25. January 2008 · Comments Off on Evelyn Rothwell · Categories: Losses

Lady Barbirolli

Last Updated: 2:04am GMT 26/01/2008

Lady Barbirolli, who died on January 25 aged 97, was an oboist of the highest distinction and the widow of the great conductor Sir John Barbirolli; she was also a woman of incandescent charm and strength of character, with a gift for friendship which amounted to genius.

She rose to fame in her profession under her maiden name Evelyn Rothwell in an era when there were many fewer women in orchestras than there are today (and they were usually harpists). Yet she came to the oboe comparatively late (at the age of 17) and only by chance or coercion – “I didn’t take up the oboe, it took me up” was how she described it.