Classical Blues

Which classical musicians should have a blue plaque?


On this year’s BBC Music Day, the public were asked to suggest local music legendss deserving of a blue plaque in their honour. Suggestions poured in, from Abba at the Brighton Pavillion to The Grimethorpe Colliery Band in Sheffield. When we asked you for your classical suggestions, we had a similar result. Have you any to add to the below from our letters pages?


Hywel Jenkins makes a Liszt…

"On a recent visit to Exeter Cathedral I was irresistibly drawn to the sad ruin of the Royal Clarence Hotel on Cathedral Green, destroyed by fire in October last year. Very little remains of the facade, but by the front entrance a blue plaque can be seen; it reads: FRANZ LISZT 1811-1886 Hungarian pianist and composer gave two recitals here on successive days in 1840.  Reflecting on the loss of such a location, our mood was lightened when my partner Debbie said: 'It must have been a Liszted building!'

In addition can I mention the blue plaque on the Assembly Rooms here in Glastonbury commemorating the founder of the original Glastonbury Festival (1914-26), Rutland Boughton, whose vision was the creation of a British Bayreuth; the Festival saw numerous performances of his operas, including The Immortal Hour, and was I think visited by both Elgar and Vaughan Williams." 

Robert Roy champions BBC Radio 3’s very own Andrew McGregor!

"How about a blue plaque in honour of Mr. Andrew McGregor?  One of the great broadcaster's of our time!" 

Chris Bagot from Chorley, Lancashire wants a plaque for a certain former organist…

"May I suggest a Blue Plaque be attached to St Michaels Church, Bolton, in memory of a former organist of the church, and a favourite artist of mine, one singer songwriter Peter Skellern, who died earlier this year. It would remind us of the great breadth of the musical world and the constant crossover between genres."

Larry Olin suggests a more literal representation…

"I’d like to enhance the viewing experience by placing a relief portrait medallion above the Blue Plaque! The relief portrait can be in profile or facing forward, a decision of the artist.

Cast in bronze, the portrait medallion would be the same size as the Blue Plaque. The viewer while reading the information about the composer would have the pleasure of seeing what the composer looked like."

Recognition for the work of ensembles is overdue, suggests Roderick Fisher…

"May I suggest that eminent string quartets and their leaders might be included? For example, the Griller Quartet and Sidney Griller, Amadeus Quartet and Norbut Brainin

Or Alberni Quartet and Howard Davis. Their contribution to our joy of music is immense."

Malcolm Lewis pays tribute to a great composer, recently departed…

"Composer Peter Maxwell Davis’s first position as a music teacher was at Cirencester Grammer School – I have located the house where he lived for approximately three years!"

Andrew Youdell looks for symmetry in existing plaques…

"Two unusual juxtapositions might interest your readers. The more famous is in Brook Street, Mayfair, where two adjacent plaques record that Handel and Jimi Hendrix were neighbours, centuries apart. However, in Brunswick Square, Hove, a plaque records that Roger Quilter was born there in 1877, while at the other end of the Square, his contemporary Sir Hamilton Harty died there in February 1941!"


Do you know about a local classical legend who isn't yet recognised by a plaque? Comment below with your suggestions and stories.