The amateur classical music scene on the Costa del Sol has been shocked by the death of Annemarie Philipps, a 73-year-old conductor who died after a short illness in Marbella on Sunday.
Annemarie was the musical director and conductor of Collegium Musicum, an amateur international music society founded in Marbella in 1975. She had held the position since 1992, although she had been a member of the society since 1978.
Originally from Bremen, Annemarie, who had lived in Spain for more than 40 years, came from a musical background, although she never attended music college until rather late in her life.
She had spent many holidays on the Costa del Sol prior to moving to Spain, settling in Marbella, a decision prompted partly by the fact there was a German school in the town.
She soon discovered the City Orchestra of Malaga, later to become the Malaga Philharmonic Orchestra, which she joined as a viola player, although her time with the orchestra was short-lived. It was around this period that she discovered Collegium Musicum, which, at the time, was a small group consisting of around a dozen singers and a handful of instrumentalists.
On joining the society, Annemarie discovered that her aunt, a long-lost relative whom she had not seen for many years, was the group’s musical director. Following the death of her aunt in 1992, Annemarie took over as musical director and transformed Collegium Musicum into a flourishing international music society: today it boasts more than 100 singers and instrumentalists from 20 nationalities.
The society’s secretary, Driekje Lawson-Voorhoeve, said, “Her vast knowledge, wonderful encouragement, infectious laughter and competent leadership will be so sorely missed. We will take great solace in the legacy of all the extraordinary music moments she leaves us.”
A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held later in the year.