In 2021 the Trust received a generous bequest from the estate of the late Jean Middlemiss (1925 – 2020). Jean was a London-based musician and teacher, renowned for her use of the ‘Suzuki method’ which she studied with the founder in Japan and introduced into her teaching in this country, as part of her campaign to make music central to the development of the individual.
Robert Anderson and Jean Middlemiss.
A viola player, trained at the Royal Academy of Music, Jean was a lifelong friend of Robert Anderson and his brother John, both skilled amateur musicians, and together with their fellow musician Lenore Reynell, later Head of Music at the Purcell School, they played together regularly on an informal basis as the ‘Enigmoid’ String Quartet. She also performed with the Chelsea Opera Group under Colin Davis and in many of the concerts given by Robert as conductor of Barts Choir. Jean’s recollections of her friendship with Robert appears in the volume of tributes produced on his death in 2015 which can be read here.
The string quartet (L-R): Lenore Reynell, John Anderson, Jean Middlemiss, Robert Anderson.
Jean Middlemiss died in February 2020. Obituaries appeared in The Times (here, paywall) and The Guardian (here).
In recognition of the bequest and the friendship between Dr Anderson and Miss Middlemiss the Trustees have agreed to inaugurate a ‘Jean Middlemiss Award’ to support the studies of a violist at the Royal College of Music (RCM). The first recipient of the award, for the 2021-2 academic year, was Elena Accogli, a third-year Bachelor of Music student, and we are delighted to be able to continue supporting Elena’s studies through the Jean Middlemiss award in 2022-23 as well.
Italian violist Elena Accogli began her studies at the Conservatorio G.B. Martini in Bologna with Antonello Farulli before moving to London to study at the Junior Royal Academy of Music with Jonathan Barritt and Jacqueline Woods. She now studies with Nathan Braude at the Royal College of Music as the Jean Middlemiss Award Holder. She has performed as a soloist, in chamber groups and orchestras, both nationally and internationally, as well as in masterclasses with musicians such as Mate Szucks, Maxim Rysanov and Ettore Causa.
Elena was principal viola of the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and has performed several times at the BBC Proms and at International Music Festivals such as the Berlioz Festival and the Young Euro Classics. She has taken part in side-by-side orchestral projects with the Concertgebouw Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. Elena is a member of the LGT Young Soloists and is the recipient of the Musician’s Company Bulgin Medal 2019.