Violinist Frances Andrade’s tragic death

Violinist Frances Andrade

Frances Andrade (above), the violinist at the centre of the Michael Brewer sex abuse case, tragically took her own life on January 24th. The mother-of-four, who was married to acclaimed viola player Levine Andrade, was found dead less than a week after she had given evidence against Brewer and his ex-wife, Kay.

Her family had apparently supported her throughout the court case but according to her son Oliver, ‘throughout her life she had many tragic events fall upon her and coped with most with a strength few people could manage. She was extremely resilient. However, like all people she was not impervious, being repeatedly called a ‘liar’ and a ‘fantasist’ about a horrific part of her life in front of a court challenged her personal integrity and was more than even she could bear’.

Well-known choirmaster Michael Brewer and his ex-wife have now been convicted of indecent assault: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/feb/08/choirmaster-ex-wife-guilty-abusing-student?intcmp=239. The incidents apparently took place more than thirty years ago whilst Frances was a student at the  prestigious Chethams School of Music in Manchester.

This appalling and very upsetting story highlights the trust pupils can and frequently do put in their teachers. It illustrates the difficulty involved in speaking out against those in positions of authority. The Guardian has also published correspondence between concert pianist Martin Roscoe, Professor Edward Gregson and other parties, including Frances Andrade, regarding concerns around another staff appointment at the renowned music conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in 2001/2: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/interactive/2013/feb/08/correspondence-appointment-malcolm-layfield-rncm

Frances was undoubtedly an extremely gifted violinist so let’s celebrate her life and work. This short but lovely clip of Ravel’s Tzigane demonstrates her beautiful playing:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/audio/2013/feb/08/frances-andrade-ravel-tzigane-audio

Photo courtesy of www.guardian.co.uk

I will be interviewing wonderful pianist Martin Roscoe here tomorrow as part of my Classical Conversations Series.

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4 thoughts on “Violinist Frances Andrade’s tragic death

  1. This is a horrible horrible business, and one’s heart goes out to those Chet’s pupils who were exploited and abused, and to their families However, this seems to have triggered a resumption of Martin Roscoe’s long-running, boring and irrelevant vendetta against the RNCM and two of its senior staff, which is also pretty sad. He would do us all a favour if he could stick to playing the piano!

    • Hi Bob aka known as Dansker on Slipped Disc you need to explain yourself re my “vendetta” against the RNCM. You obviously have an axe to grind against me for some reason. I have no vendetta against the RNCM… on the contrary I hold the institution in the highest regard having been a student there but have been disappointed with some of the people running it in recent times (not the current management) who clearly have been putting themselves first. If you have any guts you will identify yourself..your failure to do so already marks you out as a coward and very sad to boot. Otherwise shut up. PS I love Billy Budd too

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