Cellist plays atop Ben Nevis for late husband

Su-a Lee on Ben Nevis. Picture: Twitter
Su-a Lee on Ben Nevis. Picture: Twitter
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AN Edinburgh cellist has delivered a soaring musical tribute to her late husband by performing a specially-composed piece of music at the top of Ben Nevis.

Su-a Lee, who plays in the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, climbed to the top of the UK’s highest peak in memory of Gordon Davidson, a pilot and former Royal Marine who died on August 24 last year of cancer, aged 46.

Gordon Davidson. Picture: contributed

Gordon Davidson. Picture: contributed

The pair were married last spring, knowing that their time together would be cut short by Mr Davidson’s terminal illness.

Now the widowed cellist, known for her experimental musical projects, has given her husband the highest honour she could by performing an original suite at the summit of the 4409ft Highland peak.

“Gordon and I got together after I started following his blog while he was walking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago through France and Spain two years ago,” said Ms Lee.

“He knew he was terminally ill and we started writing to each other. After he returned to Edinburgh, we got together and fell in love. We got married in March last year and Gordon died in August. One of my friends, Eva Wolff, had composed a piece of music for us when she realised that Gordon was not very well.

“She dedicated it to both of us and sent us a recording. It arrived the week Gordon died, so he never heard it.”

Ms Lee was inspired to perform the piece at the top of Ben Nevis while walking the same route that her late husband had travelled to raise money for Maggie’s Centres and St Columba’s Hospice, which treated Mr Davidson.

“Someone then suggested ‘Maybe you could just walk up Ben Nevis with your cello and play that piece at the top for Gordon.’ It was like a stroke of genius.

“Gordon was an ex-commando and would get a bit misty-eyed when passing the Commando memorial at Spean Bridge, which overlooks Ben Nevis.

“There were so many aspects that seemed right.”

Ms Lee - whose name means “child of the sky” - persuaded a friend to join her on the snowy climb and film her performance on an iPad. The concert was delivered in “blizzard” conditions, with two inches of snow collecting around the cellist during the seven minute piece.

“Gordon fought to the end,” said Ms Lee. “I haven’t played the suite again since Ben Nevis, but I will. However, I don’t think I will be climbing a mountain to do it.”

Ms Lee, who has been a member of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra since 1993, also performs with the experimental SCO Lab musical group, which has branched out into into rock, jazz, tango and Indian music.

She has also performed alongside late Dundee musician Michael Marra. Ms Lee, who is a graduate of the prestigious Julliard School in New York, was appointed assistant principal cellist of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in 2003.

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