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Sad news: Founding viola of a famous quartet

We have been informed of the death of Roger Bigley, one of the founders of the Lindsay Quartet. He was 69.

Roger co-founded the quartet in 1965, specialising in the Beethoven and Bartok quartets. He left in 1985 to become assistant principal viola of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manchester and later assistant head of strings at the Royal Northern College of Music. The Lindsay Quartet disbanded in 2005.

Our condolences to his family, friends and many grateful students.

Read an appreciation here by one of his students.



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  1. Roger will be missed. He was not only a kind and encouraging teacher and coach, he was something of a beacon of calm and sanity in a tough profession and in what could be a stressful environment at times. I see from my facebook newsfeed that I am far from the only RNCM graduate who is grateful for his support as well as his musicianship. He was a real gentleman.

  2. Martin Roscoe says:

    Very sad news indeed. Small correction Norman if you will permit…Roger has Assistant Head of Strings to Rodney Slatford at RNCM and then to Malcolm Layfield for only one year until he left in 2003.

  3. Louise Lansdown says:

    Roger was a wonderful colleague and friend. I had the privilege of having some lessons from him and then working alongside him at the RNCM for several years. He was a soft and gentle soul who adored mischievous jokes and always had a twinkle in his eyes. Roger was a wise and devoted teacher who was captivated throughout his life by sound…always talking about Lionel Tertis’s Essay on the “Beauty of Tone in String Playing” and the Principles of Son File( `). It was a joy to behold watching Roger play String Quintets on the beloved “Archinto” Stradivarius Viola in the Concert Hall at the RNCM, shortly before the Lindsay Quartet disbanded. This was the wonderful viola he had been loaned for some of the period he had played with the Lindsay’s….
    A highlight just before Christmas at the RNCM (back in the day…around 1998-2000) was the pantomime with Rodney Slatford (the then Head of Strings), Roger Bigley (then Assistant Head of Strings) and the late Dr Christopher Rowland (the then Director of Chamber Music) cross dressing…prancing around in 6-inch stilettos, wearing fish net stockings and wigs! Absolutely hilarious…thank you Roger for these priceless memories. Your contributions to music and music education will be felt for many generations to come!

  4. Juliette Bigley says:

    It is very comforting to read all the kind words said about Roger – we know he would have been moved by these messages.
    We’re delighted to welcome anyone who wishes to come to the funeral which will be held at 2pm on Tuesday 18th June at St Margaret of Antioch Church, St Leonard’s Road West, St Anne’s on Sea, FY8 2JW, we will have directions to the crematorium for those who wish to join us there and we would be delighted if those attending could be with us afterwards at a local venue to be confirmed. Roger’s daughters, Venetia and Juliette would be really pleased if anyone attending would come and introduce themselves as we know he had many friends that we didn’t know directly.
    If you’re thinking of coming, it would be very helpful if you could let us know.
    Please feel free to contact Juliette at or general enquiries to the funeral directors: / 01253780860.
    Donations in lieu of flowers to the RNLI.

  5. Roger and I grew up together in the CheltenhamYoungPeople’s Orchestra and the superb Cowley Manor Summer Courses with the Aeolian String Quartet. Neither of us guessed that we would both end up in String Quartets – Roger in the UK and me in Germany and the US!
    Is it of necessity that there are two types of (solo/performing) musicians – those that are striving 365 days a year to coax and cajole out of their instruments the right sound at the right time – and those that have the space to interest themselves in other people and their lives?
    That Roger belonged to the latter hardly needs to be said. It was the same friendship that, after a gap of over 40 years, welcomed me back to the UK with selfless help and encouraging words.
    Bless you and thank you, Roger – an eternal friend.

  6. Ed Billingham says:

    Along with the many people who knew Roger at the RNCM he was also a great encouragement to me, along with the many inspiring performance classes i played and individual interpretation lessons one of his best tips was ‘don’t let the bastards get you down !!!’. Last chatted with him on Manchester cycleway while he was walking his dog a few years ago… Thanks Roger

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