Orchestra leader and inspirational teacher
Hugh Maguire: Born: August 2nd, 1926 Died: June 14th, 2013
He also tutored the violinists of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and in 1978 he was invited by Peter Pears to become director of string studies at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies run by Aldeburgh Music, which led him to settle in East Suffolk. His work in Aldeburgh kept him in touch with the most talented young string players, and as well as conducting the Britten-Pears Orchestra (including the première of Colin Matthews’s Divertimento in 1986) he was a generous coach to many young string quartets. He became a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music in 1959, and taught there as professor of violin until the 1980s, his most famous pupil being Iona Brown, who went on to become the director the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
Change of mind
He received overtures at various times to take up the position of leader of the Radio Éireann Symphony Orchestra, and nearly did so in 1959, but changed his mind at the last minute. He did, however, join the Arts Council, where he served from 1975 to 1981, when he resigned because of pressure of work. With his second wife, Patricia (Tricia) he set up the national chamber music course, ConCorda, in Ireland in 1994, modelled on the ProCorda training courses in Leiston in Suffolk where he also taught.
His final public appearances in Ireland were in 1994, when he played a memorable all-Mozart chamber music programme at Strokestown Park House at the Music Festival in Great Irish Houses, in 2000, when he conducted a 30th-anniversary reunion of players from the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland, and in 2004, when he gave a lecture-recital in Galway with the ConTempo String Quartet.
His mildness of manner masked a sharper side, which conductors sometimes felt in rehearsal, and which could include severe judgments on eminent colleagues when he found their playing lacking in expressiveness. His own musicianship was profoundly deep and easy, as if music flowed from him without effort, his violin tone never large, usually sweet, and always imaginatively shaped.
He was pre-deceased by his second wife, Tricia Catchpole (née Block), who died in February, and is survived by his sister Monty and brothers Elias and Francis, his first wife, the dancer Suzanne Lewis, and their five children, Simon, Caroline, Rachael, Anna, and Philip.