Tribute on the passing of Jeff Lloyd
Jeff Lloyd, the Rhondda Symphony Orchestra’s beloved founder and President, sadly passed away in February 2020 after a long and distinguished career as a musician and music educator. A former Leader of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales and the Glamorgan Youth Orchestra, Jeff studied the violin at University College Cardiff with Stanley Popperwell and chamber music with Alfredo Wang. Following over twenty years as an instrumental teacher in the Rhondda, during which time he founded the Rhondda Symphony Orchestra, Jeff was appointed the first Head of Strings/Orchestral Studies to the former South Glamorgan Education Authority in 1982. During his period as conductor of the prize-wining South Glamorgan Youth Orchestra, Jeff was invited to conduct in all of the UK’s major concert halls and toured extensively with the orchestra in Europe and the USA. He also established the South Glamorgan Youth Chamber Orchestra which won the Outstanding Performance Award at the 1985 Festival of Music for Youth at London’s Festival Hall.
As a freelance violinist Jeff played professionally with the orchestras of the BBC, WNO, HTV and the Welsh Chamber Orchestra, of which he was a founder member, performing regularly with internationally distinguished artistes of contrasting styles, from Sir Geraint Evans, Stuart Burrows and Kiri te Kanawa to Jack Jones, Neil Sedaka and Gene Pitney being equally at home in either genre. Jeff was also in much demand as an orchestra leader and fixer for choral societies throughout Wales. Having returned to the violin in his semi-retirement he was invited to lead the Welsh Philharmonic Orchestra and also did a second successful stint as the conductor of the Rhondda Symphony Orchestra in the early 1990s. Jeff enjoyed total retirement following a stroke suffered in 2003 but always kept in close contact with the orchestra, and was extremely proud of how the orchestra has grown and developed over its 50 year existence. In his later years, he could always be found in the front row of our concerts, and the loudest cheer of encouragement always came from Jeff! As an orchestra, we will miss him dearly, but his energy, humour and commitment to music in the Rhondda lives on within our orchestra and beyond – a lasting legacy indeed!