David Whiston

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David Whiston

David Whiston (born 8 October 1941) grew up in Yorkshire, England and received violin lessons from his early childhood. He made his first television appearance at the age of 12. A year later he won first prize at the Blackpool Music Festival.

At 14 years old, Whiston was the youngest student ever to win a major scholarship to the Royal College of Music, London. In 1957 he performed his debut recital at the Leighton House Museum. He also won the Ricketts Prize of the Royal College of Music. His violin teacher was Erich Gruenberg. From age 17 he regularly worked with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and went on a world tour with this orchestra in the early 1960s.

Subsequently, he performed with the London Symphony Orchestra that was led by John Georgiadis [1] at the time. Over the next two decades he played with all the major London orchestras, becoming co-leader of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He worked under well-known conductors and musicians such as Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Adrian Boult, Yehudi Menuhin, Igor Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, Aaron Copland and André Previn.

For a while he changed to lighter music. As Concert Master of the London Palladium Orchestra he accompanied many well-known artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Count Basie and Marlene Dietrich.

During this time Whiston also undertook many commitments as a session player with The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Barry White, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and many others. Before he moved to Switzerland in the late 70s he was Concert Master of The Royal Ballet Orchestra, London and accompanied Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.

In Zurich he was leading the second violins in the Opera House. After a short period back in England, Whiston returned to Switzerland for good at the beginning of the 1980s and since then has been working as a freelance musician. He accompanied the Zurich Chamber Orchestra as second Concert Master on a tour of England and played in various chamber music ensembles, trio concerts and recitals with among others Rudolf am Bach, Annette Weisbrod, Robert Wilson, Sir James Brown, Susan Drake, Thomas Demenga and Jörg E. Dähler.

David Whiston occasionally performs in benefit concerts, for example the one held on 18 June 2011, at the Rudolf Steiner School in Basel.[2]

David Whiston's violin was made by Nicolò Amati, a member of one of the great violin-making families of Cremona. The maker's name and the date 1680 appear on the label inside the instrument. Scratched into the varnish on the back of the violin is the name of an early owner.

David Whiston's hobbies are pistol shooting and motoring.


  • "Orchestra Soloists 2000-2007". Isle of Axholme Orchestra. 
  • Ernest Kay (1975). International Who's Who in Music 1975, Seventh Edition. Cambridge: Melrose. ASIN – B001NB7SP0.