Lesley Gwyther

First Violin

Adopted by Mary Riddoch, Dr W E and Mrs J M Kenyon, CHE and Elizabeth Hargreaves

What was your earliest musical experience?

Playing the recorder in primary school (and actually being quite good at it!). Also, being Welsh, we all love to sing and I'm no exception - I sang in my primary school choir, and competed in lots of eisteddfods. My earliest experience of listening to music was when I was given a portable record player for Christmas when I was about 6, along with "I Remember You" by Frank Ifield! I can still remember most of the words.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?

I'm a great animal lover and if I wasn't a musician would love to work with animals in some way. Cats are most definitely my favourites, so running a cattery would be a possibility, although I can see I'd never want to give any of the cats back to their owners!

What is on your CD/MP3 Player/Spotify Playlist right now?

A variety of things, mostly non-classical aswell. Tom Jones figures very highly, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, James Taylor, quite a bit of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Handel concerti grossi, Boyce symphonies, Brahms violin sonatas and Elton John!

What is your favourite Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra recording?

The recordings we made in the mid 1980s of the four symphonies by Robert Schumann, conducted by Marek Janowski.

What is your most memorable moment with the Orchestra so far?

I think it has to be playing in Prague in a concert conducted by Libor Pesek, just after the Velvet Revolution, when Vaclav Havel had just been appointed President of the Czech Republic. At the start of the concert we were all on stage waiting for him to appear in his box and when he did the whole concert hall spontaneously rose to their feet, turned to face him and applauded so enthusiastically and for so long - it was incredibly moving. Then we gave a great performance of Smetana's Ma Vlast - it was an amazing night that has really stuck in my memory and I felt privileged to be there.