Muriel is one of the few people I have met of whom a first impression was complete. For a sixteen-year-old youth fresh from a protected home-life in New Zealand, to be greeted with such warmth and concern was not only reassuring but an unexpected and tangible promise of security in a strange land. Her death in February was not only the end of an era for me, but for her many friends also.
Everyone who had the slightest contact with her was impressed and enchanted. Her genuine warmth and instant willingness to cooperate and understand was often the only constant during difficult times. Muriel was more than reliable, she was dedicated: a pacifist, but rigorous about fair play, considerate even with fools; had amazing resilience, which calmed and reunited discord. Yet for all her apparent gentle nature she was firm against injustice, expecting the best from her friends and colleagues.
She posessed all these facets, and yet for the previous seven years at least she was conscious of her ever-decreasing strength and the inevitable outcome of leukaemia which she dismissed. For all her gentleness and generosity, she had amazing iron will and stamina. Many times I have heard people describe her as tough, but it was a toughness of character and spirit.
To know Muriel was also to know the musician. She was a fine cellist, and a completely dedicated teacher. She was a musician who not only knew her own mind but could express her opinions in positive and sympathetic terms. As a player I knew her principally in the Menuhin Festival Orchestra, where she nurtured me as a new professional, and then later, as principal, she complemented me and quietly helped me find my feet. I am often aware of her absence, but am infinitely glad and privilaged to have known her.
It has been suggested by some of Muriel's friends that a fund should be raised to inaugurate an open Scholarship in her memory; the award to be made annually with the object of providing further study for advanced cello students. We believe that she would wholeheartedly approve of such a project and we feel sure that many of her colleagues and friends will welcome the opportunity to express in this practical way their love and admiration for her. A Committee is being formed and application is being made for the Fund to be registered as a Charitable Trust. Details concerning entry and selection of candidates will be announced later. Receipts will be sent for all contributions made in cash or by postal orders, but in view of the high postal charges cheques will not be acknowledged unless specially requested, in which case a stamped addressed envelope would be appreciated. Cheques and postal orders should be crossed and made out to the Muriel Taylor Scholarship Fund.
Donations should be sent to:
Mrs Faith Deller, OBE, Hon ARAM