The LSG – a brief history

Some of the first Suzuki teaching in UK

The London Suzuki Group was formed round the kitchen table of Helen Brunner. Helen, a violin graduate of Royal College of Music, was introduced to the Suzuki Method in the USA in 1968. Her own four children were taught by some of the original Japanese Suzuki teachers.

She returned to London and pioneered some of the first Suzuki teaching in UK with a handful of friends and colleagues including Elisabeth Waterhouse and Clare Santer. At that time, researching for Suzuki training in the UK, Helen became a founder member of a Suzuki Steering Committee, which enabled US teachers, John Kendall and William Starr, to train teachers in Hertfordshire over 2 years. This also included the London teachers.

The group became a registered charity called the London Suzuki Group

During the 1970’s the group expanded with cello, taught by Annette Costanzi and piano with Caroline Gowers. The group became a registered charity called the London Suzuki Group in 1972. Nigel Kennedy and Sir Colin Davis were early patrons. Nicolas Barker served as London Suzuki Group ( LSG ) chairman with a board of trustees, Donald Foord was hon. treasurer, and Helen Brunner was director of the group. The LSG soon grew to include an administrator and a bursary committee.

This was the only Suzuki group in Britain for nearly ten years. During this time, the LSG put on hundreds of concerts, talks, demonstrations and master classes, as well as courses, camps, conferences and tours around the globe. Kaoru Tomita, a teacher trained in Japan by Dr. Suzuki, also came to London and joined the flourishing LSG.

Helen Brunner served as Music Director 1972-1987 and was succeeded by Christine Livingstone 1987-2003.

In 2003 the LSG teachers voted to expand the group and welcome any trained Suzuki teacher who wanted to join the LSG. As the size of the teacher group grew, it was decided to introduce two new roles to facilitate the organisation of the new LSG’s activities. Concerts and workshops were run by teacher directors and the role of a teacher coordinator was introduced. Jane Afia was teacher co-ordinator and LSG chair from 2003 to 2010. Michael Rose took over as LSG chair in 2010 and Cheryl Cory became the co-ordinator 2010-2012. Louisa Stuber is our current co-ordinator.

The London Suzuki Group that originally started round Helen’s kitchen table is now a group of 60+ teachers all across London, teaching violin, viola, cello, piano, voice, recorder and flute.