Luciano Iorio

Viola player, festival director, teacher, writer and artist Luciano Iorio was born on 17 April 1937 in Rome, where he studied law as well as violin and viola, completing both his university degree and conservatoire diploma in 1962.  Encouraged by his teachers, he chose to become a professional violist and soon joined the well-known chamber group I Solisti di Roma.

In 1965 he moved for the first time to London where, with the help of a British Council Scholarship, he studied for two years at the Royal Academy of Music with Gwynne Edwards. On his return to Rome he studied with Bruno Giuranna, at the same time working as a freelance player, and together with his wife, Diana Cummings, he founded The Cummings-Iorio String Quartet and the Gruppo Roma Musicale.

In 1971 Luciano and Diana moved to London, where for a short period they played in the Cummings String Quartet with Diana's brothers Julian and Douglas.  Luciano was then offered the principal viola position with the famous Italian chamber orchestra I Solisti Veneti, with whom he toured widely.  After Luciano left the orchestra in 1975 he and Diana founded the Cummings String Trio together with the cellist Rohan de Saram and later the English String Quartet, ensembles which have toured widely in Great Britain, Europe and the USA and which have made many CD and BBC recordings.

Luciano Iorio
Luciano Iorio


As a soloist Iorio played concertos in several countries, including the concerto for viola and string orchestra Second Night Journey Under the Sea by Douglas Young, which the Northern Chamber Orchestra commissioned for him. He was very much in demand as a freelance orchestral player, playing with some of the major London symphony orchestras and holding the position of principal viola with several chamber orchestras. He was also active as a commercial session player.

He taught viola at the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music in London and at Eton College, and taught viola and chamber music at many music courses in the UK and abroad.

In 1995 he founded the London Festival of Chamber Music, an annual event taking place at various London venues, of which he was not only Executive and Artistic Director but also one of its main performers. The Festival continued for twelve consecutive years, giving over two hundred concerts.

Following an injury which prevented him from playing, he took up first pottery then painting. (One of his paintings from 2023 can be seen in the background of this page.) His house and garden are littered with his pieces – his style was colourful and original. He also wrote: an unfinished biography of Muzio Clementi, An Author on Trial - the story of his father Giuseppe Jorio's life as a writer - and lastly an autobiography for his four grandchildren.

Luciano Iorio died on 4 June 2024, aged eighty-seven.


A selection of articles about Luciano Iorio

Classical music news - June 2024 Obituaries - Our summary of those the classical music world has lost this month