‘Queen of Music PR’ Dvora Lewis leaves a legacy of going the extra mile

Dvora Lewis receives a silver plate, presented to her by Kathryn McDowell, LSO Managing Director. Pi

Dvora Lewis receives a silver plate, presented to her by Kathryn McDowell, LSO Managing Director. Picture: Chris Christodoulou - Credit: Archant

A farewell evening for the Hampstead orchestrator, led by the LSO, was a clear sign of her importance to the country’s music scene, says Michael White.

They called her, almost universally, the Queen of Music PR in this country; and for something like three decades she was just that, running a small empire from her Hampstead Village home that marketed great orchestras, great festivals, and some of the most celebrated names in serious music to the world at large.

But now – and it seems like the passing of an era – the formidable but much-loved Dvora Lewis has retired, to spend time with her grandchildren. And the event was suitably marked the other week with a post-concert party at the Barbican where one of her chief clients, the London Symphony Orchestra, had made a special dedication of the evening to her.

She’d been tending the assorted triumphs, traumas and occasional crises of the LSO for 37 years. And alongside that, she looked after its conductors – Colin Davis, Slava Rostropovich, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Tilson Thomas, Andre Previn – some of whom relied on her for service way beyond the normal realm of PR, sorting out the complicated details of their complicated lives.

She welcomed them into her house in Pilgrims Lane. Threw parties for them. Fixed their plumbing and their fax machines. And when she wasn’t doing that, she handled international promotion for the glitzy Verbier Festival in Switzerland, an opera company or two, and armies of star soloists who brought their problems and their projects to her door.

But not so well-known was an interesting fact that surfaced at her leaving party. Twenty years ago the LSO was going through a bad financial patch and decided to save money by not giving flowers to soloists after their performances. Dvora thought that pretty stingy, and provided the bouquets herself – continuing to do so for the next two decades.

What will happen now she’s gone is anybody’s guess. Take careful note next season – which, for the record, starts Tuesday September 15: a Mozart/Bruckner programme conducted by Bernard Haitink. Details: lso.co.uk