Rodney Friend is internationally acclaimed as one of the most distinguished British violinists.
During an outstanding career, he has performed internationally as a soloist and leader with conductors and composers including Haitink, Barbirolli, Mehta, Leinsdorf, Solti, Giulini, Davis, Barenboim, Rozdestvensky, Boult, Stravinsky, Britten, Walton, Bliss, Barber, Copland, Bernstein, Boulez, Hindemith, Tippett, Lutosiawski, Henze, Birtwistle, Maxwell Davies, Penderecki.
Rodney Friend made his London debut playing Sibelius concerto with Sr John Barbirolli and US debut playing Britten concerto with the New York Philharmonic. Among his many recordings, performances of Britten, Bach and Kreisler for EMI have received the highest critical acclaim.
In 1964 he became the youngest ever leader of the London Philharmonic, working closely with Bernard Haitink, Barenboim, Solti and Giulini. In 1975 he received the unique honour for a British violinist when he was invited by the New York Philharmonic to be their Concertmaster, playing concerts and recording worldwide with Bernstein, Boulez, Ormandy, Leinsdorf and Mehta. It is with these two orchestras that he has recorded almost the entire orchestral repertoire.
In 1980 he became concertmaster of the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Rozhdestvensky and consultant of violin at the Royal College of Music. Later he returned as professor of violin to his place of study The Royal Academy of Music. Since 1990 he has worked solely in the areas of teaching, solo performances and chamber music. During this time, he has travelled extensively giving masterclasses and appearing as a jury member for most of the international violin competition.
In 1991 he formed the Solomon Trio with whom he toured Europe, playing at such venues as La Scala Milan and recording much of the great trio literature for Carlton Records.
Rodney Friend was founder and Artistic Director of the highly successful Cambridge International String Academy and in 2020 he founded Friends International Violin Academy, bringing together an outstanding faculty of violinists for his online course.
The first two volumes of his books, The Orchestral Violinist published by Boosey and Hawkes, received universal acclaim as being the most important works so far produced for this discipline. In 2020 his book The Violin in 5ths was successfully launched by Beares Publishing.
The recipient of many awards including an MBE from her Majesty the Queen for services to music, he plays a Joseph Guarnerius violin dated 1696.