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Iona Brown

Born in Salisbury in 1941, the violinist and conductor Iona Brown MBE showed early talent for the violin and played in the National Youth Orchestra from 1955 to 1960. Her teachers included Hugh Maguire in London, Remy Principe in Rome and Henryk Szeryng in Paris and Nice. From 1963 to 1966 she was a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra, and at the same time began to develop a solo career. In 1964 she joined the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, becoming a soloist and director in 1974. Though she formally left the Academy in 1980, she continued to work with it for the remainder of her life. She was appointed artistic director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra in 1981, holding the post for twenty years. With these two orchestras in particular she made a number of acclaimed recordings. From 1985 to 1989 she was guest director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and from 1987 to 1992 served as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. As a violinist she was praised for her musicality, stylistic awareness and impeccable technique. Arthritis led her to shift her focus as a performer to conducting and she gave her last performance as a violinist in 1998. In her last years she was chief conductor of the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra in Denmark. Iona Brown was made an MBE in 1986. She died in 2004.

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