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Mackenzie, Sir Alexander (Campbell)

Mackenzie, Sir Alexander (Campbell)

Mackenzie, Sir Alexander (Campbell), distinguished Scottish conductor, educator, and composer; b. Edinburgh, Aug. 22, 1847; d. London, April 28, 1935. A scion of a musical family (there were 4 generations of musicians in his paternal line), he showed musical aptitude as a child, and was sent to Germany, where he studied violin with K.W. Ulrich and theory with Eduard Stein at the Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Realschule (1857–62). Returning to England, he studied violin with Sainton, piano with Jewson, and music theory with Charles Lucas at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He subsequently was active in Edinburgh as a violinist and teacher (1865–79). Between 1879 and 1885 he lived in Florence. In 1888 he was elected principal of the Royal Academy of Music in London, holding this post until 1924. From 1892 to 1899 he conducted the concerts of the Phil. Soc. of London. His reputation as an educator and composer was very high among musicians. He was knighted in 1895. As a composer, he was a believer in programmatic music, and introduced national Scottish elements in many of his works. His Pibroch Suite for Violin and Orch., first performed by Sarasate at the Leeds Festival (1889), acquired considerable popularity. Paderewski gave the first performance of his Scottish Concerto with the Phil. Soc. of London (1897). In 1922 Mackenzie was made a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.


( all 1st perf. in London unless otherwise given): dramatic: opera:Colomba, opera (April 9,1883; rev. version, Dec. 3, 1912); The Troubadour, opera (June 8, 1886); Phoebe, comic opera (n.d.; not perf.); His Majesty, or The Court ofVingolia, comic opera (Feb. 20,1897); The Cricket on the Hearth, opera (1900; June 6, 1914); The Knights of the Road, operetta (Feb. 27, 1905); incidental music to plays. ORCH.: Larghetto and Allegretto for Cello and Orch. (1875); Overture to a Comedy (Düsseldorf, 1876); Cervantes, overture (Sondershausen, 1877); Scherzo (Glasgow, 1878); Rhapsodie écossaise: Scottish Rhapsody No. 1 (1880); Tempo di ballo, overture (c. 1880); Burns: Scottish Rhapsody No. 2 (1880); La Belle Dame sans merci, ballad (1883); Violin Concerto (Birmingham Festival, Aug. 26,1885); 12th Night, overture (1888); Pibroch, suite for Violin and Orch. (Leeds Festival, Oct. 10,1889; also for Violin and Piano); Highland Ballad for Violin and Orch. (1893); Britannia, overture (1894); Scottish Concerto for Piano and Orch. (March 24, 1897); Processional March (1899); Coronation March (1902); London Day by Day, suite (Norwich Festival, 1902); Canadian Rhapsody (1905); Tarn o’ Shanter: Scottish Rhapsody No. 3 (1911); Youth, Sport and Loyalty, overture (1922). chamber: Piano Trio (1874); String Quartet (1875); Piano Quartet (1875); From the North, 9 pieces for Violin and Piano (1895); 4 Dance Measures for Violin and Piano (1915); Distant Chimes for Violin and Piano (1921); 2 Pieces for Cello and Piano (1928); several piano works, including Rustic Suite (1876?), In the Scottish Highlands, 3 scenes (1880), Odds and Ends, par ci, par là (1916), (6) Jottings (1916), and In Varying Moods (1921). vocal: Can- t a t a s : The Bride (Worcester Festival, 1881); Jason (Bristol Festival, 1882); The Story of Sayid (Leeds Festival, 1886); The Dream of Jubal (Liverpool, 1889); The Witches’ Daughter (Leeds Festival, 1904); The Sun-God’s Return (Cardiff Festival, 1910). oratorios:The Rose of Sharon (Norwich Festival, Oct. 16, 1884; rev. 1910); Bethlehem (1894; also known as The Holy Babe); The Temptation (1914). other: Many songs; arrangements of Scottish melodies and airs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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