Julian Lloyd Webber

Julian Lloyd Webber OBE (born 14 April 1951) is a British solo cellist, conductor and broadcaster, a former principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the founder of the In Harmony music education programme.

Julian Lloyd Webber

Lloyd Webber rehearsing with Sir Arthur Bliss for the first London performance of Bliss’ Cello Concerto in September 1972
Born (1951-04-14) 14 April 1951 (age 70)
  • Cellist
  • Conductor
  • Music educator
Years active1971–present
  • Celia Ballantyne (1974–1989)[1]
  • Zohra Mahmoud Ghazi (1989–1998)
  • Kheira Bourahla (2001–2008)
  • Jiaxin Cheng (2009–)[2]

Early years and education

Julian Lloyd Webber is the second son of the composer and music educator William Lloyd Webber and his wife Jean Johnstone (a piano teacher). He is the younger brother of the composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. The composer Herbert Howells was his godfather.[3][4] He won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in 1968 and completed his studies with Pierre Fournier in Geneva in 1973.[5]

Lloyd Webber studied at the Royal College of Music in London.


Lloyd Webber made his professional debut as a cellist at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, in September 1972 when he gave the first London performance of the cello concerto by Sir Arthur Bliss. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with a wide variety of musicians, including conductors Yehudi Menuhin, Lorin Maazel, Neville Marriner, Georg Solti, Yevgeny Svetlanov, Mark Elder, Andrew Davis, Charles Mackerras and Esa-Pekka Salonen, pianists Clifford Curzon and Murray Perahia as well as Stéphane Grappelli, Elton John and Cleo Laine. He was described in The Strad as the "doyen of British cellists".[6]

Lloyd Webber with Joaquin Rodrigo and his wife Victoria, 1982
Julian Lloyd Webber with Malcolm Arnold prior to the premiere of his Fantasy for Cello in December 1987
Lloyd Webber performing Elgar's Cello Concerto conducted by Sir Yehudi Menuhin in 1988

His many recordings include his BRIT Award-winning Elgar Cello Concerto conducted by Yehudi Menuhin (chosen as the finest ever version by BBC Music Magazine),[7] the Dvořák Cello Concerto with Václav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with the London Symphony Orchestra under Maxim Shostakovich and a coupling of Britten's Cello Symphony and Walton's Cello Concerto with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields which was described as "beyond any rival" by Edward Greenfield in Gramophone magazine,[8] He has also made several recordings of shorter pieces for Universal Classics including Made in England, Cello Moods, Cradle Song and English Idyll.

Lloyd Webber has premiered the recordings of more than 50 works, inspiring new compositions for cello from composers as diverse as Malcolm Arnold (Fantasy for Cello, 1986, and Cello Concerto, 1989), Joaquín Rodrigo (Concierto como un divertimento, 1982) James MacMillan (Cello Sonata No. 2, 2001), and Philip Glass (Cello Concerto, 2001). More recent concert performances have included four further works composed for Lloyd Webber – Michael Nyman's Double Concerto for Cello and Saxophone on BBC Television, Gavin Bryars's Concerto in Suntory Hall, Tokyo, Glass's Cello Concerto at the Beijing International Festival and Eric Whitacre's The River Cam at the Southbank Centre. His recording of the Glass concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Gerard Schwarz was released on Glass' Orange Mountain label in September 2005.

Lloyd Webber in 2001 rehearsing with American composer Philip Glass for the premiere of Glass’ Cello Concerto in Beijing

Other recordings include The Art of Julian Lloyd Webber (2011), Evening Songs (2012), A Tale of Two Cellos (2013), Vivaldi Concertos for Two Cellos (2014) and his debut recording as a conductor of English music for strings And the Bridge Is Love (2015).

In May 2009, Lloyd Webber was elected President of the Elgar Society in succession to Sir Adrian Boult, Lord Menuhin, and Richard Hickox.[9]

On 28 April 2014, Lloyd Webber announced his retirement from public performance as a cellist because of a herniated disc in his neck which reduced the power in his bow arm.[10] His final public performance as a cellist was on 2 May 2014 at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, with the English Chamber Orchestra.

