Robert Stutley (1953-2020)
I was deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and unexpected death of Robert Stutley early on Tuesday morning. I received a message from his wife Margaret and spoke with her on the phone at some length.
Robert was my most devoted and loyal fan and had been at virtually all my UK concerts over the last fifteen years or so. We would always speak together after a performance and eventually he would arrive early and come to rehearsals too. For the members of my ensemble, he became like one of the band, and over the years our acquaintance developed into friendship. He would have to calculate some quite tricky travel arrangements to be at our concerts, especially with the last train from London being around 11:15pm, and he would negotiate his collection from Kettering or Peterborough station with Margaret. And in difficult cases I gave him a lift in my car as he lived about 20 miles from my home. Sometimes I was amazed that he even knew of some of the events, like when he turned up for my daughter Mashka’s lunchtime piano recital – as part of the regular Oakham school midweek concert series.
As both he and Margaret were passionate sports fans, he would occasionally turn up early in the evening at my home on the way back from football, cricket or rugby in Leicester (they went to football and cricket matches in Northampton too, but that was in a different direction from my home).
His passion was for quite particular areas of music. Apart from mine, he would go to London to see performances by Michael Nyman, Phillip Glass, Steve Reich and occasionally speak with them too, though that never developed into friendships. He would go down to London early and spend the afternoon buying CDs – Beethoven was a major love too.
A couple of years ago he finally got a passport and he and Margaret came to Amsterdam in February 2019 to see Requiem, my ballet with David Dawson for the Dutch National Ballet. They also booked trips on the canal, arranged timed visits to museums and so on. While they were there, however, Margaret’s mother died but, after some thought and after speaking with family in England, decided to complete their trip. So, we were able to have lunch together, they had tickets for the premiere and were guests for the post-performance party. In the event, they said that the Requiem performance was an ideal form of therapy for them
Robert had many serious health issues – he told me on several occasions that he could die at any moment. He stayed in isolation throughout the whole of the current virus crisis, and we stayed in touch by text message and occasional phone calls. His death had nothing to do with Covid and in spite of his poor health was completely out of the blue.
I let all my musicians know about Robert’s death and all the members of my ensemble where shocked and saddened by the news.
Oh no that’s awful news Gavin! I liked Robert a lot, he was another member of the ensemble in a way. That is so sad to hear!
Oh, Gavin that’s terrible…his poor wife…it’s unbearable. A lovely man… absolutely one in a million. This is such a shock.
Very sorry to hear this. He was a very nice chap. X
He was a gem! It was always such a pleasure seeing him when he came to our gigs. I think he was at all the UK concerts. Very sad. We’ll miss him. RIP Robert
Oh, Gavin I’m so sorry – he was such a nice bloke and never short of a story or ten! It won’t feel the same at our UK gigs with him not present. Lots of love and thanks for letting us know xxxx
Aaaah, sad news indeed, he was one of the good guys