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Tributes for violinist killed in motorcycle accident

Date

Julieanne Strachan

Sorely missed ...  Lorna Cumming, pictured in 2005.

Sorely missed ... Lorna Cumming, pictured in 2005. Photo: Supplied

The Australian Chamber Orchestra is in mourning for the loss of one of its longest-serving musicians, Lorna Cumming.

The talented violinist died on Saturday during a horror weekend on Canberra's roads, when accidents claimed the lives of two women in separate crashes.

Cumming was riding pillion on a motorcycle that crashed on the Cotter Road about 2.30am on Saturday.

An ACT Policing spokeswoman said the male driver of the motorcycle was taken to the Canberra Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra is on tour overseas and learnt of the tragedy at the weekend when stationed in Hong Kong, where it was performing at the Hong Kong Arts Festival.

Timothy Calnin, the general manager of the chamber orchestra, said in a statement that the loss of Cumming had been deeply felt by members of the orchestra.

"The musicians, board and management of the Australian Chamber Orchestra are deeply shocked and distressed by the news of the tragic death of our former colleague Lorna Cumming,'' he said.

Cumming's father, Les Cumming, said on Tuesday night that his daughter wanted to benefit a major charity when she left the orchestra in May 2008. ''On her departure from the ACO she requested no farewell gift,'' he said. ''Instead she asked that any donations towards a parting gift be forwarded to Oxfam since she had a great love of animals and a marked caring for the less fortunate peoples of Africa and other countries.

''Lorna was a deeply thoughtful daughter and sister, her artistic bent showed in a number of ways. She loved cooking, was quite a connoisseur of Australian wines, she cared greatly for her family and was generous to a fault.''

Mr Cumming said his daughter's talent for the violin had been spotted at an early age and she trained at the Canberra School of Music under Vincent Edwards and Charmain Gadd as a scholarship holder.

Mr Calnin said the Australian Chamber Orchestra's fondness for Cumming had continued long after her departure from the organisation.

''She remained a dear friend to many of us and we all extend our sincerest condolences to her heartbroken family,'' he said.

Father's tribute to Lorna

Lorna Anne Cumming was born at the Old Canberra Hospital on 8 May 1969.

The first daughter of Aileen and Les Cumming of Lyons, she attended Lyons Primary school followed by Melrose High. 

In 1975 she decided she wanted to learn the violin and began a course of study with Sue Khouri.

On Mrs Khouri’s departure to Sydney, Lorna began a lengthy course of study with Josette Esqurden.

Having shown a special talent, she was accepted as a student at the Canberra School of Music under the tutelage of Vincent Edwards and Charmain Gadd as a scholarship holder. 

During her later years at the school of music she was involved in a combined Canberra School Music Orchestra and the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

Her talent as a violinist was noticed by Carl Pini and as a result she was invited to play with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

This led to a career of 20 years in the prestigious Australian icon. During this time she played with the orchestra in various Australian venues, broadcasting and travelling overseas twice annually to the world's most revered festivals and concert halls, including the Edinborough Festival, Carnegie Hall, Concertebrau, Musik Verein and various broadcasts in the UK and Europe. 

On her departure from the ACO she requested no farewell gift. Instead she asked that any donations towards a parting gift be forwarded to Oxfam since she had a great love of animals and a marked caring for the less fortunate peoples of Africa and other countries. 

Lorna was a deeply thoughtful daughter and sister, her artistic bent showed in a number of ways. She loved cooking, was quite a connoisseur of Australian wines, she cared greatly for her family and was generous to a fault. 

She loved nothing better than a ride on a motorbike and enjoyed the various Australian seasons to the full. She was greatly admired for her talent, generosity and beauty.

She was an inspiration to friends and young people and had gained a wealth of experience in the foods and wines of the world and the many different dished she had sampled overseas. She was always willing to try these out on her lucky family and friends.

Lorna will be remembered as always being true to herself, she called a spade a spade and respected that in others. Her wry sense of humour never failed her. She loved her family unconditionally and will be sorely missed. - Les Cumming, father

2 comments

  • Words cannot express my sadness to hear the sad sad news about Lorna's death. I worked with her all those years ago in the ACO and I remember her lovely personality and great talent. I only hope that her family are able to cope with this terrible loss.

    Commenter
    Debbie Scholem
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    March 20, 2013, 1:39PM
    • Lorna you will be sorely missed. One of the first people I met in Australia and one of the best.

      Commenter
      Alex roberts
      Date and time
      March 20, 2013, 7:51PM
      Comments are now closed
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