José-Luis Garcia (1944-2011)

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Spanish violinist and conductor dies, aged 67

The Spanish violinist and conductor José-Luis Garcia has died aged 67.

Born in 1944 in Madrid, Garcia started studying the violin at the age of six under his father’s tutelage. After winning first prize in the 1960 Sarasate Violin Competition, he went to the Royal College of Music (RCM) in London to study with the renowned violinist Antonio Brosa.

Garcia made his Proms debut at just 19, performing Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Malcolm Sargent. A year after becoming a professor at the RCM at the age of 22, Garcia was awarded the Harriet Cohen International Award.

During his time in England he was the director of the English Chamber Orchestra (ECO) for over 20 years. With the ECO he played at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981.

Throughout his career he appeared as a soloist alongside conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Sir Colin Davis and Sergiu Celibidache, who was also his conducting teacher.

During the 1980s he performed around the world and became professor of violin at the Queen Sofía College of Music in Madrid, where he also appeared as conductor and director of the college's orchestra from 1992 to 1999. He was awarded the ‘Order of Alfonso X, The Wise’, by King Juan Carlos, for his musical contribution to Spain.

After his stroke in 2007 he appeared to be recovering, giving masterclasses as part of Violins en Valencia 2011. However, he died on 11 August and is survived by his wife, cellist Joanna Milholland.

Stella Lorenz