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Tribute to Levine Andrade

Outstanding violist, violinist, conductor and founding member of the Arditti Quartet.

“The best quartet in the world” was how composer Pierre Boulez described the Arditti Quartet after it performed his highly challenging Livre pour quatuor for his 60th birthday concert in 1995.

Andrade, who has died at 64, was a founding member of the avant-garde group, which soon enjoyed an unparalleled international reputation for its breathtaking performances of contemporary chamber music.

Born in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1954, Andrade moved to the UK aged 9, gaining a scholarship to the Menuhin School where he was taught violin by the maestro.

At 15, he gained a Vaughan Williams scholarship to the Royal Academy, to be tutored in violin and viola by Frederick Grinke and Max Gilbert respectively. With a love of Stockhausen and other groundbreaking modern composers, he formed the Quartet with fellow student Irvine Arditti in 1974.

By 1990, Andrade had tired of the group’s intense touring schedule, choosing to spend more time with his young family in London.

He became a leading light on the freelance circuit with chamber groups, as principal violist in various orchestras and conducting summer concerts to great acclaim around the country.

With his prodigious talent increasingly in demand from a wider market, Andrade formed the London Telefilmonic Orchestra for his commercial projects.

Among a host of credits are his recording for the Olympic Games in Atlanta (1996), performing on Elton John’s tribute single of Candle In The Wind for Princess Diana the following year and work with pop bands Radiohead, Talk Talk and Everything But The Girl. Film scores include The Road Home (2010).

Andrade’s work with the Arditti Quartet was recognised with a lifetime achievement award by the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 1999.

“Levine was an amazing conscientious worker…” recalls Ardetti, the original Quartet’s last surviving member. “He shall be sorely missed as a versatile musician of our time.”

By Clive Somerville

Published: 16/04/2019

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