Robert Issell, 1938-2017

Robert Issell, 1938-2017

August 23, 2017
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Bob was a lovely, generous man and an excellent violinist, who enriched our musical life, both here in Auckland and in England, where the bulk of his professional orchestral career took place.


My first impressions of Bob came early: I was a young, self-doubting student playing my first professional orchestral gigs in the Symphonia of Auckland, the precursor of the Auckland Philharmonia; Bob was the leader of the orchestra, genial, gifted and effortlessly skilled.

Very soon after, he left for London to try his luck as a free-lance musician, and soon proved his abilities by scoring a full-time position first with the LSO and then with the orchestra he revered the most in the world, the Royal Philharmonic. And there he remained until the mid-1990’s, when serious ill-health brought him back to live in New Zealand. After his recovery in 2000, he devoted himself to teaching, a path he embraced with characteristic enthusiasm and commitment.

Bob was a man of many talents – he was also a passionate fisherman and the founder of a successful advertising agency, as well as a much-loved father, grandfather and great grandfather. The last 17 years felt, to him and those close to him, like an unexpected gift, every day a bonus to be lived fully and well.



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