Iona Brown

7.01.1941 - 5.06.2004
Voice/Instrument: Violine


Iona Brown OBE (born Elizabeth Iona Brown, 7 January 1941 - 5 June 2004) was a British violinist and conductor. Born in Salisbury, her parents Antony and Fiona were both musicians. In addition, her brother Timothy is principal horn player with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, her other brother Ian is a pianist, and her sister Sally plays viola with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

From 1963 to 1966, Brown was a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra. In 1964, she joined the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, working her way up through the ranks to become a soloist and director in 1974. She formally left the Academy in 1980, but continued to work with them for the remainder of her life.

In 1981, Brown was appointed artistic director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. She served as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra from 1987 to 1992. From 1985 to 1989, she was guest director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. As her health declined and she suffered from arthritis, she shifted her focus from the violin to conducting, and ended her violin career in 1998. In the last years until her death, she was chief conductor of the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra Denmark.

From 1968 to 2004 Brown lived in the Wiltshire village of Bowerchalke. When she took part in BBC Radio 4 Kaleidoscope, explaining how hard it was to play her signature piece The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams, she said that the lark song of long walks on nearby 'Marleycombe Down' was a central tenet of her performance. She was made OBE in 1986. In June 2003 Brown was awarded an honorary degree from the Open University as Doctor of the University.[citation needed]

Brown died of cancer in 2004 at age 63 in Salisbury. She was married twice, and was survived by her second husband, Bjorn Arnils

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