The veteran musician, pedagogue and conductor was 69 years old

Michal Kaznowski

Michal Kaznowski. Photo: courtesy Royal College of Music

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British cellist and pedagogue Michal Kaznowski has died at the age of 69. A founder member of the Maggini Quartet, he performed with the group for 35 years and also served as conductor with several youth orchestras.

Born in 1954, Kaznowski studied at the Menuhin School with Myra Chahin and Peter Norris, and with Florence Hooton at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he won the major cello prize. He later studied with André Navarra in Germany and with the Romanian-born Italian cellist Radu Aldulescu. Before the Maggini Quartet, he was principal cello of the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, associate principal in the BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, and in 1979 was named principal cello of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Simon Rattle. He left four years later to found the Bochmann Quartet, which in 1988 became the Maggini Quartet.

The Maggini’s other original members were violinists Michael Bochman and David Angel, and violist Martin Outram. The quartet has played throughout Europe, North America and the Far East, and has made over 35 recordings of 20th-century British string quartet music. The group has also commissioned works by Robert Simpson, James MacMillan, Eleanor Alberga and Roxanna Panufnik among others. It also runs regular teaching courses at venues across the UK. Angel died in 2017, to be replaced by Ciaran McCabe.

Kaznowski taught cello and chamber music years in the Royal College of Music’s junior department. He was previously a staff cello teacher at the Purcell School for 15 years, and senior cello teacher at Birmingham Conservatoire. He taught at Wells Cathedral Specialist Music School, working with Amaryllis Fleming and Margaret Moncrieff, and at the universities of Birmingham and Southampton.

Kaznowski was conductor of the Orchestra of the Pagoda Children’s symphony orchestra – now the Esher and Ditton Youth Orchestra – for over 15 years. He regularly worked with student orchestras at Imperial College and Oxford University. He was named an honorary fellow of Canterbury Christ Church University and Brunel University and, along with Maggini members Angel and Outram, was an associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

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