Julian Lloyd Webber opens up about injury and shock retirement

21 May 2014, 16:01

After announcing his forced retirement due to a herniated disc, the cellist has revealed his coping strategy and his plans for the future following his final concert.

Listen to David Mellor's exclusive interview with Julian Lloyd Webber >

Julian Lloyd Webber has opened up about his forced retirement, following the discovery of a problem with his bowing arm during a performance in October 2013. "No sooner had the concert began then I just felt 'what's wrong?'" he explained to Classic FM's David Mellor. "I couldn't really hold the bow properly and just felt very very weak.

"Many doctors and surgeons later I discovered I actually had this herniated disc which is pressing on my spinal canal and therefore there is a loss of power in the bowing arm as a result."

Gallery: Julian Lloyd Webber's career in pictures

After weighing up his options and taking advice from medical experts, Lloyd Webber has decided not to pursue surgery to fix the problem. His repertoire is now limited to less powerful works - meaning famous concertos by Elgar and Shostakovich are now off limits.

"I'm going to massively miss the Elgar and all the other great works I can't play now," he said. "I could have gone on playing The Swan probably for the rest of my life, but I like to play the big pieces and it just was no longer possible. I was having to be really careful the music I chose and it was very restrictive."

He added: "When you're a soloist with an orchestra, as a cellist you've got to make a massively powerful sound to get through that orchestra and it's hard enough at the best of times; when there's a problem it's just no fun at all. And not really fair on either the music or the audience."

Following his final concert on May 2, Lloyd Webber now intends to dedicate more time to his work in the field of music education. He has also hinted he may increase his responsibilities as a music director and conductor.

Julian Lloyd Webber opens up about his injury

Classic FM's David Mellor interviews Julian Lloyd Webber about his life and career on 25 May at 7pm.

Classic FM Apps

Get the Classic FM app for iPhone, iPad and Android - now with HD audio

Meerkat falling asleep to music theory class

This meerkat falling asleep to a music theory class is such a happy sight

game of thrones musical notation

Musical terminology, illustrated by Game of Thrones

Don Ellis time signature asset

If you can work out the time signature of this piece you’re officially a musical genius