A Statement from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra:
Death of Felix Kok
The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra is saddened to hear of the death of Felix Kok who died on Wednesday 11th August at the age of 86. Felix led the CBSO with great distinction for 23 years, between the years of 1965 to 1988, and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.
Felix was born in South Africa and came to England in 1938. During the War, he played in the Blech String Quartet and founded the Beaufort Trio, later joining the well-known Boyd Neel String Orchestra. He spent some years with Walter Legge's Philharmonia Orchestra, playing under great conductors such as Karajan, Klemperer, Cantelli, Bruno Walter and Furtwängler. In 1959 he became Leader of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, under Constantin Silvestri and Charles Groves, and in 1965 became Leader of the CBSO, serving under three Principal Conductors: Hugo Rignold, Louis Frémaux and Sir Simon Rattle.
Stephen Maddock CBSO Chief Executive said: "Felix was part of the CBSO family for more than two decades. When he took on the Leader role, his experience was unrivalled and his commitment, unfailing. He led the Orchestra through an significant period of change that was to result in the appointment of Rattle and a new era of world-class music making for the CBSO. As we look towards our 90th Anniversary, Felix's legacy - as the longest serving Leader of the Orchestra - will live on in an Orchestra whose passion and determination has led them to be the best at what they do."