British cellist Julian Lloyd Webber has today announced that he has been forced to stop playing ‘due to a herniated disc in his neck which has reduced the power in his right arm’. His final performance as a cellist will be on 2 May at the Forum Theatre, Malvern with the English Chamber Orchestra.
‘I am devastated. There were so many exciting plans that cannot now come to fruition,’ said Lloyd Webber. ‘I have had an immensely fulfilling career and feel privileged to have worked with so many great musicians and orchestras but now I have to move on.
‘I have no intention of enduring a forced retirement though. I would like to use the knowledge I have gained through my life as a musician and an educator to give back as much as I can to the music profession which has given me so much over the years.
‘I have just completed two new recordings which will be released later this year but after 2 May my cello will fall silent. I now need time to reflect and to consider this sudden and distressing life-changing situation and there will be no further comment at this time.’
Lloyd Webber was this month was presented with the Incorporated Society of Musicians’ Distinguished Musician Award in recognition of his performing achievements and his contribution to music education.
In addition to premiering more than 50 works for cello and releasing over 50 recordings, he is also chairman of In Harmony’s Sistema England, the English music education scheme inspired by Venezuela’s El Sistema, and founder of the Music Education Consortium which has secured £332m in government funding for music education. Throughout his career, which began with his London Wigmore Hall debut in 1971, Lloyd Webber has performed with Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Georg Solti, Sir Neville Marriner, Stephane Grappelli, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic.
Photo: Simon Fowler