The influential orchestral manager and mentor Stephen Gray, who died at the weekend, was a man of great discretion, so much so that hardly anyone has seen a picture of him. The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, which he managed for 23 years with five principal conductors, has come up with an historic image.
Here is its tribute:
Tuesday, 4 December, 2012
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Remembers Stephen Gray OBE
All associated with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic are saddened to hear of the death on Friday, 30 November, aged 89, of Stephen Gray OBE. Stephen served as our General Manager from 1964 to 1987.
During 23 years with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Stephen worked with 5 Principal Conductors of the Orchestra; Sir Charles Groves (1963-1977), Walter Weller (1977-1980), David Atherton (1980-1983), Marek Janowski (1983-1987), and Libor Pešek KBE (1987-1997); and he encouraged the musical talents of a young Simon Rattle, who is today, Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berlin Philharmonic.
All five principal conductors and Simon Rattle took part in a unique gala concert at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall to mark Stephen’s retirement in 1987.
In tribute to Stephen, Michael Eakin, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Chief Executive said;
“In the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s long and illustrious 173-year history, Stephen left an indelible mark here. He is, and will continue to be remembered with great respect and affection by many members of our audience who knew him, colleagues who are working at Liverpool Philharmonic today, and the many, many others whom he encouraged and mentored in their careers, and who are now working in classical music at the highest level all over the world. We offer our sincere condolences to Stephen’s wife and his family.”
Sandra Parr, Liverpool Philharmonic’s Artistic Planning Director (Orchestra and Ensembles) added;
“Stephen appointed me in 1981. He trained me to be fastidious about detail, to save paper and generally threw the gauntlet down to me to start, in 1982, our membership scheme, then called ‘Friends of the Phil’ and our Family Concerts in 1983.
“Stephen’s training of staff was unique. He always allowed us to explore the things we were interested in but with a safety net if we needed it. I feel so incredibly lucky to have benefitted from such a remarkable person and I send my condolences to his wife, Frances and his children Julian and Philippa and their families.”
Back row (left to right); Simon Rattle, Walter Weller, Brian Pidgeon (general manager), Mark Janowski, David Atherton. Front row; Sir Charles Groves, Stephen Gray, Libor Pešek KBE