In remembrance of Judith Ackrill

19th October 2018



English Touring Opera has learned of the death of Judith Ackrill.

Remarkable, incisive, beautiful Judith was a friend, supporter, advisor and trustee of English Touring Opera for 24 years. She understood the company and its mission more than anyone, and enjoyed company performances with generous good will as well as critical insight. Around the time of each AGM, Judith would ask me if it was not time for her to leave the board, and I would entreat her to stay one more year, to help us to assess the fairness of auditioning, the sharpness of our self-evaluation, the clarity of our ways of listening to audience members – and, most recently, the recruitment of a new Music Director.

Judith was a strong advocate for the inspired work of ETO’s former Associate Artist (Education), Tim Yealland. Clear thinking, sensitive, wise, Judith has been a wonderful guide and friend to me, and both a guardian and a champion of English Touring Opera.

I know that Judith worked hard for high standards and generous access in music and the arts in the UK – both in organisations (most recently the LSO) and as a freelance consultant. In my life there has been no one quite like her – and music in the UK is richer because she served it with energy and intelligence.

ETO dedicated to her memory the opening performance of the new production of works by Carissimi, Gesualdo and Purcell, and performed then as an encore a Carissimi chorus from Jephte that she had particularly admired. The exquisite ‘Plorate, filii Israel’ will now always be associated with Judith for the whole team at ETO.

James Conway
(ETO General Director)

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