Her brother Andrew, said: “The mandolin was her passion. She first picked one up when she was just seven. Our father Arthur played the mandolin, he played it while serving during the Second World War, and when he died she wanted to play the instrument.”
Miss Stephens, who grew up in Bickley and attended Bromley High School, gave her first public performance in a concerto at the Barbican Hall aged 17 and became the first person to graduate in the mandolin from Trinity College of Music, London. Upon graduation she was appointed by the college to teach the instrument.
She went on to play with leading orchestras and ensembles, opera and ballet companies, featuring on TV and radio programmes across the world, as well the fiilm soundtracks of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Queen, The Golden Compass and The Fantastic Mr Fox.
Alison was considered to be the UK’s finest mandolin player and had toured all over the world; her most recent album Souvenirs was released in September 2009.
Her brother added: “After she was diagnosed with cervical cancer Alison was very, very optimistic. She raised around £25,000 for Macmillan Cancer Research. She was very positive, but it all changed very quickly recently because the cancer spread, and she did not have much time to get her head around it.”
Mr Stephens added: “She will be missed by a lot of people.”
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