Rodney Friend

Click here to edit subtitle

Tambourin chinois Op. 3 (1978 Digital Remaster)
Rodney Friend/Michael Isador (Fritz Kreisler - Original compositions and arrangements)


Rodney Friend is delighted to join the faculty of the Royal Academy of Music - London in September 2015. READ MORE

Rodney Friend is honoured to have been awarded an MBE for 'services to music' in the NEW YEAR'S HONOURS LIST 2015
Classic FM Article Link




Rodney Friend appears regularly as a jury member for many of the Internationally renowned violin competitions.

Rodney Friend is recognised internationally as one of the most  outstanding English born violinists.  As a soloist, chamber musician, concertmaster, director and teacher he has appeared worldwide with the greatest musicians of the last forty five years.  He made his London debut playing Sibelius concerto with the Halle Orchestra and his American debut playing Britten concerto with the New York Philharmonic.  He has performed extensively as concerto soloist with  major  orchestras in  Europe, North and South America, Scandinavia and the Far East under such  conductors as  Haitink, Barbirolli, Mehta, Leinsdorf, Solti, Giulini, Davis and Boult.  Amongst his many  recordings, his performances with the London Philharmonic of the  Britten and Bach concertos for EMI received the highest critical acclaim.

In 1991 he formed the Solomon Trio with whom he toured Europe extensively, playing at such venues as La Scala Milan and  recording much of the great trio literature for Carlton Records.  It is however as a Concertmaster where his experience and reputation is legendary.  In 1964 he became the youngest ever leader of the London Philharmonic, working closely with Bernard Haitink, Barenboim, Solti and Giulini.  In 1975 he received the unique honour for a British player when he was invited by the New York Philharmonic to be their  Concertmaster, playing concerts and recording worldwide with Bernstein, Boulez and Mehta.  It is with these two orchestras that he recorded almost the entire orchestral repertoire.
On his return to London he became concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Roszdestvensky and a senior lecturer and consultant of violin at the Royal College of Music, where he formed and directed The RCM String Ensemble, touring and performing with many great artists.  Since 1990 he has worked solely in the areas of  teaching, solo and  chamber music performances, travelling regularly as a professor and jury member at the international violin competitions. His students continue to achieve success in all areas of violin playing. 

In 2006 the first two volumes of his books The Orchestral Violinist were published by Boosey and Hawkes, and received universal acclaim as being the most important works so far produced for this discipline.  

In 2012, Rodney Friend founded / became the Artistic Director of the Cambridge International String Academy.

In the New Year's Honours List 2015, he received an MBE for services to music.

Rodney Friend is delighted to join the faculty of the Royal Academy of Music - London in September 2015.

He plays a Joseph Guarnerius violin dated 1696.

Leader/Concertmaster for thirty years:
London Philharmonic Orchestra
New York Philharmonic Orchestra
BBC Symphony Orchestra
London Guest Leader & Director, English Chamber Orchestra

The Principal & Principal Guest Conductors during his tenure with these orchestras were:

London Philharmonic Orchestra:
Haitink | Giulini | Solti | Barenboim | Boult | Krips | Jochum | Dohnányi | Kubelik | Rostropovich | Shostakovich | Stokowski | Szell

New York Philharmonic Orchestra:
Bernstein | Boulez | Mehta | Levine | Leinsdorfl Ormandy | Abbado

BBC Symphony Orchestra:
Rozhedestvensky | Pritchard | Davis | Boulez | Slatkin | Ozawa | Maazel | Bernstein

London Symphony Orchestra:
Monteux | Szell | Dorati | Shuricht | Kertesz

Composer-Conductors worked with: Stravinsky | Britten | Walton | Bliss | Barber | Copland | Bernstein | Boulez | Hindemith | Tippett | Lutoslawski | Henze | Birtwistle | Maxwell Davies | Berio | Schuller

With these orchestras, has recorded several times all the major concertos with the leading soloists:
Horowitz | Rubinstein | Arrau | Barenboim | Oistrakh | Stern | Milstein | Perlman | Zuckerman | Rostropovich

Recorded and performed more or less the entire repertoire with these orchestras and musicians worldwide

Worked from and performed the entire Mahler literature from the composer's personal markings and bowings, as he had performed it with the New York Philharmonic during his tenure as their musical director

ln London, recorded all of Elgar's music with Sir Adrian Boult, who gave most of the first performances of Elgar's works

As leader of the LSO played the Brahms symphonies with Carl Shuricht, who had studied and worked closely with the composer

With Josef Krips (Vienna Philharmonic) studied and played regularly all of the tone poems of Strauss



In 1952 after receiving an open scholarship to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Frederik Grinke. Sir John Barbirolli accompanied him personally to this audition.


Appointment as concertmaster of The New York Philharmonic in 1976 by Boulez and Mehta. This was the first time an English violinist had been offered such a prestigious position with one of the top five American Orchestras.


The Launch of the first two volumes “The Orchestral Violinist” published by Boosey and Hawkes in 2006. These works are unanimously acclaimed as being the most comprehensive and constructive works so far produced for this discipline. This unique concept will now be applied to the other orchestral instruments


First concert as LPO Leader in 1964. 23 year old Rodney Friend had been co- leader of the LSO for two years prior to this appointment, resigning his position in 1963 in order to concentrate on his many solo concerts, including his Festival Hall debut with the Halle Orchestra.

In 1981 Rodney Friend returned to England as Leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra also accepting the roll of Professor/Consultant at the London Royal College of Music


Founder / Artistic Director of the 'Cambridge International String Academy (2010-Present)

Awarded an MBE for 'Services to music' in the New Year's Honours List 2015