Blech, Harry

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Blech, Harry

Blech, Harry, English violinist and conductor; b. London, March 2, 1910; d. there, May 9, 1999. He studied at Trinity Coll. of Music in London and at the Royal Manchester Coll. of Music. In 1929–30 he was a violinist in the Hallé Orch. in Manchester, and then in the BBC Sym. Orch. in London from 1930 to 1936. In 1933 he founded the Blech String Quartet, serving as its first violinist until it disbanded in 1950. In 1942 he founded the London Wind Players and in 1946 the London Symphonic Players. He founded the London Mozart Players in 1949, serving as its conductor until 1984 when he was made its conductor laureate. In 1952 he founded the London Mozart Choir and from 1961 to 1965 he was director of the Royal Academy of Music Chamber Orch. in London. He was made an Officer in 1962 and a Commander in 1984 of the Order of the British Empire. As a conductor, Blech became well known for his performances of composers of the Classical era, particularly Haydn and Mozart.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire