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James Loughran


Educated in his home city of Glasgow, James Loughran conducted at school and afterwards, while studying economics and law. When he sought the advice of one of the Scottish National Orchestra’s conductors, Karl Rankl, on how to develop his musical career, Rankl suggested that he gain experience by working in the German opera house system. Loughran therefore obtained a position as a répétiteur with the Bonn Opera in 1958, where he came into contact with Peter Maag, and subsequently worked in the same capacity with the Netherlands Opera and in Italy, in Milan. He won first prize in 1961 in the Philharmonia Orchestra’s Young Conductors’ Competition which led to appearances with this orchestra and to his appointment first as assistant conductor (1962–1964) and then as associate conductor (1964–1965) with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, working alongside its chief conductor Constantin Silvestri. Loughran continued to conduct opera, leading the successful première at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in 1963 of Malcolm Williamson’s Our Man in Havana (later produced in Germany, Belgium, Hungary and the USA) and Aida at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1964.

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