Pritchard, Sir John (Michael)

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Pritchard, Sir John (Michael)

Pritchard, Sir John (Michael) , distinguished English conductor; b. London, Feb. 5, 1921; d. Daly City, Calif., Dec. 5, 1989. He studied violin with his father, and then continued his musical training in Italy, returning to England to serve in the British army during World War II. In 1947 he joined the staff of the Glynde-bourne Festival Opera as a répétiteur; became chorus master and assistant to Fritz Busch in 1948; conducted there regularly from 1951, serving as its music director (1969–77). He made his first appearance at London’s Covent Garden in 1952. He was principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Phil. (1957–63) and the London Phil. (1962–66), touring widely abroad with the latter. In 1963 he made his U.S. debut as a guest conductor with the Pittsburgh Sym. Orch.; also conducted at the Chicago Lyric Opera (1969) and the San Francisco Opera (1970). On Oct. 25, 1971, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. conducting Così fan tutte. As a guest conductor, he appeared with many of the world’s leading opera houses and orchs. He was chief conductor of the Cologne Opera (1978–89). In 1979 he became chief guest conductor of the BBC Sym. Orch. in London, and subsequently was made its chief conductor in 1982. He was also joint music director of the Opera National in Brussels (1981–89), and served as the first music director of the San Francisco Opera (1986–89). In 1962 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and was knighted in 1983. Pritchard was esteemed for his unpretentious but assured command of a vast operatic and symphonic repertory, extending from the Baroque masters to the leading composers of the present era.


H. Conway, Sir ]. P.: His Life in Music (London, 1993).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Pritchard, Sir John (Michael)

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