British Conductor/Violinist Iona Brown Dies

Found acclaim with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.

Noted conductor/violinist Iona Brown died June 5 of cancer in her hometown of Salisbury, England. She was 63.

Originally named Elizabeth Iona Brown, she was born to a musical family: father Antony was a pianist, and mother Fiona was a violinist.

One of the most notable female conductors and solo violinists of her generation, Brown was perhaps best known as director of British ensemble the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. She joined the Academy in 1964, first as a member of the orchestra and then as the group's artistic director as of 1974.

As a violinist, Brown made a wealth of recordings with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, including Vaughn Williams' "The Lark Ascending", Beethoven's Violin Concerto, all five Mozart Violin Concertos, and Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." She also recorded Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Philharmonia and conductor Simon Rattle, as well as David Blake's Violin Concerto, a piece written for and dedicated to Brown.

In 1981, she was named artistic and music director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. She also conducted such renowned orchestras as the San Francisco Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, Washington D.C.'s National Symphony, the London Philharmonic and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra. From 1985-89, Brown served as guest conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. In 1987, she was named music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

In 1986, she was appointed to the Order of the British Empire; in 1991, King Harald of Norway named her a Knight of First Class Merit.

She is survived by her second husband, Bjorn Arnils.