It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of the founder of the English Chamber Orchestra, Quintin Ballardie OBE FRAM.
Born on the Wirral, Quintin (known to everyone as Quin), was brought up by his mother. They soon moved to Croydon when he was still young and there he attended the Whitgift School. As a student he studied viola at the Royal Academy of Music. It was not long before Quin became known in the music world for his remarkable talent for selecting string players who blended perfectly with each other, creating orchestras of outstanding quality. This led to the eventual founding of the English Chamber Orchestra from the Goldsbrough Orchestra.
Quin worked relentlessly for over 60 years to establish and maintain the English Chamber Orchestra as one of the world’s great ensembles. He not only ran the orchestra, but was also principal viola until his retirement .
During his remarkable career, Quin has taken the ECO to the forefront of music making, with the orchestra producing seminal recordings and performing concerts with world-class artists including Benjamin Britten (who was also the orchestras first Patron), Daniel Barenboim, Raymond Leppard, Pinchas Zukerman, Mstislav Rostropovich, Murray Perahia and countless others.
Quin was immensely proud when HRH The Prince of Wales agreed to follow Britten as patron of the English Chamber Orchestra and Music Society, as well as on a personal level being awarded the OBE for his services to Music. Quin was also the proud recipient of the prestigious Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Music (FRAM)
Known for supporting, encouraging and nurturing talent, Quin was responsible not only for the success of the ECO but also the wider success of those colleagues around him who thrived off his passion for music.
Quin was married to Margaret Ballardie, a highly regarded artist and art restorer until her death in 2017. The couple had three children: Carole and their twin sons David and Andrew who pre-deceased them. Whatever spare time Quin managed to find, he spent sailing on the south coast.
Photo: Quintin Ballardie at a rehearsal in Henry Wood Hall for a concert at QEH, January 1990 © Nigel Luckhurst