Classical music champion programmes special weekend of performances for his final season
A champion of the city's classical music scene is to step down from his role with Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music at the end of the season.
Roger Rowe, who was made an MBE for his services to music in Norfolk, has been programme organiser for NNCM since 1997 but he has decided that this season will be his last.
As part of his final season he has organised a special weekend of music on January 21 and 22 at the John Innes Centre with musician Michael Collins, who Mr Rowe describes as 'one of England's greatest clarinet players.'
Mr Rowe, who turns 80 in June, said: 'He also played in the very first programme I ever organised. He's bringing eight of his friends who play different instruments, and there will be a great variety of music from classical Viennese - Beethoven and Schubert - right through to contemporary music with Messiaen, all played by great instrumentalists.'
When asked about his highlights over the years, Mr Rowe said: 'The thing that has given me the most satisfaction is the way the audiences have built up and we now get almost full houses for every performance...We have got a very loyal band of devotees coming in from all over the county.'
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He said he felt Norwich deserved to have great musical performances and that is why he had made it his mission to bring the best possible musicians to the city.
Among his favourites were the members of the Russian group The Borodin Quartet.
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He said: 'In 2004 they played all the Beethoven quartets and we had full houses all the time. They came back in 2006 and played all the quartets by Shostakovich, Norwich was the only place they played all the quartets outside of Moscow. I think that is one of my finest moments, but there have been lots of wonderful moments.'
Mr Rowe, a retired chartered surveyor who plays the piano, was also on the board of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival from 1988 until 2000 and for the last six years was vice chairman of the board of trustees. He lives in Park Lane and owns the chapel next door to him which he has turned into a music room for rehearsals and performances.
He won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Norfolk Arts Awards.
Brother and sister team Misha Donat and Julia Donat will be taking over from Mr Rowe when he retires from NNCM.
Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at firstname.lastname@example.org