After a long and distinguished career, the “doyen of British cellists” is calling it quits.

Julian Lloyd Webber yesterday announced that he has been forced to stop playing due to a herniated disc in his neck.

“I am devastated. There were so many exciting plans that cannot now come to fruition,” said Lloyd Webber. “I have had an immensely fulfilling career and feel privileged to have worked with so many great musicians and orchestras but now I have to move on.”

The cellist, age 63, won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music aged 16 but completed subsequent studies with Pierre Fournier in Geneva. Just ten years later, he made his professional debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.

While he has performed worldwide with leading musicians including Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Georg Solti, Stéphane Grappelli, Lloyd Webber is most well known for his recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto which was chosen the finest ever version by the BBC Music Magazine. He has also premiered over 50 works by composers including Eric Whitacre, Philip Glass and Malcolm Arnold.

While most minor spinal disc herniations heal within several weeks, severe cases require medical intervention. Such injuries are common amongst performers, as...