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Terence Weil (9 December 1921 in Londonmarker25 February 1995 in Figueras) was a British cellist, principal cellist of the English Chamber Orchestra, a founding member of the Melos Ensemble, a leading chamber musician and an influential teacher at the Royal Northern College of Musicmarker.


Terence Weil was trained as a cellist under Herbert Walenn at the Royal Academy of Musicmarker. After the war he joined the string quartet formed by the violinist Emanuel Hurwitz, a friend and colleague. He played principal cello with chamber orchestras such as the Goldsbrough Orchestra (later to become the English Chamber Orchestra) and was a preferred continuo cellist.

Together with the clarinettist Gervase de Peyer and the violist Cecil Aronowitz, he had helped, in 1950, to found the Melos Ensemble. He was the cellist of the group for decades, as Cecil Aronowitz was the violist. Bassoonist William Waterhouse wrote in 1995: "It was the remarkable rapport between this pair of lower strings, which remained constant throughout a succession of distinguished leaders, that gave a special distinction to this outstanding ensemble."

His close association with Benjamin Britten began in 1946, when he played in the premiere of The Rape of Lucretia, at the first post-war season of the Glyndebourne Festivalmarker. He took part in every one of the early Aldeburgh Festivalsmarker, playing at the premieres of the operas Albert Herring and Noye's Fludde. The composer conducted the Melos Ensemble in the first performance of his War Requiem in Coventrymarker in 1962 and also in the first recording in 1963.

In 1951 Terence Weil premiered the Suite for viola and cello by Arthur Butterworth with Cecil Aronowitz.

In the 1960s, he played in the Cremona Quartet with leader Hugh Maguire, Iona Brown, and Aronowitz. In the Pro Arte Piano Quartet he played with Kenneth Sillito (violin), Aronowitz, and Lamar Crowson (piano).

In 1974 he became the first Professor of Chamber Music at the newly opened Royal Northern College of Music in Manchestermarker. Among the student groups that he coached were the Brodsky Quartet. The institute regularly awards a Terence Weil prize for chamber music.

In 1985 he retired to Cadaquésmarker.


His long discography includes many notable recordings with the Melos Ensemble, including the Trout Quintet and octets of Schubert, the Clarinet Quintet of Mozart and the Clarinet Quintet of Brahms. He also recorded trios and quartets by Schumann and Fauré with the Pro Arte Piano Quartet and string quartets with the Cremona Quartet. He was the cellist in a recording of Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell with the English Chamber Orchestra and Janet Baker. A 1964 performance of Mozart's Piano Quartet K.478 was filmed in London, with Benjamin Britten (piano), Emanuel Hurwitz and Cecil Aronowitz. Many reviews of his recordings are available in the Gramophone Archive.


Terence Weil played an Amati and later a cello built by Matteo Goffriller that had belonged to Casals before.


  1. Obituary Terence Weil The Independent, William Waterhouse, 9 March 1995
  2. Biography Chadbourne
  3. Works by Butterworth
  4. Obituary Iona Brown The Guardian, Anne Inglis, 10 June 2004
  5. Terence Weil Memorial Competitions
  6. Purcell
  7. Legendary British Performers

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