Diana Cummings
 
 
Potrait of Diana Cummings Diana Cummings was born in London into a musical family: her father, Keith Cummings, a native of Perth, Western Australia, was a distinguished viola player who played in the Blech String Quartet and then the London String Quartet. 

At an early age Diana started to play the piano and then the violin and her first concert experiences were on both instruments. The violin, however took precedence, she joined the London Schools Symphony Orchestra with whom she performed both the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos in London and on their tours of England, and led the orchestra until she began her studentship at the Royal Academy of Music in London. (Over 30 years later Diana's eldest son, Damian, was to follow on to become also the leader of the LSSO). She studied for four years at the Royal Academy with David Martin, and after gaining the Recital Diploma she won an Italian Government Scholarship and was made an award by the Countess of Munster Trust to continue her studies with Remy Principe in Rome. After two years she went on to New York to study with Louis Persinger. 

She was a prize winner in the International Violin Competition "Nicolo Paganini", and the International Violin Competition "A.Curci". 

It was whilst studying in Rome that she met the violist Luciano Iorio, later to become her husband. On completion of her studies she settled in Italy where together with Luciano she developed a wide ranging solo and chamber music activity. 

In 1971 they returned to London to join with Diana's brothers Julian(violin) and Douglas(cello) as the Cummings String Quartet. At the same time Diana was developing a busy solo career, giving recitals, concerto performances and frequent BBC broadcasts. Orchestrally she played amongst others with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, English Chamber Orchestra, Philomusica of London under George Malcolm, and the London Bach Orchestra with whom she gave many solo performances of the repertoire of Bach. She was leader and soloist of the Northern Chamber Orchestra from 1975 - 1985. She formed the Cummings String Trio in 1975, and subsequently took over the leadership of the English String Quartet. Both these ensembles have toured widely in Great Britain, Europe and the USA, have broadcast frequently and have made many CD recordings. 

Diana has an extensive repertoire ranging from the baroque period to the contemporary including the Violin Concertos of Kurt Weill and Peter Maxwell  

For many years she visited Finland on a regular basis teaching, coaching, and giving chamber music recitals and concerto performances - she gave the first performance in Finland of the Violin Concerto of Peter Maxwell Davis. 

Diana Cummings is in continuous demand as orchestral leader. She has been guest leader of many of this country's major symphony orchestras; since 1977 she has been the leader of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra, a post that she still holds; she also leads the Chelsea Opera Group. 

In 1982 following the death of her teacher David Martin, Diana became a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music. She was made a Fellow in 1988. In 1994 she became also a Professor at Trinity College of Music. She adjudicates at Festivals and Competitions internationally. 

In 1995 Luciano Iorio founded the London Festival of Chamber Music of which Diana is one of the principal performers. This is a month long, London wide musical event, bringing familiar repertoire and rarities to enthusiastic and increasingly large audiences of all ages. 

Diana has three children, all now at the threshold of blossoming careers. Damian (born in 1972) is at the start of a successful career as an orchestral conductor, Simon (1974) is studying to become an operatic tenor, and Camilla (1978) who, making a very definite decision not to follow the family trend into music, is using her artistic and creative skills as a hairdresser. 

Photograph of Diana Cummings by Naomi Zeitlin. (c) copyright 2000, 2001. All rights reserved
 
 
 
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