I was saddened to hear that ‘cellist Denis Vigay passed away a month ago at the age of 89. Denis was principal cello with the Rehearsal Orchestra for many years. During a long career he was principal cello of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Academy of St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, and also appeared on the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper album. Here is one obituary from the Strad.
I drew and painted Denis while leading the ‘cello section during many courses, both in London and during the Edinburgh Festival and it was an absolute privilege to play in the same orchestra. He was such a modest and charming man, with a wonderful sense of humour and gentleness. I have missed him during recent years heading up the section, he was a wonderful figure to draw during rehearsals.
The last time I saw Denis was during my private view of The Rehearsal at St. John’s Waterloo last spring. I was so pleased that he came along and I asked once more for him to sit for a portrait without his ‘cello. Sadly I never managed to persuade him, though it wasn’t through want of trying.
Rest in peace Denis.