Richard Adeney was born in 1920, the son of the painter Bernard Adeney. His mother was also a painter, and knew many of the artists and writers now labelled as “the Bloomsbury Group”. He went to the Royal College of Music, where one of his contemporaries and close friends was Malcolm Arnold. He joined the London Philharmonic in 1941, initially as second flute, and played with them until 1950 and again from 1961 to 1970.
During his time with the LPO he played under all the great conductors of the time; his book contains perceptive, entertaining and at times delightfully disrespectful anecdotes about many of them. “Never ever forget,” he was told by the first flute early on in his career, “that the conductor is your natural enemy.”
He was a member of the Melos Ensemble, the English Chamber Orchestra and other smaller groups, and performed frequently as a soloist. He played regularly at the Aldeburgh Festival, where the orchestra gave the first performances of many of Benjamin Britten’s works. He also worked as a Samaritans volunteer for many years.
He retired from professional work at the age of 70 and promptly sold all his flutes “for I feared becoming an incompetent amateur sadly harking back to lost expertise” but remains actively involved in the world of classical music.
Richard Adeney died in December 2010.