In September 2014, the charity Live Music Now announced Lloyd Webber as its public spokesman.[11]

In 2016 Lloyd Webber scripted and presented 'Classic Cellists at the BBC' for BBC TV[12]

In 2019, to commemorate the centenary of the first performance of Elgar's Cello Concerto in October 1919, Lloyd Webber scripted and presented 'Music in the Air: 100 years of Elgar's Cello Concerto' for Classic FM[13]

In 2021 Lloyd Webber presented and scripted a five part series for Classic FM in which he chose “30 under 30 of today’s finest young musicians at a time when it has never been more difficult for them to show their talents on stage".[14] [15]

Involvement with music education

Lloyd Webber with In Harmony Liverpool young cellist

Demonstrating his involvement in music education,[16] he formed the Music Education Consortium with James Galway and Evelyn Glennie in 2003. As a result of successful and continued lobbying by the Consortium, on 21 November 2007, the UK government announced an infusion of £332 million for music education.[17] In 2008, the British government invited Lloyd Webber to be chairman of its In Harmony programme which is based on the Venezuelan social programme El Sistema. The government-commissioned Henley Review of Music Education (2011) reported, "There is no doubt that they [the In Harmony projects] have delivered life-changing experiences." In July 2011 the founder of El Sistema in Venezuela, José Antonio Abreu, recognised In Harmony as part of the El Sistema worldwide network. Further, in November 2011 the British government announced additional support for In Harmony across England by extending funding from the Department for Education and adding funding from Arts Council England from 2012 to 2015. Lloyd Webber now chairs the charity Sistema England. In October 2012 he led the Incorporated Society of Musicians[18] campaign against the implementation of the English Baccalaureate which proposed to remove arts subjects from the core curriculum. In February 2013 the government withdrew its plans.

Lloyd Webber has represented the music education sector on programmes such as BBC1's Question Time, The Andrew Marr Show, BBC2's Newsnight and BBC Radio 4's Today, The World at One, PM, Front Row and The World Tonight.

Lloyd Webber was part of the panel which produced the UK government's Model Music Curriculum in March 2021.[19]

Principal of Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Lloyd Webber was appointed principal of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in July 2015.[20] During his five-year tenure he oversaw the move to a new £57 million building on the Birmingham City University City Centre Campus and the merger of the Conservatoire with the Birmingham School of Acting. In September 2017 the Conservatoire received the Royal status by Queen Elizabeth II. In September 2020, in recognition of his tenure, Lloyd Webber was appointed Emeritus Professor of Performing Arts by Birmingham City University.[21][22][23] [24]

Honours and awards

Lloyd Webber receives the Fellowship of the Royal College of Music from HRH Prince Charles in 1994

Lloyd Webber received the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in 1998[25] and a Classic FM Red Award for outstanding services to music in 2005.[26] He won the Best British Classical Recording at the 1986 Brit Awards for his recording of Elgar's Cello Concerto with Sir Yehudi Menuhin and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.[26] He was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music in 1994 and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Hull, Plymouth University and Thames Valley University.[26]

He is vice president of the Delius Society and a patron of Music in Hospitals.[26] He has been an ambassador for the Prince's Trust for more than thirty years and a patron of CLIC Sargent for more than thirty years.[26]

In May 2001, he was granted the first busker's licence on the London Underground.[27]

In September 2009 he joined the board of governors of the Southbank Centre.[28] He was the Foundling Museum's Handel Fellow for 2010. He was the only classical musician chosen to play at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony.[26]

On 16 April 2014 Lloyd Webber received the Incorporated Society of Musicians Distinguished Musician Award.[29]

Lloyd Webber was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to music.[30]

Personal life

Julian Lloyd Webber and Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire 2018

Lloyd Webber is married to fellow cellist Jiaxin Cheng and the couple have one daughter, Jasmine Orienta.[31] Lloyd Webber also has one son, David, from his former marriage to Zohra Mahmoud Ghazi, an exiled Afghan princess and great-niece of the last king of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah.[32]

He is a lifelong supporter of Leyton Orient football club.[33][34][35]


Cello and orchestra

Cello and piano

Solo cello




First performances

ComposerWorkFirst performance
Malcolm ArnoldFantasy for CelloWigmore Hall, London, December 1987
Malcolm ArnoldCello ConcertoRoyal Festival Hall, London, March 1989
Richard Rodney BennettDream Sequence for Cello and PianoWigmore Hall, London, December 1994
Frank BridgeScherzetto for Cello and PianoSnape Maltings, April 1979
Frank BridgeOration for Cello and Orchestra (1st public performance)Bromsgrove Festival, Worcestershire, April 1979
Gavin BryarsCello Concerto (Farewell to Philosophy)Barbican Centre, London, November 1995
Geoffrey BurgonSix Studies for Solo CelloPortsmouth Cathedral, June 1980
John DankworthFair Oak FusionFair Oak, Sussex, July 1979
Frederick DeliusRomance for Cello and PianoHelsinki Festival, Finland, June 1976
Edward ElgarRomance for Cello and PianoWigmore Hall, London, April 1985
Philip GlassCello ConcertoBeijing Festival, China, September 2001
Vladimír GodárBarcarolle for Cello, Strings, Harp and HarpsichordHellenic Centre, London, April 1994
Howard GoodallAnd the Bridge Is Love for Cello, Strings and HarpChipping Campden Festival, May 2008
Patrick HawesGloriette for Cello and PianoLeeds Castle, Kent, August 2008
Joseph Haydn (attrib.)Concerto in D, Hob. VIIb:4Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, November 1981
Christopher HeadingtonSerenade for Cello and StringsBanqueting House, London, January 1995
Karl JenkinsBenedictus for Cello, Choir and Orchestra from The Armed ManRoyal Albert Hall, London, April 2000
Philip LaneSoliloquy for Solo CelloWangford Festival, Suffolk, July 1972
Andrew Lloyd WebberVariationsSydmonton Festival, Newbury, July 1977
Andrew Lloyd WebberPhantasia (Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra)Izmir Festival, Turkey, July 2008
William Lloyd WebberNocturne for Cello and PianoPurcell Room, London, February 1995
James MacMillanCello Sonata No. 2Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, April 2001
Michael NymanConcerto for Cello and SaxophoneRoyal Festival Hall, London, March 1997
Joaquín RodrigoConcierto como un divertimentoRoyal Festival Hall, London, April 1982
Peter SkellernFive Love Songs for Cello, Piano, Vocals and Brass QuintetSalisbury International Arts Festival, September 1982
Arthur SullivanCello Concerto (orchestrated Mackerras)Barbican Centre, London, April 1986
Ralph Vaughan WilliamsFantasia on Sussex Folk Tunes for Cello and OrchestraThree Choirs Festival, Gloucester, August 1983
William WaltonTheme for a Prince for Solo CelloAdrian Boult Hall, Birmingham, October 1998
Eric WhitacreThe River Cam for cello and stringsRoyal Festival Hall, London, April 2011


  • Travels with My Cello, Julian Lloyd Webber, Pavilion Books, London (1984). ISBN 0-907516-27-0
  • Julian Lloyd Webber: Married to Music. The Authorised Biography, Margaret Campbell, Robson Books, London (2001). ISBN 1-86105-400-9.
  • Short Sharp Shocks – A Masterclass of the Macabre, ed. Julian Lloyd Webber, Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1990, ISBN 978-0-297-81147-3.
  • Song of the Birds. Sayings, Stories and Impressions of Pablo Casals, compiled, edited and with a foreword by Lloyd Webber, Robson Books, London (1985 . ISBN 0-86051-305-X
  • Numerous editions including Arnold's Fantasy for Cello (Faber Music), Rodrigo's Concierto como un divertimento (Schott) and a series of editions for Faber Music's Young Cellists' Repertoire (books 1, 2 and 3), followed by two advanced volumes, Recital Repertoire for Cellists (books 1 and 2.)
  • Editions of the major cello repertoire, The Julian Lloyd Webber Performing Edition, Kevin Mayhew Ltd.


