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:
Photo courtesy of www.guardian.co.uk
I will be interviewing wonderful pianist Martin Roscoe here tomorrow as part of my Classical Conversations Series.