Legge, Walter, influential English recording executive, orchestral manager, and writer on music; b. London, June 1, 1906; d. St. Jean, Cap Ferrat, March 22, 1979. He was autodidact in music. In 1927 he joined the staff of the Gramophone Co. (His Master’s Voice) of London. He became an ardent champion of first-class recording projects, and in 1931 founded a subscription soc. for the purpose of recording unrecorded works. From 1938 he was active with the British Columbia recording label. He also wrote music criticism for the Manchester Guardian (1934–38). In 1938-39 he was asst. artistic director of London’s Covent Garden. From 1942 to 1945 he was director of music of the Entertainments National Service Assn. In 1945 he founded the Philharmonia Orch. of London, which he managed with notable results as both a recording and concert ensemble until he unsuccessfully attempted to disband it in 1964. In 1953 he married Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.
E. Schwarzkopf, ed., On and Off the Record: A Memoir of W. L (London, 1982;second ed., 1988); A. Sanders, ed., W. L.: A Discography (London, 1985); idem, ed., W. L.: Words and Music (N.Y., 1998).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire