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Adrian A. Smith

b. Kingston-upon-Hull, 28 October 1931

d. Huddersfield, 6 December 2005

Contributions from
John Quinn
Paul Serotsky
Sir Malcolm Arnold, CBE
Arthur Butterworth MBE
Mathew Curtis
Keith Llewellyn
Elaine Carter
Marilyn and Dick Myers, Edgewood Symphony Orchestra
Stuart Marsden, SPO Trumpeter

From Maggie Cotton, CBSO Principal Percussionist (retired), writer, critic -

I knew Adrian only for the last 12 years, but it did not take long for me to realise that here was someone who would change my life. In 1993 Adrian had acquired a reference book which I had compiled useful for conductors among other people. This initially unremarkable incident spawned clumsy e-mails on my part, and sparky encouragement for further writing from Adrian. Our eventual friendship was a curious meeting of musical minds, as we had very little else in common - I soon learnt to keep off the subjects of religion, politics, current attitudes, organ music and certain well-disliked (by me) English composers.

We met in due course, when I visited my family in my home town of Huddersfield, and this was when Adrian asked me to write something for his Philharmonic magazine. The Slaithwaite Phil. was one of the very first orchestras I played in as a young girl, so when he suggested that I might like to come north to take part in a concert, I found the closing of this particular circle totally irresistible.

As our sometimes gritty exchanges grew, more magazine articles landed on his desk. I was flattered to find that he resisted any heavy editing of what must often have been, to him, a frivolous approach. He was intrigued to delve into the vagaries of my professional orchestra, and no doubt observed the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with new eyes and ears from that time. Our telephone conversations ranged from, "Are you listening to Radio 3? . . . what are they doing?" to watching TV with open phone lines and comments flying back and forth. His rusty laugh was ever welcome as we exchanged ideas, and I learnt a lot about our rich language and how to write without losing my own personality.

"When are you going to write that book?" The nettle was eventually grasped and with massive support from Adrian I decided to do just that. To my astonishment he asked to be allowed to edit my efforts - oh, what a relief! Battle commenced and continued for over two years. Learning curves were steep and at times painful, but Adrian was my ever-present safety net: caring, careful, patient, maddening, generous, critical but always supportive and there for me.

Having spent endless months trying, with his help, to find a publisher, I am slowly coming round to the fact that he had the right idea in the first place. Yes, Adrian, I will grit my teeth and have a crack at self-publishing. I am only too sad that you will never hold the finished article in your hand, but the first-page dedication will be solely for you, as I am determined to do you proud.

I already miss you, dear friend, and know that I am not alone in this.



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