Obituary: Edmund Reid, Black violinist who broke barriers performing in U.K. orchestras, 85

Posted on: January 19, 2022

“Edmund Reid, the violinist who has died aged 85, was often the only black musician to be found among the rank-and-file members of British orchestras,” reads an unsigned obituary in Monday’s (1/17) Daily Telegraph (U.K.) “He recalled that after his audition for Sir Georg Solti at the Royal Opera House in 1964 it took two months for a committee to discuss ‘whether it was OK to employ a black man.’ Reid’s talent was not in dispute, and he gave several successful recitals at the Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, often accompanied by his pianist wife, Gretta Barrow…. In 1996 he appeared in A Mulatto Song, Topher Campbell’s dramatized account of the life of George Bridgetower, the British violinist of African descent who was the original dedicatee of Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata…. Much of Reid’s career was spent with the country’s leading orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic.… Edmund Carlton Patrick Reid was born on December 4, 1936 in Kingston, Jamaica…. At 16 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London…. Reid’s first orchestral appointment was with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra…. He also played with the London Symphony Orchestra…. Reid was … often consulted by professional violinists preparing to face audition panels with the major orchestras.”