Obituaries: Robert Retallick, Duff Burns, Norman Archibald

We are sad to report the recent deaths of three of our former members: Robert Retallick (violin), Duff Burns (viola) and Norman Archibald (trumpet).

Our thoughts are with their families at this sad time.

Robert RetallickRobert Retallick, violin (1935–October 2021)
Robert was a member of the First Violin section from 1967 to 2001, when he retired.

Born in 1935 in Sydney, Australia, Bob first learned the piano before taking up the violin. He studied at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and was a member of the first Sydney Youth Orchestra and later the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Following this, he won a scholarship to study in the Netherlands and played in the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, moving to London in the early 60s and working as a freelance musician. In 1964 he was engaged to play with the LSO on the first World Tour. He was offered a permanent position and joined three years later.

He is survived by his son Stephen and daughter Kim.

Duff BurnsDuff Burns, viola (1940–July 2021)
Duff joined the LSO as an Associate Member in the viola section in 1981. He became a full member in 1984 and retired 21 years later in 2005.

Born in 1940 in Glasgow, Duff started to play violin in primary school and joined the school orchestra. He left school at 14 but joined the YMCA orchestra, who suggested he apply to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama. During his time at the Academy he won a scholarship to study under Maurice Raskin at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels for two years.

On his return to Scotland he changed to the viola and took up a position with the Scottish National Orchestra under Alexander Gibson, becoming Principal Viola in 1964. In 1968 Duff moved to the BBC Scottish Radio Orchestra before moving to the Principal Viola desk of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

In 1980, the year of the BBC Orchestra strike, Duff decided to move to London and joined the LSO in 1981.

He is survived by his wife Allison, son William and daughter Elizabeth.


Norman ArchibaldNorman Archibald, trumpet (died 29 June 2021)
Norman was a member of the LSO from 1965 to 1980.

Alongside his orchestral career, Norman was a member of the famous Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and a teacher. After appearing on the soundtracks of the first two Star Wars films as an LSO member, he went on to record numerous soundtracks and original cast recordings as a freelance player.