Marriner, Sir Neville

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Marriner, Sir Neville

Marriner, Sir Neville, outstanding English conductor; b. Lincoln, April 15,1924. He studied violin with his father, and then with Frederick Mountney. He subsequently entered the Royal Coll. of Music in London when he was 13, but his studies were interrupted by military service during World War II. After resuming his training at the Royal Coll. of Music, he completed his violin studies in Paris with René Benedetti and took courses at the Cons. He was active as a violinist in chamber music ensembles, and was a prof. of violin at the Royal Coll. of Music (1949–59). He joined the Philharmonia Orch. of London as a violinist (1952), and then was principal 2nd violinist of the London Sym. Orch. (1956–58). His interest in conducting was encouraged by Pierre Monteux, who gave him lessons at his summer school in Hancock, Maine (1959). In 1958 he founded the Academy of St.-Martin-in-the-Fields; served as its director until 1978, establishing an international reputation through recordings and tours. From 1968 to 1978 he also served as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orch.; then was music director of the Minnesota Orch. in Minneapolis (1978–86). In 1981 he became principal guest conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Sym. Orch.; was its chief conductor from 1983 to 1989. He appeared as a guest conductor with many of the world’s leading orchs. On Sept. 29,1994, he opened the 1994–95 season of N.Y.’s Carnegie Hall conducting the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in a program featuring Cecilia Bartoli as the soloist of the evening. The concert was subsequently telecast throughout the U.S. by PBS. In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He was knighted in 1985. Marriner has proved himself one of the most remarkable conductors of his day. His extensive activities as a chamber music player, orch. musician, and chamber orch. violinist-conductor served as an invaluable foundation for his career as a sym. conductor of the first rank. His enormous repertoire encompasses works from the Baroque era to the great masterworks of the 20th century. In all of his performances, he demonstrates authority, mastery of detail, and impeccable taste.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire