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Neel, (Louis) Boyd

Neel, (Louis) Boyd, English-born Canadian conductor; b. Blackheath, Kent, July 19, 1905; d. Toronto, Sept. 30, 1981. He studied at the Royal Naval Coll. in Dartmouth, and after taking medical courses at Caius Coll., Cambridge (B.A., 1926; M.A., 1930), he studied theory and orchestration at the Guildhall School of Music in London (1931). In 1932 he organized the Boyd Neel Orch., which gave its first performance in London on June 22, 1933; it quickly gained a fine reputation, excelling in performances of contemporary British music; also played Baroque works. He commissioned Britten’s Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge and conducted its premiere at the Salzburg Festival in 1937. He remained active with his ensemble until 1952; also appeared as a conductor with various English orchs. and theaters. He conducted at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre (1945–47) and with the D’Oyly Carte Opera (1948–49); was also conductor of the Robert Mayer Children’s Concerts (1946–52). After serving as founder-conductor of the Hart House Orch. in Toronto (1954–71), with which he made many tours, he conducted the Missis-sauga Sym. Orch. (1971–78); was also dean of the Royal Cons, of Music of Toronto (1953–71). He became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1961. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1953) and an Officer of the Order of Canada (1973). His book, The Story of an Orchestra (London, 1950), recounted his years with the Boyd Neel Orch.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis Mclntire

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Neel, (Louis) Boyd (b Blackheath, 1905; d Toronto, 1981). Eng.-born conductor (Canadian cit. 1961). Qualified as naval officer and doctor of medicine, but turned to mus., founding Boyd Neel Str. Orch. 1933 which rapidly achieved an int. reputation for its perfs. of Eng. and other mus. for str., notably of the baroque era, which was at that time rarely played with chamber forces. Played at Salzburg Fest. 1937, giving f. public p. of Britten's specially commissioned Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. Cond. Robert Mayer Children's Concerts 1946–52. Dean of Toronto Royal Cons., 1953–70. Cond., Mississauga SO 1971–8. Boyd Neel Orch. renamed Philomusica of London 1957. CBE 1953.

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