Chichester disappointment as cellist Lloyd Webber bows out

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This year’s Festival of Chichester has lost one of its stars with the sudden retirement of cellist Julian Lloyd Webber.

Lloyd Webber was scheduled to perform in Chichester Cathedral with Worthing Symphony Orchestra at this year’s Festival on Friday, July 11 at 8pm.

But on Monday, he announced his performing days were over – because of a neck injury which has left him unable to play.

Worthing Symphony Orchestra spokesman Eddie Hurcombe said: “We are all stunned by the news. (Conductor) John Gibbons had a very regretful email from Julian.”

Mr Hurcombe confirmed the show would go on: “We are already trying to find a soloist of standing. We do not plan to abandon the concert. John will, of course, explore all avenues.”

63-year-old Lloyd Webber said a herniated disc in his neck had reduced the power in his right arm.

He told the BBC: “I am devastated. There were so many exciting plans that cannot now come to fruition. I have had an immensely-fulfilling career and feel privileged to have worked with so many great musicians and orchestras but now I have to move on.”

His final concert as a performer will be at the Forum Theatre, Malvern, with the English Chamber Orchestra on May 2.

Festival of Chichester, June 14-July 13, www.festivalofchichester.co.uk. Tickets from Chichester Tickets, Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX; www.chichestertickets.co.uk; or 01243 813595.