  1. "English composer and impresario of musical theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber (left)[sic] accompanies his brother, solo cellist and conductor, Julian Lloyd Webber, on his marriage to journalist, Celia Ballantyne, 1974", Getty image
  2. "Julian Lloyd Webber is selling his Stradivarius after being forced to retire" by Graham Young, Birmingham Post, 29 January 2015; quote:"After marrying journalist Celia Ballantyne in 1974 ..."
  3. "The Telegraph 7 May 2007"
  4. Dedication from Herbert Howells
  5. Letter from Pierre Fournier
  6. Andrew Mikolajski: The Strad, July 1984.
  7. Jerrold Northrop Moore: "Building a Library", BBC Music Magazine, September 1992.
  8. "Britten/Walton Works for Cello and Orchestra", review by Edward Greenfield, Gramophone
  9. "Julian Lloyd Webber President of Elgar Society". Classic FM. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  10. Imogen Tilden (28 April 2014). "Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber announces retirement from performing". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  11. "Julian Lloyd Webber joins Live Music Now", 22 September 2014, Live Music Now
  12. "Classic Cellists at the BBC", 8 May 2020 BBC Programmes
  13. "Julian Lloyd Webber to present ‘100 years of Elgar’s Cello Concerto’ on Classic FM", 19 October 2019
  14. "Britain's Young Classical Musicians Need Our Help Like Never Before", 28 February 2021 The Telegraph
  15. "Julian Lloyd Webber's Rising Stars", February 2021 The Times
  16. Laura Barnett (8 January 2014). "Julian Lloyd Webber, cellist – portrait of the artist". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
  17. "Julian Lloyd Webber: We're heading down Venezuela way, at last". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  18. "Bacc for the Future campaign launched". Incorporated Society of Musicians. Archived from the original on 3 January 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  19. "New Music Curriculum to Help Schools Deliver World-Class Teaching", 26 March 2021
  20. "Julian Lloyd Webber Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire". Classic FM. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  21. "Prestigious university status awarded to Professor Julian Lloyd Webber in recognition of his successful tenure at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire", University News, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 20 August 2020
  22. "Julian Lloyd Webber to leave the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire", Gramophone, 20 August 2020
  23. [https://www.bcu.ac.uk/conservatoire/about-us/news/first-album-released-between-rbc-and-naxos "First album released in unique partnership between Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Naxos Records, 20 July 2020
  24. "Conservatoire achieves the highest NSS result of all UK conservatoires for the second year running", 11 December 2019
  25. "Previous Recipients of the Crystal Award" (PDF). weforum.org. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  26. "Cellist Julian Lloyd Webber – A Conversation with Bruce Duffie". 6 November 1995. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  27. "Lloyd Webber gets underground vibe". BBC News. 14 May 2001. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  28. "Board of Governors". Southbank Centre. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  29. "Julian Lloyd Webber receives the ISM's Distinguished Musician Award for services to music education". Incorporated Society of Musicians. Archived from the original on 27 April 2014.
  30. "No. 63377". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2021. p. B14.
  31. "Bowing Out Gracefully". Cotswold Life, 15 May 2015
  32. "People: A cellist and a princess bride", Asbury Park Press, 23 June 1989, via Pakistan Times, July 1989, p. 30
  33. "I am nomadic and could live almost anywhere", interview by Angela Wintle, The Times, 20 October 2019
  34. "My club: Julian Lloyd Webber on naming his daughter after Leyton Orient", The Sunday Times 15 November 2020
  35. "Exclusive Interview: Julian Lloyd Webber on Orient", View from the West Stand 5 September 2011