Roger Bigley


A founding member of the Lindsay String Quartet, Roger Bigley went on to be the principal viola player with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and carved a reputation for himself as a much respected teacher.

While a chorister at Gloucester cathedral, Bigley attended summer courses with the Aeolian Quartet. Here, he met Watson Forbes, a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, with whom he studied from 1962. He also encountered Sidney Griller, who helped establish the Lindsay Quartet.

When it was founded in 1965, it was known as the Cropper Quartet after its first violinist, Peter Cropper. But, when the four players were appointed to be Leverhulme scholars at Keele university, they became the Lindsays in honour of Lord Lindsay, the founder of Keele.

At the core of their work were the string quartets of Beethoven and Bartok. They toured the world at a hectic pace and embraced a huge repertoire. So, in 1985, Bigley, known to all his colleagues as “Biggles”, decided to move on.

He joined the BBC Philharmonic, and three years later was appointed assistant head of strings at the Royal Northern College of Music, where he remained until his retirement in 2003. He worked hard on placing students in professional orchestras, oversaw instrument-making at international cello festivals and arranged masterclasses.

Bigley himself organised a celebration of his life, at the centre of which was a recording of the Lindsays’ interpretation of a movement from one of Beethoven’s Razumovsky quartets – named after the Russian ambassador to Vienna Prince Razumovsky, a patron of the arts.

Roger Bigley was born on October 30, 1943. He died on June 9, aged 69.