO cellist and Managing Director Sir Clive Gillinson, now Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall, said, 'Dougie was an incredible, funny, astoundingly talented life force, and was such an amazing player and vital influence for good in the orchestra.'