Life lessons: Julian Lloyd Webber

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The British cellist and now conservatoire principal talks about the challenges facing music education, and his adventures in finding new repertoire

This article is from the July 2018 issue of The Strad

One of the things that first fascinated me about the cello was the repertoire. When I was around 13 I saw Rostropovich play more than 30 concertos across 9 concerts in London, and although I remember being mildly annoyed even then that he left out the Walton and the Delius, it really opened my eyes to the variety of music written for the instrument.

Much of it had only just been recorded, and sometimes the Radio Times listings for an obscure foreign station would include a piece I didn’t know, so I’d record the broadcast on reel-to-reel tapes. When I was a student at the Royal College of Music in London, it was a huge adventure to go through the archives of the nearby Institute of Recorded Sound to find music I’d never heard before.

Maybe it’s precisely because so much music is so easily available today…

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